Just a couple of days ago, Microsoft put out a blog post outlining how Windows Insiders would be updated to the release version of Windows 10. Later, they updated their original post to change some of the wording, since it basically made it sound like anyone could use the Insider program to score themselves an activated license for Windows 10. The new verbiage was subtly different but the end result was even more confusion. Today, for the third time, the post has been updated to try and clarify again, and close the giant loophole.

Now, to clarify, all Windows 7 and 8.1 customers are eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10. This free offer extends for one year from the launch of Windows 10 which will be July 29th. If you are running Windows 7 or 8.1, you are eligible. The end.

One common question though was what about the millions of people who joined the Windows Insider program and are running Windows 10 as pre-release software already? As of Friday, Microsoft’s Gabe Aul stated that they would also get an activated Windows 10 install as long as they were using the Microsoft Account that they joined the Insider’s program with. Apparently too good to be true often is, and the company has now completely changed the terms again.

There are now three scenarios (and once again this is ONLY for people running Windows 10 as an Insider) and each is handled slightly differently. Nothing can be easy it seems.

The first scenario is that you are a Windows Insider, and you want to stay in the program. After Windows 10 launches, the Insider program will continue, and there will be fast or slow rings for testers. The Insider builds are pre-release software and are activated with a pre-release software key. Eventually these builds will expire, however there will always be a new build with a new key before that happens. If you want to stay an insider after the launch, there is nothing to be done and you will continue to have an activated copy of Windows. However, from the post, there is one more point to add: “the Windows Insider Program is intended to be installed on Genuine Windows devices” so even though they are not checking, to be in full compliance, the device running the Insider preview of Windows 10 should be a licensed computer.

The second scenario is that you have upgraded your Windows 7 or 8.1 computer to the pre-release Windows 10 build, but when the final build comes around you want to exit the program. As long as you started with a licensed Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, your PC will remain activated.

The final scenario is if you want to exit the Insider program, but you are running Windows 10 from a clean install. In this scenario, you will be required to roll back to the original operating system, and then do the Windows 10 upgrade in order to get activated. Once activated, you can do another clean install if necessary.

There are of course more scenarios that have not been covered, and only time will tell what happens to those installs. For instance, on my desktop, I started from an upgraded 8.1 install, but due to some instability of apps, I wiped out my system and installed again from the Windows 10 ISO. Am I activated? I have no idea. I suppose I’ll find out on July 29th.

The Insider program has been pretty successful for Microsoft, however their communication is not always as successful. We can only hope that it improves over time.

I’ll sign this post off with a final quote from today’s post:

“This (The Windows Insider Program) is not a path to attain a license for Windows XP or Windows Vista systems.”

Source: Windows Blog

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  • giggitygoebbels - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    You do know it is very hard to detect some pirated copies of windows right?If the pirate have yet to activate their copy of Windows,Microsoft can detect that clear-cut.However,how about those using emulated certs(to imitate an OEM mass produced machine),counterfeit certificates injected straight into BIOS and those using emulated KMS servers?They are VERY difficult to detect.Will microsoft be able to fish out these pirates?We don't know yet.
  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    If they continue using the same version of windows no.

    If they upgrade and start using whatever new activation circumvention tactics that will be available for win10 then again the answer will be no.

    The pirates will always have the upper hand there.

    Why is anyone concerned with the pirates? If MS allows them to upgrade to win10, good for them and good for the pirates. If MS choose not to allow them to upgrade then they will continue pirating and the world will go on as it always has.
  • dj_aris - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    But the whole point nowadays is in App Stores / Markets. MS should distribute freely the new OS (just like Apple) so that even more people can have access to (free but also paid) apps, at least for home users. Business versions could continue to cost 129$ or something, I can understand that MS don't want to lose those clients.
  • nevcairiel - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Apple's OS isn't exactly "free". Since you can only (officially) run it on their own hardware, you purchased a license to the OS with that. Upgrades are free, yes, but so is the Windows 10 upgrade from 7/8.1.
  • jabber - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Yeah I wish folks would stop saying OSX is free. You paid $1500 for it and got a free laptop with it.
  • dj_aris - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Well, IMO that's another myth; Apple laptops are not overpriced anymore (at least not all of them). I mean, a 13" XPS with equivalent specs to a 13" MBP (i5, 8GB, 128GB and a high-res display) is exactly at the same price point (no to mention that the MBP has superfast PCIe storage). However, the MBP has also been getting free OSX updates for years now (Windows only starting this year). Apple wants you to spend cash in apps, not the OS itself. That way you can't even demand new features for the new OS, cause, you know, it's free.
  • Manch - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Windows has been getting free updates for years. They get rolled out with patches and then service packs. XP at the end was very different than XP in the beginning. Granted they do charge when a New version comes out but so did Apply for a while. Don't know if they still do as I don't buy Apple.
  • Morawka - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    yea they are still overpriced, more importantly, the base models are mostly un-usable thus upgrades are highly sought after. And upgrade prices are insane.

    13" Retina Macbook Pro

    CPU: going from a i5 to a i7 is $250-$300 extra. The real cost is $100 flat between i3 $129, i5 $229, and i7 $329 respectively. They even charge a extra $100 for a i5 2.7 ghz upgraded to a i5 2.9 ghz. Real world cost: $15 for higher clocked SKU. Apple charges +$100

    RAM: 8GB base: 16GB option = +$200 to add one more 8GB chip.) Real world cost: $35, Apple Charges: $200

    SSD: 128GB base +$200 for 256GB upgrade (real world= $50) + $400 for 512GB (real world= $200)

    they rape on upgrades, and offer only 1 year warranty. If you want anything more it's extra and they dont offer accidental damage period on macs.
  • dj_aris - Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - link

    With an i5, 8GB, 128GB and a hi-res screen a MBP 13" is 1300$ while a XPS 13" is, well, 1300$. The i7, 8GB and 256GB prices are 1500$ for the MBP and 1600$ for the XPS! Dell doesn't even offer a 16GB upgrade and MBP is also faster courtesy of PCIe ssd. If you prefer Windows you go with Dell, if not you buy the MBP. But you definitely not choose one over the other because it's "cheaper". That's all I'm saying.
  • giggitygoebbels - Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - link

    Erm Dell is not the only PC manufacturer out there...

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