Microsoft is making it easier for users to upgrade to Windows 10. The November update, which the company rolled out last week, allows users on older versions of Windows to clean install Windows 10 on their system and use any valid activation key tied to Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 version during the upgrade.
Prior to the November update, codenamed Threshold 2, users were required to upgrade from a previous install of Windows 7 or Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 as per Microsoft’s free-for-a-year program. Microsoft now gives “digital entitlement” to those users clean installing Windows 10 using any valid licence key tied to older eligible versions.
The change of heart comes as many users requested Microsoft to make the activation process easier. As ZDNet reports, the latest build of Windows 10 can now be clean installed on a machine, and that build is also accepting any valid Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product key during the activation process. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed if the apparent changes it has made to the activation policy are here to stay.
On the flip side, for the company, the new activation policy might allow users with no valid activation keys to find stolen keys from the Web and use it on their computer. At this point, no such incidents have been reported, however.
For years, Windows piracy has been a concerning issue for Microsoft. Steve Ballmer had famously said in 2011 that 90 percent of Chinese users use pirated copies of Windows. Elsewhere in the world, too, Windows piracy is a common thing to cite. But to meet company’s one billion Windows 10 devices goal in next few years, giving access to the new operating system to potential freeloaders may not be such a bad thing.