Plenty of computer users think nothing of using pirated Windows 10, perhaps you are currently using a copied version of an earlier version yourself, or you know someone who does.
But have you ever stopped to consider the problems a pirated version of Windows could bring to your computer? 😉
With Microsoft recently releasing a limited version of Windows 10 for everyone, including pirates, here is your comprehensive guide to the risks of pirated Windows 10 to help you make the best choice going forward.
13 Questions Answered – Alarming Risks of Using Pirated Windows 10
If you’ve been thinking of using a pirated version of Windows instead of the newly released Windows 10, please read our in-depth analysis.
While I aim to cover every aspect of this issue in depth, I’ll begin by addressing the 13 most popular questions users typically ask when they are considering genuine versus non-genuine operating system software.
Let’s look at them!
1: Does pirated Windows 10 work?
If you choose to use a pirated version of Windows 10, it is helpful to know it does work. 😉
However, it will ask for activation to allow you to access some additional features of the software.
Pirated Windows 10 is not without risks from third-parties. While you can use it, the problems it comes with might outweigh the benefits, prompting you to want to upgrade.
2: Does Windows 10 detect pirated software?
Users will be surprised to know that Windows 10 can scan for pirated software.
If you read the license agreement in Windows 10, it includes a clause that allows Microsoft to actively look for any pirated software and then disable it. 😐
This content is not restricted to software created by Microsoft, and it includes every kind of software present on your computer.
If you have pirated software on your device, you potentially run the risk of losing it – which is probably a good thing for the industry, but bad for you if you make pirating a hobby.
3: Can you pirate Windows 10?
Yes, it is possible for you to obtain a pirated version of Windows 10 without paying a dollar. 😎
However, Microsoft is currently working on an innovative technique to get non-genuine users to upgrade to their legitimate Windows service by offering the upgrade free of charge.
To discover whether your device is ready for an upgrade, keep reading for the easy to follow step-by-step process!
4: Should I pirate Windows 10?
You could choose to pirate Windows 10 if you wanted, but it will present a risk to you if you intend to use a non-genuine version to pirate other forms of software on the web.
It won’t allow you to use additional Windows 10 features and it will actively block you from using genuine Microsoft products, such as Excel and Word. 🙁
This blockage is not good news if you use your computer for work, because the pirated versions come with significant problems.
5: How do I know if Windows 10 is genuine or pirated?
Microsoft has made it simple when it comes to finding out the authenticity of your product.
The easiest way to check if your version of Windows is genuine or pirated is by checking its activation status.
To do this, search for Update & Security in your start window, and check your Activation. It will say ‘Windows is activated’ if it is a genuine version.
If you’re looking at an offsite version of Windows 10, make sure it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
It’s best to avoid buying software from anyone who is not an authorized seller, especially if it is priced at a too good to be true price-point.
6: Can I upgrade to windows 10 if my Windows 7 is not genuine?
All Microsoft users can upgrade to Windows 10, even if their prior version was pirated. 😉
This is part of Microsoft’s current strategy to encourage all device users to use genuine software industry-wide. There should not be any problems for you if you decide to upgrade directly through the Windows Store, which you can find in Settings.
7: How can I get Windows 10 with pirated Windows 7?
Simply head to Settings, click Updates and Security, then click on Windows Update. Select the Check for Updates button, then follow the installation instructions.
To complete installation, simply follow each step.
Backup all your data to complete this process, just to be on the safe side.
8: What is Windows 10 activation?
Activation is the process which confirms your version of Windows is genuine. It is obtained via either a digital license or a product key which consists of 25 unique characters.
You must input this activation key or license to confirm to Microsoft that your device is using a genuine version of the software. Easy! 😎
9: What if I don’t have a product key?
If you would like to buy a product key, you can do so after the installation finishes and the computer restarts.
Simply go to Settings, select Updates and Security, and then click on the Activation option.
After you’ve installed the latest version of Windows 10, there will be an option to go directly to the Windows Store, where you can buy a license to input in your activation section.
When you’ve input that information, you will have the best version of Windows available.
10: What happens if my validation fails when it is genuine?
The validation can sometimes switch over to non-genuine in a variety of situations. The most common situations are repairs, counterfeit software, and when you’ve installed your license more than the number you purchased it.
If you only buy one license, then you can only install that on one device. 🙁
To ensure this doesn’t happen, always check your computer after servicing and always make sure you buy certified Microsoft products with an intact Certificate of Authenticity.
11: How much does Windows 10 cost?
At the time of print, a download of Windows 10 direct from Microsoft’s online store cost a total of $119.
12: When does Microsoft’s free upgrade expire?
Microsoft launched Windows 10 in 2015 and decided to make it free for a year from launch, which raised a lot of eyebrows in the tech community. It was so successful that the company decided to extend it again.
Unfortunately, that offer expired as of January 2018. However, free upgrades are still available for people who use assistive technologies.
13: What are assistive technologies and who meets the requirements?
Assistive technologies include any devices used by people with disabilities. One user pointed out that Microsoft does nothing to validate peoples’ claims.
However, like pirating software, it would be unethical to claim you are disabled to obtain a discount.
I do not recommend doing this. 😉
3 Definitive Benefits of NOT Using Pirated Windows 10
Regular security updates and patches
The most important aspect to consider when contemplating pirated Windows verses, a genuine version is the level of security it offers. Compared to past iterations, Windows Defender has been upgraded to its strongest version yet.
Windows 10 provides all genuine users with regular security updates and patches to ensure your precious data, work, and memories are protected against attacks. Without these regular updates, your inferior version is more prone to attacks, with weak spots that can be easily breached.
Windows 10 comes packed with a comprehensive security suite including anti-virus software, a strong firewall, and anti-phishing technologies. All these services last for the life of your device, but they definitely won’t be as strong if they aren’t upgradeable – which is exclusive to the authentic version.
When you think about it, you could be wiped out by any breach. It is smart to secure your identity, accounts, and data against any potential issues.
The cost of a product key is low compared to the damage loss could do – which is essentially limitless.
Full feature access to Windows 10
The standard upgrade to Windows 10 that is available to all is not the full version. Rather, it is a limited version that has a wider version of features when you’ve entered the product key. Features include customization, full access to Microsoft’s services and applications, as well as real-time support from Microsoft to assist you with any problem you may be having.
It has been speculated that Microsoft will provide a free upgrade to Windows 11 for everyone who holds a genuine version of Windows 10, but as of today that is just a theory.
However, it has proved true in the past. After Windows 7 was released, it was offered to Windows XP and Windows Vista users free of charge.
Most importantly, the product key you purchase will be valid for new devices, which is great value for money in the long run.
Instead of worrying about keeping track of numbers, the information is securely stored for you inside your Microsoft account.
Reducing pirating behaviors across the web
The best feature of upgrading to a genuine copy of Windows 10 is the fact that it is actively helping to reduce pirating behavior not just in the industry but across the internet.
With their amnesty strategy, Microsoft has allowed many pirates to come clean allowing them to engage in better behaviors. While it doesn’t seem like this affects you, it does in a roundabout way.
With more money pouring into technology companies in the form of revenue, better advances can be made which will result in better options for you in the future. This advancing technological field also supports many jobs, as the demand for more software developers gets filled rapidly.
According to research, 42% of the world’s software installations do not have a genuine license, representing $63 billion hit to the industry.
Installing a legit Windows 10 is how you play your part in reducing this behavior and is a good change for everyone to make.
11 Real Dangers of Using Fake Windows 10
1: More susceptible to phishing and viruses
Pirated Windows 10 does not receive the standard series of updates that genuine users get as part of their package. If Microsoft discovers a critical issue with their software, you’re on your own. Without the updates, you’ll be more at risk of serious threats which can cause serious damage.
Without this line of defense, your only option is to once again turn to the pirate market and place blind trust in a supplier who might be out to phish your valuable data. By using genuine software, you’re cutting off the entry points for hackers and scammers to take hold of your system.
2: No Real-Time Assistance
When it comes to pirated os vs. genuine OS, the real deal comes out on top. If you suddenly need remote real-time assistance, the Microsoft staffer can see you’re running a pirated copy.
According to their terms and conditions, they are not liable to work on non-genuine cases and will close the call as soon as they discover it. 🙁
You’ll be left to fend for yourself to obtain a resolution and you’ll probably have to pay a higher fee to get it resolved at a local computer servicing store.
Do you think you have what it takes to solve all your computer problems? If not, you might want to opt for the genuine version.
3: Scanning for pirated software and active removal
Microsoft has used their upgrading amnesty to promote better behavior on the web. If you use a non-genuine version of Windows 10, then you give permission for Microsoft to continually scan your device for pirated software.
This gives Microsoft the power to disable or remove pirated software from your device, so while it makes sense to upgrade to avoid this from happening, it also makes sense to stop engaging in negative behaviors that put your computer and yourself at risk in the first place.
4: Your system may break without notice
The quality of your Windows 10 version depends on the information in your Activator, which is where Microsoft confirms the legitimacy of your software.
If your activator is unreliable, it can break without notice.
And when it does, you can be certain you won’t get any support from Microsoft to fix it. To ensure your computer won’t let you down, it is best to purchase the authentic software.
5: Sluggish overall device performance
When you download pirated software, you have no idea who it came from or what amendments were made to it. This is why so many users have found pirated software sluggish, slowing down performance and speed and creating an overall negative experience.
The reason for the loss in performance is due to the amendments hackers make to the pirated copy of Windows 10, to force it to run without authorization.
This can make the software clunky, prone to breaking down, and just generally ineffective. It will look like Windows 10, but it definitely won’t perform like it.
6: You won’t be able to buy Windows products
If you don’t have a genuine version of Windows 10, you are unable to use the best copy of popular services, such as Microsoft Word. And if you try to bypass this system by attempting to purchase Word through the Windows Store on a non-genuine system, you run the risk of being blacklisted by Microsoft – effectively rendering your device useless.
You’ll be stuck with pirated software from that point onwards, a horrible position to be in especially if you rely on your device for your work. If you rely on any Windows products, you’re much better off upgrading than dealing with the fallout of being unable to use your software.
7: Fake security patches are already showing up
Pirated versions of Windows 10 lack regular updates. This has created a real opportunity for hackers to gain access to your system, with plenty of problems occurring ever since Windows 10 was released.
One fake security patch issue occurred earlier this year when patches were discovered that gave hackers the ability to steal passwords and credit card information. Fake updates are the only real solution, which means this problem will possibly only get worse as time goes on.
8: Pirated software often infected with malware
According to an alert from the FBI, pirated software is likely to contain malware. This explains why pirated software is often sold at rock bottom prices.
Dealers are not looking to make much on the sale. They’re looking to profit through the malware they’ve secretly installed in your Windows.
Malware can record your keystrokes, giving thieves the key to your bank accounts, emails, and social media – essentially your whole online life.
One such case occurred last year, which involved Ransom Ware which illegally copied users’ sensitive information. But because counterfeit products can’t use security updates, they were easy targets for fraud.
9: Windows Genuine Advantage can disable your system
Windows Genuine Advantage, a component of Windows 10, is an innovative copyright infringement protection system which takes a note of your Windows licensing details while you use other Microsoft branded services.
If it detects you are using any illegally copied versions, a warning sign will appear on the right side of your desktop, alerting you that your programs or windows will cease to work after a set period, which is around 14~30 days.
This could be disastrous if you have looming deadlines, or you simply don’t know how to resolve the problem. Also, in cases involving software piracy, a message stating you might be a victim of software counterfeiting will pop up, annoying you into acting.
10: The output is unreliable
When your software has not come straight from the company, you run the risk of using tools that aren’t up to scratch for the job. With a few simple tweaks, the output of important documents can be changed, creating unreliable data that can damage your professional credibility.
Are you willing to risk all that just to save $119.00?
This can have a big impact on your brand, your company’s brand, and your overall impression industry wide, especially if you deal in an industry where safety is paramount.
11: Software piracy is a crime
As we all know, piracy is a crime. But for some reason, people view software privacy as lower down on the scale than other forms of piracy.
Unfortunately, the court does not take the same view. If you are caught and tried for using unlicensed software, you run the risk of significant financial penalties and depending on your area, potentially a jail term.
Microsoft has created an innovative strategy which effectively forces and scares non-genuine Windows users to upgrade to the legitimate version. Excluding updates from non-genuine Windows 10 was a smart move. Although it has created an underground of fierce hacker behavior eager to take advantage of those too cheap to stump up for the real deal, it has been the key driver of customers towards legitimate versions more than ever before which is great for the industry.
When you consider that a simple update could last you a few years at minimum, the price of genuine Windows 10 represents great value for money. Also, a 14-day guarantee allows you to consider whether you like the updated product – if you prefer your previous system, simply return it for a no questions asked refund.
With this innovative strategy, Microsoft has drawn a line in the sand and provided a great example for all other highly-pirated product manufacturers to follow suit.
The only question left to answer is, are you in or are you out? 😉