# Pirate copy vs. genuine, unadulterated copy

mech-eng
With respect to computer security, what is the difference between genuine, unadulterated copy of windows and a pirate copy? Internet is full of pirate copies of windows? Are these copies the traps made by internet pirates against the users?

Note: My windows is original and came with PC, I am asking just for the situation.

Thank you.

Mentor
The original is created, packaged and shipped by Microsoft with a product key needed for install. It is not free.

A pirated copy has bypassed the product key scheme making it easier to install on your machine. However, Microsoft does *not* make any money on it. You don’t get Microsoft updates to the OS and thus it’s not as secure. Also it’s possible that malware is lurking in the background.

(thanks mark! - I forgot to tie the NOT)

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Mentor
Fixed that for you ...
However, Microsoft does NOT make any money on it.

jedishrfu
mech-eng
Fixed that for you ...

Do you mean those copies are prepared for such people such as me, just for financial benefit of us? But PC owners, especially of laptops, buy willy-nilly authentic copies.

Mentor
Do you mean those copies are prepared for such people such as me, just for financial benefit of us? But PC owners, especially of laptops, buy willy-nilly authentic copies.
I don't understand your question. The quote from @jedishrfu had an error that I corrected. A pirated copy of Windows does NOT come from Microsoft, so Microsoft does not make any money from it nor does it support such pirated copies.

Mentor
Pirated means if you use it you're using stolen software. If you use it you're opening up a can of worms from malware or even worse ransomware to spyware... you name it.

mech-eng
Pirated means if you use it you're using stolen software.

Thank you.

newjerseyrunner
To be clear, lots of people get the warning that they may not have a genuine copy of windows simply because they skipped a registration step. My company buys Windows direct from Microsoft, but we don't register them for a variety of reasons so we get a warning on all of our servers when they boot. There are multiple reasons that we do this, part of which is we do a hacky setup with our MAC addresses, and we want to assure that Windows never updates itself.

mech-eng
mech-eng
If a genuine copy is slipstreamed, i.e some programs are added into it, what is the situation now? Does slipstream remove the genuineness of the copy?

Thank you.

Mentor
If a genuine copy is slipstreamed, i.e some programs are added into it, what is the situation now? Does slipstream remove the genuineness of the copy?
Unless you specify otherwise, Windows normally updates itself, which adds new functionality or incorporates bug fixes and so on. Is this what you mean by slipstreaming?

The updates from Microsoft don't affect the genuineness of the version of Windows you're running.

Gold Member
Note that Windows 10 is still offered for free on the official Microsoft website. I installed it in a VM (my computer came without any OS and I installed Linux on it) and didn't find any limitation so far. On some websites I've read that one cannot change the background and that there's an icon reminding to buy a licence, but it never appeared yet to me. I installed it since about a year and 3 months ago.

Not sure why would a pirated copy exist. The product is already there for free on the table.

mech-eng
Note that Windows 10 is still offered for free on the official Microsoft website. I installed it in a VM (my computer came without any OS and I installed Linux on it) and didn't find any limitation so far. On some websites I've read that one cannot change the background and that there's an icon reminding to buy a licence, but it never appeared yet to me. I installed it since about a year and 3 months ago.

Not sure why would a pirated copy exist. The product is already there for free on the table.

I cannot understand how it would be for free. Is it Win 10 Home or Win 10 Pro? I downloaded iso file from MS then I installed it but it was in active. Then I activated it with my product key. So is yours active without any key? When I asked how much genuine win 10 is, a seller told me it was 300 dollars.

Thank you.

Mentor
Pirate copies have existed for a longtime. In China, initially there was no Chinese windows and so it was pirated and patched to support Chinese input and output. This meant adding keyboard support and font support and translating English messages to Chinese.

Nowadays it’s mainly to avoid paying for a copy. Windows 10 is perhaps the first version to be offered free although it’s probably a stripped down community version or at least some stuff while present is disabled. At one time, Windows 2000 Server edition was identical to the equivalent Windows product with the exception of a few tweaks that changed process execution fairness. The client windows favored the application with the focus more than background processes for responsiveness whereas the server didn’t. I think it was a registry flag that made the switch too.

I use mostly MacOS and Linux and try to avoid Windows. I got tired of some of the development issues with Windows and its vulnerability to attack because of its popularity. I can no develop on Mac and deploy on Linux with relatively small changes in scripts.

Mentor
I can no develop on Mac and deploy on Linux with relatively small changes in scripts.
I suspect you meant to write "now" not "no".

newjerseyrunner
development issues with Windows
Like when your new app requires a specific version of the VC++ libraries, but a different version is already installed and upgrading it will break the current functionality of other programs, but not upgrading it means you can never use your new code? Yeah, been there.

jedishrfu
Mentor
Like when your new app requires a specific version of the VC++ libraries, but a different version is already installed and upgrading it will break the current functionality of other programs, but not upgrading it means you can never use your new code? Yeah, been there.

Please! I’m feeling the pain once again.

newjerseyrunner
Homework Helper
How you install Windows doesn't matter, it's the activation. With the main exception of Windows 10, legal copies of Windows normally require an activation within some time period in order to be able to continue using them. In the case of Windows 10, there's no time limit and only a slightly reduced functionality until it's activated.

mech-eng
But if the MS making money from Windows, why do they do it free, or almost free?

Thank you.

Homework Helper
But if the MS making money from Windows, why do they do it free, or almost free?
Most new PC compatible systems are sold with Windows 10 already installed, and most prior PC compatible systems will have Windows 7 or Windows 8 currently installed, and Microsoft wants those systems to upgrade to Windows 10. It was a free upgrade (from Win 7 or Win 8) for over a year and it's still a free upgrade if a user selects any of the "assistive technologies" even if the user doesn't use them, and was scheduled to terminate at the end of 2017, then sometime in Jan 2018, but apparently it's still available.

It also appears that if you have a system with Win 7 or Win 8 installed and activated, and start the Win 10 upgrade from USB or DVD (from a downloaded ISO file) while running Win 7 or Win 8, Win 10 will end up as activated. This has been reported to be working as of Jan 2018, so I don't know if or when this form of free upgrade will end. If the Win 7 or Win 8 license is a retail license (versus an OEM license which is tied to a specific system), you should be able to deactivate Win 7 or Win 8 from an old system and install / upgrade to Win 10 on a new system, but since most new systems would come with Win 10 already, this would be somewhat rare.

The rarest form of "free" upgrade would be for a user that has a purchased but uninstalled and unactivated copy of Win 7 or Win 8, as the Win 7 or Win 8 activation key can be used for Windows 10.

Mentor
Note that Windows 10 is still offered for free on the official Microsoft website.
I couldn't find any free offers of Win 10 on the MSFT website. Windows 10 Home Edition is listed on this site for $119.99 USD, and Win 10 Pro is listed at$199.99 USD.

russ_watters
StevieTNZ
Note that Windows 10 is still offered for free on the official Microsoft website. I installed it in a VM (my computer came without any OS and I installed Linux on it) ...

I couldn't find any free offers of Win 10 on the MSFT website. ...

@fluidistic - are you referring to running Windows 10 on a virtual machine?

Gold Member
@fluidistic - are you referring to running Windows 10 on a virtual machine?
No, I'm referring on the Windows 10 operating system, which can be installed on the hardware or in a VM.
It is free and can be found on the official website (here's the link, to complement the list given by jedishrfu: https://www.microsoft.com/fr-fr/software-download/windows10ISO). Note that you can pick Windows in English (this is what I did).

I haven't found a single limitation so far, but I haven't tested that much either, since I only use Windows to fill in official documents that require Adobe Reader and I don't want to install it in Linux (it's available for my distribution).

So maybe I cannot change the background.

Gold Member
I just tested. I cannot change the background. It seems I cannot tweak any personalization settings when I go into "Settings".
I do not have the icon reminding me to buy the Windows 10 licence.
So one can get a fully functional Windows 10 OS for free, except for the aesthetics. This confirms what the link of jedishrfu (How-to-geek) claims.

Mentor
I remember the starter version of windows 7 was like the mickey mouse tire in cars (it was good for basically rescuing you from a flat but you needed to upgrade to get the full benefit.)

In the case of Windows 7, the basic version didn't allow you to change the background of your desktop and so third party developers provided a solution of a display app that ran in the background.

Here's a Lenovo page that mentions the limitation in Windows 7 starter OS, and that you needed to upgrade to get the capability:

https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht071127

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Homework Helper
I just tested. I cannot change the background.
You can backup and copy / rename image files in the Windows\Web\... directories. I don't know if regedit could be used to change screen saver type stuff.

Mentor
Wish I knew it was still free before I bought a copy a month ago...
Well if you aren't paying to use it, then you aren't a customer. So if you aren't a customer, what are you? A: You're the product. Just like Facebook, Microsoft makes money by selling (renting?) you.

newjerseyrunner
I couldn't find any free offers of Win 10 on the MSFT website. Windows 10 Home Edition is listed on this site for $119.99 USD, and Win 10 Pro is listed at$199.99 USD.
It's definitely not free, the previous poster was mistaken. But please don't tell me you paid over $100 for your license? You can easily get it for less than$40. https://softwarelicense4u.com/operatingsystems/windows-10-professional-32-64bit-209

newjerseyrunner
Wish I knew it was still free before I bought a copy a month ago...

Well if you aren't paying to use it, then you aren't a customer. So if you aren't a customer, what are you? A: You're the product. Just like Facebook, Microsoft makes money by selling (renting?) you.
Lots of people are customers who don't realize they are customers.

When you buy a new PC, you've bought Windows. You can even return it to Microsoft if you don't use it. Lots of times people want the hardware, but want to install RH or something else on it. If you do that, call Microsoft and get your money back for the Windows license that you aren't using.

russ_watters and jedishrfu
Mentor
I never knew you could do that. I had gotten an ASUS small laptop and promptly replaced windows with Ubuntu Linux and didn't realize you could get a refund from MS.

Gold Member
It's definitely not free, the previous poster was mistaken. But please don't tell me you paid over $100 for your license? You can easily get it for less than$40. https://softwarelicense4u.com/operatingsystems/windows-10-professional-32-64bit-209
Please say in which way I am mistaken. I didn't pay for Windows and the only limitation I have encountered thus far is the inability to tweak the Settings.
I did not bought Windows when I bought my pc. I built it piece by piece (and even made a thread here on PF about it), it came without any OS preinstalled. I installed Linux on it only. Thereafter the free version of Windows 10, for free, in a VM. But I could have installed it on the hard disk for free.

Mentor
It's definitely not free, the previous poster was mistaken. But please don't tell me you paid over $100 for your license? You can easily get it for less than$40. https://softwarelicense4u.com/operatingsystems/windows-10-professional-32-64bit-209
No, I didn't pay for Win10 -- I was just checking on the price. I'm running Win 7, which came with the computer, which means that some part of the price I paid was for Win 7.