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Microsoft sez soz over Windows 10 'freebie' balls-up

'This is a very complex topic', grumbles bumbling Redmond OS chief

Microsoft has attempted yet more damage control regarding Windows 10, after the software giant confused world+dog into thinking that anyone could qualify for a freebie version of its soon-to-be-released operating system.

As The Register reported on Sunday, it had initially appeared as though users needed only to install a preview build of the OS and sign up to a Microsoft Account to qualify for a free upgrade.

The company muddied the waters further by adding that the test version would "remain activated".

However, Redmond later stealthily edited its Windows Insider blog post in an attempt to backtrack from the jumbled comments made by Microsoft's OS boss Gabe Aul last Friday.

MS inserted the following clarification: "It’s important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer." And it also removed use of the word activated from the post.

But it turns out that still wasn't enough to clear things up for Windows previewers. So, on Monday, Microsoft edited its blog post. Again.

Aul said Microsoft was sorry about the confusion its opaque post had caused.

He blamed the balls-up on the fact that MS was managing a "complex topic" as it juggles multiple versions of Windows, while changing the way it builds and deploys the OS.

He added that the firm was also getting the hang of its new preview system – Windows Insider – which "is different than what we've done in the past".

"Windows 10, whether you get it on 29/7 or whether you got it in a preview form through the Windows Insider Program, is intended to be installed on Genuine Windows devices," Aul said.

"Friday’s post was intended to clarify how the Windows Insider Program will proceed, and in attempting to do so created some unintended confusion," he added.

He then pointed out that any previewers on the Insider program who didn't join up with either a Genuine Windows 7 or 8.1 build of the OS would not qualify for a free version of Windows 10 when it lands.

But, it seems, they can continue to get their mitts on potentially wobbly, pre-release versions of Windows 10, which will expire after a certain time as new preview builds are pushed out.

For those people who want to quit the Windows Insider program once the RTM version of Windows 10 is released, Aul said: "If your system upgraded from a Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 licence it will remain activated, but if not, you will be required to roll back to your previous OS version or acquire a new Windows 10 licence. If you do not roll back or acquire a new license the build will eventually expire."

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