When Microsoft introduced Windows 10 at June 29th 2015 they also announced that there would be a ‘free upgrade’. Because, Windows 10 is meant to be the ‘Windows as a Service’ operating system for desktops.
Many business worldwide gained profit from this free upgrade. Desktop computers, laptops and workstations with an OEM version of Windows Professional 7 or 8 and 8.1 were massively upgraded to Windows 10 Professional. So far so good. The free upgrade offer ended July 29th 2016. Every customer who wanted to upgrade from a previous version of a Windows Professional operating system has to buy a Windows Professional Upgrade license, through Volume License as an example.
How to proof
Here is the difficult situation when customers are in a Software Asset Management Review or in a compliance check (or even an audit); how to proof that you had the Windows 10 Upgrade. Imagine, as a business you took benefit of the upgrade. But where is written, in official Microsoft – legal – documentation that you had this right? Discovery of the computers in a network will show ‘Windows 10 Professional’, installed with an OEM key. But there is no Certificate of Authenticity (Windows 7) or a legal license key in the BIOS (Windows 8 and 8.1). There is no way in which a customer can proof that he ‘legally’ obtained the free Windows 10 Upgrade. Because when this same customer upgraded this very same computer after July 20th 2016 with an installation key found on the internet, this would be illegal? Yes it is, but how to proof, since an installation key is not part of the ‘proof of license.’
What to do?
Both businesses, auditors and Microsoft have no way in which they can refer to a legal – official document with a time stamp to proof that the installed Windows 10 was indeed ‘a legal upgrade’.
What should you do? What should an auditor do? What should Microsoft do? Please provided us with your brilliant idea on which we can work – together with Microsoft – in solving this problem.