In a masterpiece of confusion and deception worthy of a Russian dictator making holiday plans, Microsoft spent the weekend thoroughly confusing users of the Windows 10 beta over whether they’d get a free copy of the final version. But in the latest (and hopefully final) post on the matter, Microsoft has settled matters: no freebies.

In case you haven’t been following along: Microsoft first announced on Friday that any registered users of its Insiders beta version of 10 would get a free upgrade to the full-fat version when it comes out in July. Confusingly, the company later updated its blog post on the matter, making it seem like only people upgrading from Windows 7 or 8 would get a free upgrade.

But that’s not all! Microsoft exec Gabriel Aul spent his weekend tweeting furiously, stating in no uncertain terms that anyone “running a prerelease build connected with registered MSA [Microsoft Account]” would remain activated on the final build of Windows 10.

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Aul updated the Microsoft blog post today to clarify things once and for all, and it’s bad news for freeloaders: you’re not getting an activated version of Windows 10 RTM (the final build) for free, unless you originally installed the Windows 10 Preview on a device running an activated copy of Windows 7 or 8.1.

The confusion was caused by something else, it seems: the Windows 10 Insider program, the mechanism by which new beta versions of Windows 10 are issued, is going to continue after the release of Windows 10 RTM — and if you’re still registered as a Windows Insider, you won’t need to buy a copy of 10. Instead, you’ll continue to receive new, pre-release builds of 10 from Microsoft — builds that will remain activated until the release of the next beta version.

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It all boils down to a simple choice: you can remain an Insider, running the latest (and buggiest) beta version of 10, but never having to pay for it; or, you can pony up for a new license key like everyone else.

[Microsoft]


Contact the author at chris@gizmodo.com.