Microsoft can now remotely disable pirated games, if you’re running them on Windows 10

Microsoft Windows 10 comes with yet another caveat. If you are running any pirated games or counterfeit software on your Windows 10 machine, then according to the latest addition to the End User Licence Agreement terms of conditions Microsoft has the power to remotely uninstall such software.

This statement was spotted by PC Authority in the EULA and lets Microsoft not only disable counterfeit software but also hardware. According to Section 7b or “Updates to the Services or Software, and Changes to These Terms,” part of the Microsoft Services end user license agreement (EULA) it states that, “Sometimes you’ll need software updates to keep using the Services. We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services.”

While the statement above clearly mentions pirated games, there is no clarification on what is meant by unauthorised hardware. Does Microsoft mean hardware mods of its devices such as the Xbox One or the Xbox 360? Or will there be a list of peripherals that Microsoft has slotted as unauthorised and if you are using those, then that will face blocks? We are not yet sure and Microsoft has left that statement quite vague. Considering Windows 10 will be seen across devices, more clarity is need on what is meant by ‘unauthorised hardware’.

Microsoft also hasn’t stated how it will go about detecting counterfeit games and software already installed on a machine. This also raises privacy concerns, considering the fact that Microsoft will be able to tell what software is installed on your machine. A software giant scanning your PC to determine what software you have installed, and whether that’s pirated or not, is getting into a really grey area. In a country such as India, where pirated software is widely used, this could pose to be a problem for many.

Microsoft is yet to send out more clarification about the issue. We will update the story accordingly. In the meantime, let us know what are your thoughts on this addition to the EULA.

Recently, Microsoft had added a clause in its Release 10240 EULA that said, “By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice.”

According to this addition to the clause, you will no longer get options such as ‘choose when to reboot’, ‘choose when to download and install’ and ‘never check for updates’, which you were familiar with in Windows 8.1. Windows 10 updates will be downloaded and installed automatically. As an end user, you will only get the option to choose when to reboot the machine once the updates have downloaded and installed. For those on a limited data bandwidth, forced updates from Windows can be a matter of concern, as you do not get the option to decide when to download updates.