New details revealed about requirements that hardware systems need to comply with to get the “Designed for Windows 10” label suggest that they might be restricted to functioning only on Microsoft’s operating system.
This concern comes from a recent hardware conference in China, where Microsoft announced that hardware manufacturers that want to get a “Designed for Window 10” logo will no longer be required to make the Secure Boot feature optional, as was the case with Windows 8.
UEFI Secure Boot is a feature designed to protect the computer’s boot process against any possible type of malware that may interfere at that level; but in order for it to work, it verifies cryptographic signatures of software components and files necessitated to boot. If these signatures are modified, Secure Boot will not allow the computer to start up.
This might sound good from a security standpoint, but the problem is that operating systems different from the Secure Boot supported one also have different cryptographic signatures in their boot files, meaning that the feature will not allow the computer to start up with a different operating system.
Microsoft coped with this by making manufacturers that desired a “Designed for Windows” logo also incorporate the option of turning Secure Boot off. This would permit the use of other OS such as Linux or Ubuntu on Windows 8 specially designed hardware.
But this time around, when presenting requirements that original equipment manufacturers need to comply with for the logo, the Microsoft presentation clearly stated that it will be their choice whether to allow users to turn Secure Boot off. This essentially means that Designed for Windows 10 hardware might be restricted only to Microsoft’s new operating system.
This follows a week of confusing announcements from Microsoft, to say the least. After originally stating that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for both genuine and non-genuine Windows 7 and 8 users in China, the American software giant then specified that this will be available worldwide. It then clarified that non-genuine users, while being able to perform the upgrade, will not have licensed versions of the operating system. Some of these ambiguities will probably be answered only after Windows 10 launches worldwide this summer.
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