Print 28 comment(s) - last by dude.. on Feb 13 at 2:35 AM

Vista with 28 days left on activation

Vista after running command before restarting

Vista activation reset after restart
Stretch Microsoft's given 30-day grace four-fold -- it's a well documented Vista command

Microsoft is shipping all variants of its newly released Windows Vista on a single DVD, meaning that the disc found in the $199 Home Basic box is the same as the one in the $399 Ultimate package – the only thing separating each in functionality is in the license. If you have a copy of one of the lesser (or slightly nefarious) versions of Windows Vista on hand, and are still undecided if it’s the right one for you, Microsoft offers a 30-day grace period for any operation without the need for a special CD-key.

What if 30 days isn’t enough time to decideif you want to pay extra and upgrade (or legitimize) a copy of Windows Vista? After all, an operating system is the basis for anyone’s computing experience, and is that is unlikely to change until the next big release rolls around – which Bill Gates confirmed could be 2010 or 2011. For those people who need more than just 30-days to evaluate their copy of Windows Vista, Microsoft has an interesting but rarely talked about feature to extend the trial license.

Unlike other methods that freeze the activation countdown timer
, extending the trial to 120 days requires no hacking, cracking or illegal third party files. All one needs to do is log into Windows Vista with administrator rights, launch the command prompt and type in:

slmgr –rearm

After a restart, the countdown timer will have reset to “43200 minute(s) (30 day(s).” Windows Vista will allow you to perform this operation a maximum of three times, so in theory, if one issues the “rearm” command on the last day of each trial period, a total of 120 days may be realized.

The –rearm command resets the licensing status of the machine. To check the current license status of said machine, the –dli or –dlv parameters will yield something similar to the following:

C:\Users\Majesty>slmgr -dli
Name: Windows(TM) Vista, Ultimate edition
Description: Windows Operating System - Vista, RETAIL channel
Partial Product Key: XXXXX
License Status: Initial grace period
Time remaining: 43160 minute(s) (29 day(s)

Section four of the Microsoft Vista EULA, which covers mandatory activation, contains the following:

Before you activate, you have the right to use the version of the software installed during the installation process. Your right to use the software after the time specified in the installation process is limited unless it is activated.  This is to prevent its unlicensed use. You will not be able to continue using the software after that time if you do not activate it. 

Of course, here’s the interesting bit – nowhere during Vista’s installation is an actual time specified.  The first time you’ll see any Microsoft request to activate the product is after the installation process is complete, and certainly after you agree to the EULA.

Is Microsoft’s “rearm” command a forgotten relic from the beta trial period or working as intended?  Microsoft could not be reached for comment with regard to the issue, but as of now, it looks like extended grace periods are the status quo.

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<no subject>
By Scabies on 2/6/2007 11:18:12 AM , Rating: 2
Again, we have a "hurry and get vista before they fix it" bug announcement. When I first started reading, I was thinking microsoft extended the trial period to 120 days on their own, to keep people from picking up a copy and hating it immediately, thus refusing to ever try again. With 120 days, one might give it a second (or third or fourth) shot.
Odd that these bugs are making Vista more appealing than it is on its own...?

RE: <no subject>
By therealnickdanger on 2/6/2007 11:35:33 AM , Rating: 5
Odd that these bugs are making Vista more appealing than it is on its own...?

"Bugs" or elborate marketing? We know Microsoft has been deeply involved with all manner of neat marketing tactics. Microsoft knows that a lot of the enthusiast market is composed of OS pirates - or rather, people that know how to get around restrictions. Nothing entices people like this more than holes, hacks, and bugs. They figure that if they get some enthusiasts lured in with a longer grace period, they might actually enjoy using the new OS.

This is all hypothetical, but not outside the realm of possibility... Microsoft could, in theory, crack down and put all their software on lockdown, and make it ridiculously difficult to exploit, but they don't, and I think that's part of their strategy to build customers.

RE: <no subject>
By TomZ on 2/6/2007 11:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, and the odds that Microsoft shipped this functionality is somewhere around zero. It was clearly intentional.

No update patches during the trial ?
By kilkennycat on 2/6/2007 11:19:35 AM , Rating: 2
Does the trial have the same prohibitions on downloaded updates and patches as those on WinXP during the trial (pre-registration) period ? If so, the trial will obviously be able to incorporate none of the patch-improvements expected during the coming months, at least not until Microsoft releases a SP1 version of the Vista DVD -- probably not until early next year.

RE: No update patches during the trial ?
By johnsonx on 2/6/2007 1:35:06 PM , Rating: 2
No, I have a trial install from an Vista Business OEM DVD running on my laptop, and it gets Windows Updates just fine. So:

- You can install Vista with no key
- You can get Windows Updates with a unactivated trial install
- You can reset the trial period 3 times

These are MAJOR improvements over Windows XP from my point of view as a computer consultant and small scale system builder. Not only does this simplify customer installs, it lets me do test and short term installations with no key code hassles. Excellent!

RE: No update patches during the trial ?
By VooDooAddict on 2/6/2007 1:46:57 PM , Rating: 2

If Microsoft doesn't "nerf" this feature and the updates available ... this alone will be the key reasons I push some customers, friends, and family to Vista on any new builds.

By Ringold on 2/6/2007 4:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think this helps you tech guys without giving much to pirates. It's not like they'll bother with a temp fix like this when there are probably more permanent solutions they can use.

I'm pretty happy with activation this time around. I hadn't activated since I installed and had run update a couple times and never noticed until just this morning a little pop up reminded me. Entirely different than the screaming and sabotage of WGA in XP.

-rearm + reinstall twice a year = free Vista?
By dukdukgoos on 2/6/07, Rating: 0
By Doh! on 2/6/2007 1:42:18 PM , Rating: 5
You would have to reinstall three times a year.

By johnsonx on 2/6/2007 2:04:32 PM , Rating: 3
Math? 120 days is 4 months. A year is 12 months. 12/4=3.

That said, I do sort of agree. The thought already crossed my mind that on my office computer all my data is synch'd to my server using iFolder, and the only programs I need are OpenOffice, GroupWise, and Quickbooks. So I could blow the install every 3-4 months and have it all re-installed in a couple of hours. I doubt I'd really do such a thing to save a couple hundred dollars, but it is an interesting thought.

Next step..
By jediknight on 2/6/2007 11:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
Figure out how slmgr stores the number of "rearms" left (or even better, the remainder of the trial period).. and you've got unactivated Vista for life!

RE: Next step..
By Schrag4 on 2/6/2007 2:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, and knock off a few armored trucks hauling cash and you don't have to work anymore!!!

I think the intent was to show how you could *legally* try it for an extra 90 days.

RE: Next step..
By AnotherGuy on 2/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Next step..
By FITCamaro on 2/6/2007 5:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but that could probably be detected. With this you could probably do it a lot more stealthy. I have a feeling its just a registry key somewhere. If so, install Spybot Search and Destroy along with their Tea Timer feature that monitors registry changes. Then run the command and see what changes. ;)

Worth a shot.

Rearm let me upgrade Mobo/CPU
By rileychris on 2/6/2007 3:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
Could I install and sue the rearm incase I upgrade to a new mobo/cpu in the next 120 days? When does Vista get tied to your hardware?

By PrinceGaz on 2/6/2007 6:06:08 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft offers a 30-day grace period for any operation without the need for a special CD-key.

As you don't enter a CD key when installing to get your 30-day evaluation (and up to three extra 30-day periods for a total of 120 days), it doesn't get tied to anything. Even if you have a valid Vista Upgrade key, no one is forcing you to enter it :)

price price price
By ali 09 on 2/7/2007 3:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
for heavens sake. Vista is not that expensive (well ultimate is, i suppose). I mean, where i am, Australia, land of the expensive hardware and software, Home Premium academic upgrade is 176 AUD (136 for all u us people) and we know how to do a new install with an upgrade. it is only 176 dollars. thats not much to ask. anyway is anyone have issues with dailytech rejecting posts again and again? it happens to me all the time

RE: price price price
By Spivonious on 2/7/2007 1:14:08 PM , Rating: 1
I totally agree, but you have to remember that the majority of Dailytech readers are 12-18 (or at least it seems that way from their grammar usage) and thus have no money. To them, $130 is a lot. To us, it's an hour of work.

And as far as the comment system, I find that I get better results if I make sure the page is completely loaded before I hit that "Post Comment" button on the preview page.

RE: price price price
By dude on 2/13/2007 2:35:23 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you on the age of the people who post here, but... Um...

You make $1040 bucks a day? 8 hours a day, twenty days a month... and you make $20,800 a month? So you make about $250,000 a year, before taxes?

Why are you on this web site, and why are you even reading this article? You've probably got Windows Ultimate on every copy of your laptops at home, PDA, and probably even your Rolex watch?!

Sorry dude, but most of use make slightly over minimum wage and not many make more than $25 bucks an hour that are reading this web site.

By mrgq912 on 2/6/2007 3:58:14 PM , Rating: 2
Great thats 90 more days to play Crysis in all its DX10 glory when it comes out. Thanx Bill.

RE: awesome
By outsider on 2/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: awesome
By Master Kenobi on 2/7/2007 8:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
He will still be the primary shareholder and leader of the Microsoft board. So he will be there with Microsoft for a long time to come.

By VooDooAddict on 2/6/2007 1:45:19 PM , Rating: 3
This really makes me want to buy Vista sooner ... I was trying to hold out for an affordable quad core on the new box. But with this I could start running Vista on the old hardware.

This is great news for us hardware enthusiasts/benchmarkers no need to worry about locking into hardware. For people undecided about which Vista to buy. It should even benefit all legit users when "pirates" who's objective is "free" (i.e. college/HS students) get a more legit way to get Vista without botnet software embedded.

I have to agree on reinstalling 2-3 times a year isn't a big deal for many of us. If for no other reason then major hardware changes. I also justify it on the off chance that I am actually infected with something I'm unable to detect.

What’s the big deal?
By ipn on 2/6/2007 3:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
I really don’t understand your excitement on this matter. Wasn’t XP Pro x64 offered for 120 days trial? I think this is still valid on Microsoft’s trial downloads section on their website.

By Assimilator87 on 2/6/2007 11:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is shipping all variants of its newly released Windows Vista on a single DVD, meaning that the disc found in the $199 Home Basic box is the same as the one in the $399 Ultimate package

Looks like it'll be way easier to pirate/crack all of'em at once since they're on one disc, although I don't understand why anyone would pirate the inferior version, unless he's one of those "moral pirates."

Consider this ...
By xphile on 2/9/2007 3:52:03 AM , Rating: 2
The 30 day countdown is a timer clock that winds down to lockout. We now know this new command resets that timer. The interesting thing here is that the reset itself has its own clock. Every time the 30 day timer is reset it adds one to the count until it reaches 3, then it can not be reset. How long before someone finds this second timer which logically sounds like a much simpler number counter and enables it to be reset to 0 or 1, thus meaning the 3 resets using the new command become infinite. This would be the simplest and most elegant defeat of the activation yet.

One paid version of Vista Home Basic, used to install a 30 day trial of Vista Ultimate without license key that simply never ends.

Vista Sucks
By dcalfine on 2/6/07, Rating: -1
RE: Vista Sucks
By Cincybeck on 2/6/2007 8:52:39 PM , Rating: 4
No disrespect intended, but to get my point across... SHUT UP! I'm tired of returning to Dailytech to find the news comments run down in flame wars over pointless battles about Intel and AMD, Vista and OSx, ATi and Nvidia, this and that.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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