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.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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