January 26, 2007
If you're on the fence about the impending release of Windows Vista, I recommend trying before you buy. Every Vista DVD includes the ability to install any edition of Vista without a product key. When you install without a product key, you get an automatic 30 day evaluation period.* This probably isn't news to anyone.
What may be news to you, however, is that you can easily extend the 30-day Windows Vista grace period to 120 days. No hacks required. This is an official, supported operation directly from Microsoft.
To extend the grace period another 30 days, simply start a command prompt as Administrator, and issue this command:
Reboot for the change to take effect, and voila, you have 30 more days. You can only extend three times, so the total grace period for a Vista evaluation is 120 days. You do, however, need to be careful that you've installed the correct edition of Vista. At the end of that 120 day grace period, you'll have to pony up a license fee for the edition of Vista you've installed. Now that the OEM editions are out, the pricing breaks down like so, at least at Newegg:
- Vista Home Basic OEM - $100
- Vista Home Premium OEM - $120
- Vista Business OEM - $150
- Vista Ultimate OEM - $200
Microsoft is semi-officially supporting the OEM versions for resale to end users, but the bad news is that there's not much savings at the low-end. The pricing for the basic OEM editions are nearly identical to the full retail upgrades. The primary difference is that the OEM copies will support full install as well as upgrade install. If you're looking for deeper Vista discounts, you may be interested in the Vista Family Pack, which includes the option to buy two $49 copies of Vista Home Premium, provided you pay full retail price for a copy of Vista Ultimate.
Now that we've gotten the sticky matter of pricing out of the way, let's take a deeper look at this little utility Microsoft provides. It's actually a Windows Script Host file, slmgr.vbs. First, let's switch our default WSH handler to the command-line version so we aren't dealing with aggravating window popups from the command line.
If you run slmgr without any parameters, you'll get the help.
Windows Software Licensing Management Tool
Usage: slmgr.vbs [MachineName [User Password]] [<Option>]
MachineName: Name of remote machine
User: Account with required privilege
Password: password for account
-ipk <Product Key>
Install product key (replaces existing key)
Uninstall product key
-dli [Activation ID | All]
Display license information (default: current license)
-dlv [Activation ID | All]
Display detailed license information (default: current license)
Expiration date for current license state
Clear product key from the registry (prevents disclosure attacks)
-ilc <License file>
Re-install system license files
Reset the licensing status of the machine
Display Installation ID for offline activation
-atp <Confirmation ID>
Activate product with user-provided Confirmation ID
I just re-armed tonight and re-booted, and I can verify that the grace period extension worked via the -dli command:
Name: Windows(TM) Vista, Ultimate edition
Description: Windows Operating System - Vista, RETAIL channel
Partial Product Key: RP8F7
License Status: Initial grace period
Time remaining: 43100 minute(s) (29 day(s))
This is my third and final grace period extension. I now have 29 days to decide if I want Ultimate edition or not.
(update: Ed Bott posted how to set up a scheduled task so you rearm automatically after 30 days. I set mine up to run monthly for 3 months rather than setting up 3 individual tasks as Ed suggests.)
* Note that this does not apply to the Enterprise edition of Vista, which only allows a 3 day grace period. The enterprise edition has an entirely different activation scheme; it uses a local volume license key server.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
I love the set-up for evaluation but the problem with the enterprise edition is that it has already been hacked so anyone cn have free Vista forever.
Where can we get the download of the trial?
Where can we get the download of the trial?
The only trial available right now is for RC1. I presume MS will have a download site for the Vista trial at some point.
In the meantime, I recommend searching your favorite bittorrent tracker sites for the Vista final DVD. I don't see anything wrong with this, since you'll be doing a legitimate trial exactly as Microsoft intended (and is supported within Vista itself).
Decide either to pony up the cash for ultimate or just spend 3 hours reinstalling the thing??
I don't know if reinstalling will reset the counters. Somehow I doubt it, that seems like an obvious hole. And it wouldn't take 3 hours to reinstall Vista in any case.. less than an hour, tops.
The Family Pack would be a sure thing for me, but Vista Home Premium doesn't support Remote Desktop, and I can't think of any of the computers I have at home that I wouldn't want to Remote Desktop into from my laptop.
One question about the OEM license though,
If I install it one pc, uninstall it later and install it on an other pc, will it continue to work ?
So, can you use an OEM-license (not simultaneously) on different PC's ?
NO, that is the whole point with OEM, it's tied to one machine (actually motherboard).
However, I know people that switched motherboard and called MS when activating and told them the motherboard broke and they were allowed to activate, so I guess it depends on how devious you are ;)
Well, that depends on another important factor: Updates. Does the "trial" allow for full updates through the Windows Update feature, that'll have security fixes, enhancements, etc? Because with any Windows version you can find a way to get it "Free forever", but at what expense? Mostly they don't have access to the updates. You could give me a free Windows XP SP1, but I wouldn't use it. likewise you could probably use a "trial" Vista, but would it really be worth it after a certain point in time?
Because with any Windows version you can find a way to get it "Free forever", but at what expense?
First of all, even pirated XP clients get critical updates. And obviously Vista, during the eval period, gets all available updates.
Unlike Windows XP, WGA (now WSPP) is built into Vista from day one. And the consequences of remaining "non-geniune" are far more dire than in XP. Vista shifts to "you can't do anything but open a web browser to buy a valid license" mode if it remains unvalidated long enough.
Reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista will allow the user to use the browser after the reduced functionality mode has begun. Reduced functionality mode can occur as a result of failed product activation or of that copy being identified as counterfeit or non-genuine.
By choosing "Access your computer with reduced functionality," the default Web browser will be started and the user will be presented with an option to purchase a new product key. There is no start menu, no desktop icons, and the desktop background is changed to black. The Web browser will fully function and Internet connectivity will not be blocked. After one hour, the system will log the user out without warning. It will not shut down the machine, and the user can log back in. Note: This is different from the Windows XP RFM experience, which limits screen resolution, colors, sounds and other features.
Nice to see some of the final prices. Now I just have to decide if that price + the $689 to upgrade hardware/software that will not work under Vista is worth the few worthwhile items that I don't already have.
Why are all the discounts always only for the US and Canada ? I have never seen a single discount from MS in Sweden where I live. Sure, if you buy a computer with XP a month before release you get Vista for free but that's it.
We want these discounts as well :(
"Why are all the discounts always only for the US and Canada ? I have never seen a single discount from MS in Sweden where I live. Sure, if you buy a computer with XP a month before release you get Vista for free but that's it.
We want these discounts as well :("
Competition issues. Many nations put restrictions on the promotions that foreign companies can do to help local businesses stay competitive.
There are rules as to how much "value" you can give away free with your product in many places, as well as rules about how much money could be won in a sweepstakes.
There are no such laws here, maybe in North Korea.
This is a matter of a US company still only catering to their home market and letting the rest of the world pay for it.
As far as I understand it you can't even buy a Vista license online from outside the US, one of the most talked about features with the Vista launch.
Havent heard Microsoft say this is officially supported, maybe someone just plain forgot to remove it in RTM.
120 days is a pretty long time, computer enthusiasts rarerly have a system installed for that long so if you can handle the bother of reinstalling it after four months you could run Vista for free forever.
If this was really intended I wonder what Microsoft plans to offer to those that actually buy it, like offering extras for those that activate it with a proper key.
So, if you trial Vista and decide not to buy it, does Vista politely roll your system back to its previous state?
I doubt it - I'm sure Microsoft's thinking in this regard is: Who would ever want to rollback to a pre-Vista system? Not gonna happen, so we don't need to code for it.
I do find this quite extraordinary, perhaps a new attack vector? However, it's certainly useful for me as I often will have systems up for a few months and then rebuild. Saves me the trouble of putting in an MSDN or other key.
It's all video drivers. They're still immature, which is very annoying. I expect both companies to release new drivers on launch day, though.
The only other thing that might affect background performance is that indexing, Windows Defender, and superfetch are now on by default in the background. These services are "in the box" for Vista.
If Microsoft or NVIDIA is to blame for these poor results I don't know.
regarding the game performance, It's likely a driver issue, which would put the blame on nvidia, and not microsoft. As the drivers get better, the performance will improve.
Additionally, in the report which you cited, an nvidia graphics card was tested. Other tests tend to show that ati's drivers work better:
(both companies drivers have a lot of room for improvement).
So, if you trial Vista and decide not to buy it, does Vista politely roll your system back to its previous state? If so, is it an "image"-based rollback, meaning you lose everything you've done since the Vista install, or might it actually allow you to keep things like new documents or bookmarks?
xp2400+ 1gb 80GB - RC1+ installs in 20 mins
"There is no start menu, no desktop icons, and the desktop background is changed to black. The Web browser will fully function and Internet connectivity will not be blocked."
True, but you can still access your desktop and files by typing C:/Windows.....etc in the internet explorer address bar.
Its not all 'video drivers'. Vista is bloatware, it requires a bare minimum of about 300MB free ram just to get you to the desktop. This doesnt include aero or any of the security crap that comes with it. Add all of that and you are at about 500MB+ used. This is before launching any of your own apps. Run a few new apps that are dx10 enhanced and you need a bare minimum of 2GB of ram to function.
Fist off i do not see anything wrong with the system req. for vista. Systems are cheap and why spend millions of dollars on making a system for old hardware. I have 2 gigs of ram and a dual core cpu and it runs great.. Also i dont remember exactly how i did it but when your evalution runs out and all they give you is a webpage to buy the product simply type c: in your address bar and you get your c drive. then in the address bar type explorer. Your desktop should appear in a few seconds...
Re: Vista is bloatware: come on, this has been covered before, even on this blog - Vista aggressively caches data, including stuff it suspects is likely to be needed in the near future (based on past usage). Vista does NOT require 500MB of memory to idle!
To learn how memory managers work, get a copy of Windows Internals, 4th Ed.
Has anyone figured out how many times one can re-install Vista *after* activation??
Thank you, Tom
Does anyone know if this also works for technet copies?
if you change date for 2099 year and then write a command you'll be able to use system without activating it before 2099 :)
Somewhere on the nets there is even a way to freeze that clock so it never times out. I personally would not do it.
Many thanks for your quick reply Jeff, i will double check on available drivers then take the plunge! :)
I am waiting for dell to ship out my free upgrade to Vista Home Premium but annot be bothered to wait as i want it now :) I have through MS Direct Access, a Vista Business Edition DVD. Question is could i install using this disc and not enter a key using the trail mode and when my pack comes through from Dell enter that key and continue working?
Bob, the answer is yes.
you can install any version of Vista (in 30/120 day eval mode) from any Vista DVD. Just leave the key blank. Then when you get the key, enter it via Control Panel | System and Maintenance | System -- there's a link at the bottom for "Change Product Key".
The only thing you have to be careful about is installing the correct edition of Vista.
You have to right click on command prompt and "open as administrator"
I type in smlgr -rearm, get the message- "ERROR: 0XC004F025 Access Denied: the requested action requires elevated priviledges". I look in accounts and I am listed as Administrator. What am I doing wrong Jeff? Thanks in advance. James
if u have 25 days left and rearm will u have 55 days or will it go back to 30 days?
if u have 25 days left and rearm will u have 55 days or will it go back to 30 days?
It goes back to 30 days.
What would happen if you install Vista and then create a backup using TrueImage10.0. , then restore this backup in another PC. Will this work?
Another thing for those who are looking for remote assistance. I downloaded a free aplication from Logmein.com . Download the free remote desktop and control as many pc's as you wish for free.
I was just wondering how to find how much longer i have on my license?
I got the script to run sucessfully. BUT when doing the slmgr.vbs -rearm I eventually get a message "command not recognized" what gives........ any help? Thanks
When i use :slmgr -rearm" i get the following error message:
"Error0xC004F025 Access Denied: the requested action requires elevated privileges."
I have logged in with the administrator account.
Help me out.
True Image 10.0 doesn't reset the days. For some reason it keeps counting down. I tried it with 20 days remaining. After the restore image process was done, it still said 20 days remaining. Everything else restored to it original state. ie. programs etc..
By choosing "Access you computer with reduced functionality" an IE window will apear. Then I type "C:" in the address bar and I get to "My Computer" and then I use search on any of the folders or drives and I get the whole desktop and every other program back. Is it intended? I mean what kind of reduced functionality is that?
To rearm Vista, follow the following steps:
1. Click on the Start button, and type "Command Prompt"
2. Right-click on "Command Prompt", and select "Run as administrator"
3. Click on "Continue" when the prompt appears.
4. Type "slmgr -rearm".
5. Wait for a few seconds. Eventually, a message will appear saying it was successful, and asking you to reboot your computer.
Hope this helps!
Hi, I just came across your posting.
"I set mine up to run monthly for 3 months rather than setting up 3 individual tasks as Ed suggests."
Please share your settings.
Thank you, Regards.
i just bought my son a laptop it came with windows vista free trial now the trial is over. is there any way i can install the windows xp cd that i have or will it mess up the laptop. someone please help. i do not know much about computers and i do not have the money for windows vista. please tell me that i am not stuck with a computer that i can not even use.
I had read this when you first posted it, but didn't have Vista at the time, so I filed it away. Later on I setup a Vista test machine - tested what needed tested, and then filed the machine away. Went to fire it up tonight, and it told me my Vista was not genuine since I had not activated it. I told it to let me use it with limited functionality.
Turns out "limited" means only your web browser, and no explorer. I browsed to this page, then using Firefox's File dialog, I launched cmd.exe via the right-click Open. Used the handy slmgr -rearm and rebooted. System now works as good as Vista ever did. I wasn't sure if I would be able to use it or not since it has been expired for quite some time now.
has this feature been disabled in Vista Home Premium? I have 2 days left to activate, I ran slmgr -rearm and rebooted but it didn;t make a difference. I also followed the WIndows Secrets guiodelines and changed the relevant registry entry, no luck.
i think you have to buy a license... or change to the free sofrware
I've noticed a lot of people online who have problems with this fix. When you try to run "slmgr -rearm" and you get a return of "Not enough quota to process..", there's still a way to fix your problem. I had this error message as well. Here's how I got around it.
Run Vista in reduced functionality mode
Which probably will bring up FireFox for you, if you're getting this error.
Navigate to the taskmgr by typing file:///C:/windows/system32/
From the Task Manager hit "File/New Task/" and type "explorer.exe"
From the start menu right click cmd.exe and run it as administrator
then close Firefox and explorer.exe from the task mgr's processes tab
then closed the taskmgr .. the only thing that should be open now is your prompt to activate windows and the cmd line window.
Now you should be able to run your slmgr -rearm command with no problems :)
I had 20 days left of the Activation grace period left, so I tried
the "slmgr -rearm" command as detailed, and rebooted when prompted.
It now says there's only 3 days left. What the heck went wrong?
Computer stopped working and said product key was invalid or inactive.
Computer will not take key it was origonally loaded with.
How would i get an alternate key or universal key without having to buy windows vista all over again?
my email is email@example.com
"..the OEM copies will support full install as well as upgrade install."
How sure are you about this? I hope it's right for my sake.
I have wrongly installed Vista Home Premium OEM on my new PC, and now realise I need/want the RDC, backup, and Fax features supplied with Ultimate. I now want to try installing Vista Ultimate OEM over the top of Home Premium OEM, as an upgrade, in the hope that I wont lose anything or stuff anything up. Has anyone else tried this or heard of it being done successfully?
just find a crack
they're all over the internet
I tried to put in the command prompt and it didn't work. I still can't get my computer to work at all! I tried entering my product key and it says it's invalid. What do I do?!
I'm trying to do this while my computer is in reduced function mode. I put it in safe mode and then I put in the command prompt. Should it still work? I get an error message but I don't know what I'm doing wrong! What gives!?...help?
Make sure your computer has the default SLMGR.vbs not a modified one. It took me a couple times to get this right, please realise that this has been patched/fixed on Windows Vista Basic, and Windows Vista Home Premium. Make sure to go to your registry (run: REGEDIT) and modify:
Look for the sub-key SkipRearm. The default value for this key is 0, change the value to 1. upon doing this, restart your computer.
Now that youve restarted, go to C:\Windows\System32\slmgr.vbs, and take ownership of that file.
For those of you that don't know how to take ownership of a file, here's how: right click on slmgr.vbs, and go to properties, click on the security tab. Click on Advanced. Click on the tab Owner. Click Edit. Now you should see a list of users and administrators, click on your name. If your name doesn't appear in the list, click on Other users or groups.... Type your user name into the large box at the bottom and click Check Names. If you type your name in correctly, you'll see that your name has been underlined. Click ok and you'll see that your name has been added to the list of users, double click your name and select ok to change the owner of the file to you.
Now, open a command prompt and type:
You should now restart your computer, and check your activation status.
Because MS is for Fascists running 95
To get rearm to work while in RFM - reduced functionality:
Start pc in safe mode, install firefox or set firefox to default browser,
Restart pc and go to reduced functionality mode. Wait for vista site to load and right click a picture and click save as. Wait for firefox download manager to appear and right click the downloaded picture and click Open containing folder
Then when the windows explorer pops up just find C:/Windo.../cmd
Right click and run as administrator.. And then follow top of page commands..
Means that your 120 days doesn't have to be consecutive..
PS will the above post work for vista home premium?
I received an evaluation copy of Vista Ultimate SP1 from M$ in July 2008.
After installing and entering the Key and then going online to activate it, (which went successfully) I followed these instructions:
1. Open registry editor.
2. Navigate to the following registry key:
3. Edit the registry subkey of “SkipRearm” (you should see current value as dword:00000000) and set the
“SkipRearm” value to any positive integer (such as 1).
4. Open command prompt with administrative rights.
5. Type “slmgr -rearm” or “Rundll32 slc.dll,SLReArmWindows”.
6. Restart computer. Open command prompt w/admin. rights and type
in slmgr -xpr then enter. wait about
30 to 45 seconds for your new time.
When I restarted my system and did the CMD prompt for my new time, I got a message box that said This machine is permanently activated
I have not had to reactivate or reinstall, still running full throttle. Also worked for Windows 7
i need a vista key for my laptop right now,i need your help thanx.
i need a hundred million usd. right now, i need your help thanx.
Decide either to pony up the cash for ultimate or just spend 3 hours reinstalling the thing??
Does the Vista trial need to connect to MS servers at any point? Because with a tool like DBAN I don't see how it could figure out if it was a reinstall or not, unless you needed some sort of psuedo-activation just even use the OS.
Completely OT, but when did you change your title from ".Net and Human Factors" to "Programming and Human Factors"
PL, Microsoft gives discounted software away like their life depended on it. Does any of this software make it to the US market? No. Please don't say that no other country sees discounts because the fact is that the US does not see the discount that other countries see. Come on, Microsoft is building cheaper machines to only sell overseas. Where is this courtesy for poor families in the US? No discounts in other countries, GIVE ME A BREAK.