If you've installed Vista and haven't entered an activation key, you have 30 days before Windows enters reduced functionality mode. You may do this because you just want to evaluate Vista before buying, or in our case, running a few test machines and a Key Management Server (KMS) but haven't hit the magic 25 machine limit before the key server actually starts handing out licenses. Luckily Vista comes with a VBscript for managing activations and will let you "rearm" the activation for another 30 days. You can rearm the timer only 3 times, so you'll get 120 days of free Vista goodness before you actually need to buy a license or get your KMS working. If you haven't yet hit your 30 day expiration, all you need to do is:
- Go to Start --> Accessories, right click on the Command Prompt shortcut and choose "Run As Administrator" from the menu.
- UAC will ask you to elevate permissions to open the command prompt, so click allow.
- At the command prompt type "slmgr -rearm" and hit enter. Assuming you haven't already done this 3 times, you're good for another 30 days.
If you didn't happen to reset the timer before your computer entered reduced functionality mode, it becomes a little more complicated. Reduced functionality mode will only allow you to either enter a license key or run a web browser to buy a license from Microsoft. Here's how to rearm your timer should you already be in reduced functionality mode:
- After logging in (you must be logged in as an administrator to do this, so do so if you're not already), you'll be asked to enter a key or use Windows in reduced functionality mode. Click the option for using reduced functionality mode.
- In the web browser you're presented with, type "C:\Windows\System32" in the address bar and hit enter.
- Find cmd.exe in the System32 folder, right click on it, and choose "Run as Administrator".
- When UAC prompts you to elevate permissions, click allow.
- Type "slmgr -rearm" at the command prompt and hit enter.
You're now all set for another 30 days of use without a problem.
[tags]windows vista, vista, UAC, user account control, reduced functionality mode, RFM, slmgr, slmgr.vbs, rearm[/tags]