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Delay Windows Vista Activation For A Year

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Delay Windows Vista Activation For A Year

Postby Ian on Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:55 pm

Brian Livingston has put together an interesting article on Vista licensing. Essentially, Microsoft left a loophole which lets you delay the activation for a year or more. Considering people seem to install Windows every 6-12 months, you might never have to buy a legit copy of Vista.


Step 1. While running a copy of Windows Vista that hasn't yet been activated, click the Start button, type regedit into the Search box, then press Enter to launch the Registry Editor.

Step 2. Explore down to the following Registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ SL

Step 3. Right-click the Registry key named SkipRearm and click Edit. The default is a Dword (a double word or 4 bytes) with a hex value of 00000000. Change this value to any positive integer, such as 00000001, save the change, and close the Registry Editor.

Step 4. Start a command prompt with administrative rights. The fastest way to do this is to click the Start button, enter cmd in the Search box, then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. If you're asked for a network username and password, provide the ones that log you into your domain. You may be asked to approve a User Account Control prompt and to provide an administrator password.

Step 5. Type one of the following two commands and press Enter:

slmgr -rearm
rundll32 slc.dll,SLReArmWindows

Either command uses Vista's built-in Software Licensing Manager (SLMGR) to push the activation deadline out to 30 days after the command is run. Changing SkipRearm from 0 to 1 allows SLMGR to do this an indefinite number of times. Running either command initializes the value of SkipRearm back to 0.

Step 6. Reboot the PC to make the postponement take effect. (After you log in, if you like, you can open a command prompt and run the command slmgr -xpr to see Vista's new expiration date and time. I explained the slmgr command and its parameters in my Feb. 15 article.)

Step 7. To extend the activation deadline of Vista indefinitely, repeat steps 1 through 6 as necessary.

Any bets on how long it will be before Microsoft plugs the hole? I
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Postby Justin42 on Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:01 pm

I'm sure this will be like the DRM holes-- patched in like 24 hours or less and forced out via Automatic Updates as a critical security issue.

Meanwhile, 0-day exploits float around unpatched for months...
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Postby smartin4 on Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:51 am

Yeah, they'll try to "hide" it as a Critical Update w/some convoluted description like they did with the WGA tool. It will probably say the same thing that what seesm like 95% of the Updates say now, "This exploit can allow your computer to be compromised by a remote, blah, blah blah".

Only after the backlash over WGA "phoning home" every day did they change the description so people could actually tell what updates were d/l.

Bottom line, MS spent how many years and delayed Vista for how long, and a month after it is released to the public, there is a major flaw like this in it. Good for the consumer, bad for M$ again.
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Postby Wesociety on Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:31 pm

Yep, they'll probably release an autoupdate with a description of "security update to help you" or another lame description.
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