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Last month, Brian wrote about Windows Vista’s 30 day activation grace period and how it can be extended to 120 days using the included licence manager program. It turns out that with a quick registry tweak, you can extend this grace period for a year on copies of Vista that haven’t been activated yet. Here’s how:

1. Find this registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionSLSkipRearm
2. Change the DWORD value from 00000000 to 00000001
3. Run slmgr -rearm as administrator
4. Reboot
5. Repeat steps 1-4 monthly, before the 30 day activation extension ends.

This trick is supposed to work 8 times for Vista Ultimate and upgrade versions of Vista Home Premium, but not for the full version of Vista Home Premium. Since you can use the slmgr -rearm tool 3 times normally, you can do the 3 standard rearms plus the 8 skiprearm cycles for a total of 11 activation extensions or twelve 30 day periods, total.

Undoubtedly, someone will discover where the increment counter is for slmgr and you’ll be able to do this indefinately, but until then, Vista users will have a year to extend activation if they wish.

Microsoft allows bypass of Vista activation –Link.

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