Windows Vista has a Visual Basic script built-in that will allow you to extend the trial period of Windows Vista by 30 days. You can use this script a total of three times which will extend your trial period up to 120 days. This process is known as "rearming" and it utilizes the "slmgr.vbs" script located at: "C:\Windows\system32." Using this script does not violate the Windows Vista End-User License Agreement. You can find more information about the script from the Microsoft TechNet website: "KMS hosts can be activated and maintained in several ways. In addition to the simple options provided with Slmgr.vbs, there are registry entries and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) calls that can be used for more sophisticated configuration settings." You can find a full copy of the Windows Vista End-User License Agreement at the Windows Vista Web site.
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In order to extend your activation period for Windows Vista by 30 days, you will need administrator privileges and and you will need to be able to launch an elevated Command Prompt session. You can find detailed instructions on the various ways to begin an elevated Command Prompt session at the Petri Vista Command Prompt Tips tutorial.
Note: In order to extend your activation period for Windows Vista you will need to complete the following tasks within the first 30 days. If you do not extend your activation period within the first 30 days, Windows Vista will "lock down" only allowing the user to activate the product, purchase an activation key, or browse the web for 1 hour. After one hour has elapsed, Windows Vista will end the current user's session.
Note: After thirty days, even if you boot into "Safe Mode using a Command Prompt session," you will be incapable of executing the slmgr.vbs script because Windows Vista will prevent you from launching an elevated Command Prompt session.
To extend your trial period, first launch an administrator Command Prompt session and navigate to the following directory by entering cd C:\Windows\system32.
In order to extend your activation period, enter the following command and hit enter: cscript slmgr.vbs - rearm
The command will take anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds to execute. Upon completion you will receive the following message: Command completed successfully. Please restart the system for the changes to take effect.
Congratulations, you will have successfully rearmed Windows Vista. As previously mentioned you can repeat the same procedure up to three times. Please remember that you must rearm Vista before the activation period ends and Vista enters "lock down."
Additional uses for slmgr.vbs
The slmgr.vbs script can be used for several other tasks beyond the scope of just rearming Vista. Besides using the "-rearm" command, slmgr.vbs supports the following commands:
-ipk Product Key Install enterprise license key (where Product Key represents the actual key) to enable KMS host functionality.
-dli Display license information.
-ato Attempt immediate activation.
-sprt port Set KMS host listening port (where port is the port ID).
-sdns Enable dynamic DNS publishing (default).
-cdns Disable dynamic DNS publishing.
-cpri Set KMS processor priority to low.
-spri Set KMS processor priority to normal (default).
-rearm Reset activation timer and initialization (used for imaging and recovery from RFM).
-xpr Display the date when the current KMS based activation will expire
Check the amount of time remaining in your activation grace period
One particularly useful command listed above is "-xpr" which can be used to track the amount of time remaining before you will need to rearm. Essentially, this acts as a countdown. To check the amount of time remaining in your grace period, launch an administrator Command Prompt session and navigate to "C:\Windows\System32" directory by entering cd C:\Windows\system32.
In order to check the amount of time remaining in your grace period enter the following command: cscript slmgr.vbs -xpr
This command will take anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds to execute. Upon completion you will receive the following message: Initial grace period ends [DATE] [TIME].
Alternatively, you can also find out this information by going to Start and right-clicking Computer. Your activation information will be at the bottom of the screen:
Here is what you have learned:
- Launch an elevated Command Prompt session
- Extend the Windows Vista activation period by 30 days
- Check the amount of time remaining in the Windows Vista grace period.
- Use the various features of the slmgr.vbs script included in Windows Vista