Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Free Switched iPhone app - try it now!
AOL Tech

Run Windows Vista for 120 days without activation key

Vista ReArmWhen you first install Windows Vista, you can run it for 30 days without entering a product key. This is the evaluation period, but what happens if your thirty days runs out before you buy an activation key; if you're not sure you want to buy one; or if you were only trying out Vista and don't plan to buy it, but have some files you need to get off of that computer?

Well, as Dwight Silverman found out the hard way, on day 31 Windows boots up and gives you a warning message that you're running a version of Vista that's not "genuine." Then Internet Explorer opens up and asks if you'd like to purchase an activation key. Silverman was able to figure out how to open a few programs and move a few files around through the Internet Explorer interface, which was necessary because he wanted to clean up the PC before returning the evaluation computer he'd been using.

But it turns out there's an officially supported way to turn that 30 day evaluation period into 120 days.
You can "re-arm" the trial period for another 30 days, and do so up to 3 times. Here's how it works:
  1. Click on the start button and type "Cmd" into the Start Search box.
  2. Press Ctrl-Shift-Enter to open the command prompt.
  3. Type "slmgr -rearm" and hit enter.
  4. Reboot the computer.
  5. Make sure to re-arm the system again 29 or 30 days later.
Obviously this feature was built into Vista by Microsoft, and the company has confirmed that extending the evaluation period is not a violation of Vista's end user agreement.

[via Hackzine]

Tags: activation, evaluation, osupdates, product key, ProductKey, rearm, vista