Extending The Windows Vista Grace Period to 120 Days

Posted On 2007-01-29 by FortyPoundHead
Keywords: Vista Grace Period
Tags: General Tip Vista
Views: 1490

If you''re on the fence about the impending release of Windows Vista, I recommend trying before you buy. Every Vista DVD includes the ability to install any edition of Vista without a product key. When you install without a product key, you get an automatic 30 day evaluation period.* This probably isn''t news to anyone.

What may be news to you, however, is that you can easily extend the 30-day Windows Vista grace period to 120 days. No hacks required. This is an official, supported operation directly from Microsoft.

To extend the grace period another 30 days, simply start a command prompt as Administrator, and issue this command:

slmgr -rearm

Reboot for the change to take effect, and voila, you have 30 more days. You can only extend three times, so the total grace period for a Vista evaluation is 120 days. You do, however, need to be careful that you''ve installed the correct edition of Vista. At the end of that 120 day grace period, you''ll have to pony up a license fee for the edition of Vista you''ve installed. Now that the OEM editions are out, the pricing breaks down like so, at least at Newegg:

* Vista Home Basic OEM - $100
* Vista Home Premium OEM - $120
* Vista Business OEM - $150
* Vista Ultimate OEM - $200

Microsoft is semi-officially supporting the OEM versions for resale to end users, but the bad news is that there''s not much savings at the low-end. The pricing for the basic OEM editions are nearly identical to the full retail upgrades. The primary difference is that the OEM copies will support full install as well as upgrade install. If you''re looking for deeper Vista discounts, you may be interested in the Vista Family Pack, which includes the option to buy two $49 copies of Vista Home Premium, provided you pay full retail price for a copy of Vista Ultimate. Microsoft hasn''t announced the final details of this program yet, but what I''ve heard so far sounds promising.

Now that we''ve gotten the sticky matter of pricing out of the way, let''s take a deeper look at this little utility Microsoft provides. It''s actually a Windows Script Host file, slmgr.vbs. First, let''s switch our default WSH handler to the command-line version so we aren''t dealing with aggravating window popups from the command line.

cscript /H:Cscript

If you run slmgr without any parameters, you''ll get the help.

Windows Software Licensing Management Tool
Usage: slmgr.vbs [MachineName [User Password]] [

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