Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Delaying Windows 7 Product Activation | Extending Windows 7 Activation Grace Period

Retail versions of Windows 7 must be activated within 30 days. Otherwise, the system slips into an annoying state in which it notifies you, every 60 minutes, that the system must be activated. Still, the 30-day grace period is useful, especially if you’re just testing some things and want to ensure that your new install is working properly before you lock things down and tie your one product key to this particular PC.

That said, sometimes 30 days isn’t enough, and if you want to extend this grace period, we’ve got some good news: thanks to a barely documented feature aimed at Microsoft’s corporate customers, it’s actually possible to extend the activation grace period up to a total of 150 days. You just have to be a bit vigilant.

The key to extending the grace period is a command-line program in Windows 7 called
Software Licensing Manager (SLMGR), which is actually a VBScript script named slmgr.vbs.  (It can be found in c:\windows\system32 by default.) Using this script with the -rearm parameter, you can reset (or, in Software Licensing Manager lingo, “re-arm”) Windows 7’s 30-day activation grace period. This effectively resets the clock on the activation grace period back to a full 30 days whenever you run it.

Unfortunately, you can run this script successfully only four times, so it’s theoretically possible to re-arm the product activation grace period to a total of 150 days (30 days of initial grace period plus four additional 30-day grace periods). That said, even the most careful of users will likely want to re-arm the grace period with a few days remaining each time, but you’re still looking at over 100 days of non-activated Windows 7 usage.

You can view your current grace period in the System window. To do so, open the Start menu, right-click the Computer icon, and choose Properties. The bottom section of this window, Windows activation, displays how many days you have until the grace period ends, and provides a link to activate Windows immediately, as shown

Here’s how to re-arm the Windows 7 product-activation grace period:
  1. Open the Start menu, select Search, and type cmd.
  2. Right-click the cmd shortcut that appears and choose Run as Administrator from the pop-up menu that appears. Windows 7’s command-line window appears.
  3. Type the following text in the command-line window and press Enter when complete: slmgr.vbs -rearm
  4. When the command is run successfully, the Windows Script Host window appears, noting “Command completed successfully. Please restart the system for the changes to take effect.”
  5. Click OK to close the Windows Script Host window and then restart the PC. When
  6. you reboot, reload the System window. The grace period has been reset to 30 days.
  7. Done!
The Software Licensing Manager script wasn’t designed solely to extend the Windows 7 grace period. If you run slmgr.vbs from a Windows 7 command-line window without any parameters, you’ll eventually be presented with the dialog displaying the many possible options...
The most interesting of these include the following:
  • -ipk: Enables you to change the Windows product key
  • -dlv: Displays a detailed list of license information about your PC, including the Windows 7 product version and type (e.g., retail)
  • -ato: Activates Windows 7
  • -dti: Activates Windows 7 offline, without an Internet connection


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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