Extend Windows Vista’s trial to 120 days



January 30th, 2007

Anyone can install Windows Vista on a PC without needing a product key.  After installation you get 30 days to evaluate the operating system before you have to enter a product key and activate it.

However, there is a legal way to extend this grace period to 120 days.  This isn't a hack or some evil crack - it's a method that's been put in place by Microsoft.

  • Log in to the system as an Administrator.
  • Press Windows key + R to bring up a Run dialog.
  • Type cmd and press OK.
  • Type slmgr -rearm and press ENTER.
  • Reboot.

That's it.  You can extend the grace period up to three times, giving you a total testing time of 120 days.  I suppose if you were willing to reinstall your OS every 120 days, you could run Vista for free indefinitely.  That would be a major hassle though.

Thanks to Jeff Atwood for this trick.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 30th, 2007 at 23:30 and is filed under PC Doctor Tips, PC Doctor's Useful Links. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Extend Windows Vista’s trial to 120 days”

  1. » Apple tax, Microsoft tax - The virtualization tax | Hardware 2.0 | ZDNet.com Says:

    [...] Now what about Microsoft's attitude to virtualizing Vista?  Well, here the devil is in the EULA.  To cut a long story short, Microsoft doesn't want the cheaper versions of Vista (Home Basic and Home Premium) installed into a virtual environment.  If you want to do that Microsoft wants you to give them a little more cash and buy Ultimate or Business.  Oh, and before you ask, there's no technical obstacle to installing Home Basic or Home Premium into a VMware of Virtual PC environment.  The limitation exists only in the EULA.  If you really want to experiment with Vista in a virtual environment you can either take advantage of the generous 120-day grace period before having to activate it and just demo it or cough up for a Technet Plus Direct subscription and get access to ISO downloads and product keys that allow you to have 10 installations. [...]

  2. » What does Windows Vista reduced functionality mode look like? | Hardware 2.0 | ZDNet.com Says:

    [...] Yes, this is the extend grace period hack. [...]