Almost all the IT news sites covered this great news. I think it was predictable that Microsoft would remove Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) sooner or later. I am just a little surprised that they gave up so soon. My personal term for RFM and Vista activation in general is Windows Genuine Activation mess (WGA). If you have been reading this blog for some time now, then you know what I am talking about.
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When I started playing with Vista RC, I couldn't believe my eyes when one of my test machines entered RFM. This computer had a private IP and had no router configured which made it impossible to activate Vista via Internet since one isn't even allowed to change the IP settings of a machine in RFM. There seem to be workarounds, but they were all too time consuming for my taste. This incident made it clear to me that we will have to invest a lot of extra time just dealing with Vista activation.
I think RFM is a nightmare for any sys admin. Just imagine all your Windows machines entering into RFM over night because something went wrong with Vista activation. So in my view this is the most important new feature of Service Pack 1. However, this doesn't mean that Vista activation becomes easier for us to handle.
The fundamental difference between Windows XP and Vista still stands. Most admins didn't have to worry at all about Windows activation until Vista drew its first breath. So before you can deploy Vista, you have to spend a considerable amount of time learning about Vista's activation methods. It also remains to be seen how intrusive this recurring notice is that non-genuine Vista installations will present to users.
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I suppose this also means that Windows Server 2008 will be delivered without RFM. This might be even more important. I don't have to tell you what it means if some of your servers go into RFM just because you forgot to activate them.