You probably know that you can reset the grace period up to three times with the command slmgr -rearm. This "rearming" allows you to run Vista without license key up to four months. It seems that Brian Livingston has found a method to prolong this period indefinitely using the SkipRearm registry setting.
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One only has to change the SkipReam registry subkey to 1. You can find this key here:
Then, you run slmgr –rearm on a command prompt with administrator privileges before the grace period is over. This will give you another grace period of one month. According to Livingston, this can be done for an indefinite number of times if SKipRearm is set to 1. In his tests he was able to rearm Vista 12 times. He writes, however, that it didn't work with a full version of the Home Premium edition.
Note that it is not a dirty hacker trick. Microsoft recommends this in a Technet paper if you have to run sysprep more than three times. I don't know, why one should run sysprep more than three times, but this can be very useful if you have problems activating Vista. SkipRearm is a documented parameter which can be used during an unattended setup. Here is an example how to use it in unattend.xml.
This is very strange, if it is really true. Why is Microsoft imposing this hassle on us if the bad guys can use Vista without activation, anyway? This Computerworld article contains kind of a reaction from Microsoft. David Lazar, the director of the Genuine Windows program says:
It is important to note that these hacks are, at best, temporary. Microsoft has systems in place to detect and block piracy.
Well, I guess this won't be the last time we'll hear about such "hacks".