Today, I wanted to update Vista RC1 to RC2. When I booted up, Vista informed me that I have to activate it before I can logon. Unfortunately, I used a private IP. So Vista Activation wasn't able to phone home. No problem you say? Just enter a public IP and go ahead. But how can you do that without logging on?

Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

Vista Activation allows you to setup DSL (PPOE) and a dial up connection, but you can't access the network card settings. Then I thought that Microsoft's developers are smart guys. I was sure that I can logon in safe mode to change the IP. Well, what can I say? No way! I was such a bad boy that I didn't activate Vista in time, thus I am not even allowed to logon in safe mode.

Maybe there is trick to it, but I really don't have the time to play with Vista Activation all day. Now you might ask why not just wait until there is a cracked version available? Then I would genuinely get an advantage since I don't have to mess around with product keys and activation? You're probably right.

Anyway, I learned my lesson. Activate Vista before using a private IP! Otherwise you'll end up reinstalling it.

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Update: I posted several other articles about Vista activation. Please, check out the Related section below for a complete list.

  1. Avatar
    Steve 17 years ago

    Why don’t you just activate over the phone?

  2. Avatar

    Did you count the number of digits you have to enter if you activate Vista by phone? All in all there are 108. This is ridiculous! Usually, I am making typing mistakes. Then I might have to call them again. Sorry, I really don’t have the time for these games. It is faster to simply reinstall it, since I didn’t install any other software. The main point of this post is that product activation only annoys customers. Those guys who don’t want to pay for software always find a way. Have you ever been in a computer shop in China? Then you know what I am talking about.

  3. Avatar
    Kevin Severud 17 years ago

    Considering the WGA flub for VLK customers being told last week that their XP machines were il-legit and the fact that Volume Activation 2.0 is going to be another bump in TCO, Microsoft better do more than 5 nines in making sure this stuff works. Otherwise it just isn’t worth stomaching this Content Restriction And Prevention (others call it DRM) scheme.

  4. Avatar
    AniMatrix 17 years ago

    You could boot with a Windows XP XPE boot CD, and boot Windows XP from a CD.

    In that Windows XP Environment you can maybe use a Vista activator tool, if compatible in PE (Preinstalled Environment).

  5. Avatar

    Kevin, I fully agree.

    Animatrix, don’t you think that this is a bit too complicated? I mean I don’t want to hack my Vista installation; I just want to activate it.

  6. Avatar
    eth0 17 years ago

    That’s strange, considering I’ve installed Vista via the new Windows Distribution Service (SP2 beta for 2003 Server, successor to RIS)..
    And that’s all on a private-range network ofcourse.

    No such problems activating here.

  7. Avatar

    You can use a private IP to install Vista with WDS. However, to activate Vista, you have to connect to the Microsoft activation server. For this you need a public IP.

  8. Avatar
    ben 17 years ago

    why would you have to reinstall when you can boot via a PE disk, replace the tokens.dat file and the pkeyconfig.xrm-ms located at both




    of course remembering to give yourself full access rights first using any Open property of a file, click Security > Advanced > Owner > Edit > Administrators.
    Click OK and close the propertes.
    Then re-open properties of the file, Click Security > Advanced > Edit > select Administrators and click Edit.
    Click “Full Control”, Click OK and close the properties.

    sorry forgot to mention, heres the keycode although when these files are replaced any keycode should work 😉


    now i spose you want to know where to find the files dont you 😉 goto

    and put the two files to a floppy or whatever, let me know how you get on, everytime i do this i get 30 more days activation, and when windows is working it only takes me about 1 minute to do it.

  9. Avatar
    ben 17 years ago

    ps if you activation is already dead, you dont need to edit the permissions just copy the files to the two locations

  10. Avatar

    Ben, it was only a test system without any software installed. That’s why, installation was fast. But thanks for the tip! I, somehow, think that I might need this some day.

  11. Avatar
    Tim Matheson 17 years ago

    You can put in a new public IP without too much effort. Boot up your machine and when Vista tells you your copy has expired goto “Reduced Functionality Mode” then once your inside that you only have a web browser IE7 to be exact. Once you have that done enter C:\Windows\explorer.exe into the address bar. Vista will load explorer and your start menu, and other features will be restored. You will still have a limit on the number of applications that can be run but should be able to enable your public IP from there.

    Where theres a will there is a way.

    Best regards,

    Tim Matheson

  12. Avatar

    Tim, thanks for the tip. Was this feature available in Vista RC? I don’t remember that I saw this “Reduced Functionality mode” there.

  13. Avatar
    Tim Matheson 17 years ago

    I used RC2 to do it. I tried fiddling with the dates and locked myself out of Vista RC2 and that is when I seen it. Vista gave three options I could logout, Use reduced functionality mode (says to buy a product key online and I tried but Microsoft wouldn’t let me cause it wasn’t released. 🙁 ) and there was an option to enter a new product key. We have all become latch-key windows users and from time to time we lock ourselves out of the house. Personally I don’t think that $150 is so much to pay for the Vista upgrade. I just don’t see why I have to have my XP cd to do it (Are you listening Microsoft?). What are all those OEM XP users to do who didn’t receive a CD with their machine? Oh well I guess there is always the torrent copies thanks Microsoft for turning your would be legitimate customers into pirates just to save time.

    Best regards,

    Tim Matheson

  14. Avatar

    Okay, I remember it now. I just didn’t know that I have to enter C:\Windows\explorer.exe. Why make it easy, if it can be complicated, right?

  15. Avatar
    Tim Matheson 17 years ago

    I don’t think Microsoft Wanted you to type C:\Windows\explorer.exe in the address bar. If they did they wouldn’t have disabled it in the first place. If you look at the caption to this feature it says “To purchase a new product key online.” hence the browser. This method is complicated because it is a hack and was not intended to be done.


    Tim Matheson

  16. Avatar
    rock1 17 years ago

    i don’t have that file on the computer -.- Windows\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareLicensing

    why?how? can you help?

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