After installing retail edition of Windows Vista which is purchased through retail channel as boxed product version, user may notice that in “Windows activation” status of System Properties, the activation status is described and known as “Windows will activate automatic in x days”, with x between 1 and 3.
The going to activate message is been displayed despite user has enter a valid, genuine and legitimate product key that comes with the Windows Vista retail box, and not a leaked, stolen, cracked, hacked or illegally obtained serial CD/DVD key.
According to Windows Vista activation FAQ, in fact the behavior is normal.
If you acquired Windows Vista via retail purchase (boxed product) or pre-installed on a computer from a local computer vendor, you will be responsible for activating Windows Vista. After Windows Vista has been installed, activation will automatically begin three days after you log on for the first time, unless you opt out during installation. If the device is connected to the Internet, the software may automatically connect to Microsoft for activation. You can also activate the software manually by Internet or telephone.
The not automatically activate situation normally will not happen if user’s PC is connected to Internet. The case normally occur when user deselect and uncheck the “Automatically activate Windows when I’m online” check box when entering product key. However, Windows Vista will start attempting to activate online, or pop up dialog box to request user to activate by phone.
Microsoft has allowed most flexibility and least restriction on the first three days after installation of Windows Vista in order to allow users to install required drivers and applications during the period. So user won’t get any warning or nagging reminder message for activation even though Windows Vista yet to be activated. Hackers and pirates have earlier use the convenient to permanently crack activate Windows Vista.
To activate instantly without waiting for few more days, just manually trigger the activation process by clicking on “Activate Windows now” link in System Properties window of Control Panel.