The possibility to use Windows Vista without activate it (read as skip or do not purchase a license and get a genuine product key for installed copy of Windows Vista) has always been explored by hackers and crackers since the very initial release stage of Vista. In fact, without any Vista activation crack, Vista trial period, a new feature for Windows series of operating system, can be extended for free usage for up to 120 days with this simple rearm hack.

Microsoft also built in a variable named SkipRearm as a key in registry. According to Vista Technical Library, SkipRearm specifies whether to run the Windows Software Licensing Rearm program, and rearming a computer restores the Windows system to the original licensing state. All licensing and registry data related to activation is either removed or reset. Any grace period timers are reset as well.

Vista limits maximum number of rearms each installed system to 3, thus user can use Vista for free for up to 120 days if user rearm to reset the trial period (each Vista installation allows 30 days license-free evaluation period) when activation countdown grade period has 0 days or close to 0 days left. SkipRearm function provides a mean to further extend the evaluation license-free period indefinitely theoretically (practically has to depends on your luck).

How to Further Extend Windows Vista No Activation Evaluation Period with Rearm and SkipRearm

  1. Rearm only works on Windows Vista that hasn’t yet been activated (after activated there is no trial period exists). So if Vista has already activated, reinstall Vista or uninstall currently used product key with slmgr -upk command (guide on SLMgr).
  2. Click the Start button, type regedit into the Start Search box, then press Enter to run the Registry Editor.
  3. Navigate to the following Registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SL

  4. Right-click the registry key named SkipRearm and click Edit. Change the value date of Skip Rearm to any positive integer, such as 00000001. The default value for SkipRearm is a DWORD with a hex value of 00000000. Value of 1 in SkipRearm specifies that the computer will not be rearmed and the computer will not be restored to its original, out-of-box state. All activation-related licensing and registry data will remain and will not be reset. Similarly, any grace period timers will not be reset. However, when user manually issue rearm command, it’s still be carried out, and changing SkipRearm from 0 to 1 allows SLMgr to do rearm an indefinite number of times.
  5. Click on OK button to save the changes, then exit Registry Editor.
  6. Start a command prompt with administrative rights. Click on Continue and/or provide password if a User Account Control dialog pops up to ask for approval and/or to provide an administrator password.
  7. Type one of the following commands and press Enter:

    slmgr -rearm

    or

    rundll32 slc.dll,SLReArmWindows

    The command triggers Vista’s built-in Software Licensing Manager (SLMGR) to reset the activation deadline for another 30 days after the command is run. Once rearmed, the value of SkipRearm is reverted back to 0.

  8. Restart the computer, and now Vista should be back to 30 days or 43200 minutes left for activation.
  9. To rearm Vista again for unlimited times, repeat steps 2 to 7 above.

The main disadvantage of SkipRearm is that the rearm can’t be perform indefinitely forever. Vista has other mechanisms to stop unlimited rearm. However, the above hack will allow users to use Vista for free for at least up to 120 days, and possibly up to 1 year. Tests carried out by bloggers shown that in Vista Ultimate and Home Premium editions, users can rearm only 8 times with SkipRearm flag set, plus 3 times originally allowed. 11 times of rearms would give users nearly 360 days or a year of free usage of Vista without the need to activate or buying a license.

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