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Windows Vista Notes

CD and DVD Burning in Windows Vista CD and DVD Burning in Windows Vista
Windows Vista Command Reference Windows Vista Command Reference
Windows Vista Registry Settings Windows Vista Registry Settings
Windows Vista default icons Windows Vista default icons

Editor's Note:
Some of these are my own and others are copy-and-pasted notes from around the world. I have a clean
install of Windows Vista Ultimate, which means I'm better than you if you don't,
things may not work as advertised. I'm sure there's nothing dangerous, but make sure
you have a backup before you start.

Windows SteadyState 32bit only

regsvr32 actxprxy.dll

That re-registers the ActiveX Interface Marshaling Library, an obscure DLL that 
most people (even Microsoft experts) had never heard about. (Update: 27-Mar: 
Note that if you try this using Windows Vista, you must do this from an elevated 
Command Prompt window; type cmd in the Start menu Search box, right-click 
the Cmd.exe shortcut, and then choose Run As Administrator. For detailed instructions 
with screen shots, see this post.) After restarting her computer, she tried using IE8 
again. The results were stunning:

WOW. That really made a difference. It made my performance faster and 
more stable. Tabs are opening faster and more consistently instead of 
spinning endlessly.

In this registry path, click the (GUID) subkey that corresponds to the network adapter that is connected to the network.
New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value, name it DhcpConnEnableBcastFlagToggle with a value of 1

By setting this registry key to 1, Windows Vista will first try to obtain an IP address
by using the BROADCAST flag in DHCP Discover packets. If that fails, it will try to obtain
an IP address without using the BROADCAST flag in DHCP Discover packets.

Windows Vista Security update for August 2008


SEH chain validation
Windows Server 2008 introduced a new SEH protection mechanism that detects exception
handler record overwrites by validating the SEH linked list. This protection mechanism
is enabled by default on Windows Server 2008. It is also available on Vista SP1, but is
not turned on by default. It can be enabled by setting the undocumented registry key
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\kernel\DisableExceptionChainValidation
to 0.


On 64-bit versions of Windows, DEP is always turned on for 64-bit processes and cannot be
disabled. However, Internet Explorer on Vista x64 is still a 32-bit process and is subject to the
policies described above.

DLLs that are listed in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\DllNXOptions registry key. This key
contains a list of DLLs that are known to be incompatible with DEP.

DEP always on
Control Panel -> System -> Advanced System Settings ->
System Properties window -> Advanced tab -> Performance -> Settings ->
Performance Options window -> Data Execution Prevention tab -> Turn on DEP for all programs
IF you see: 'Your computer's processor supports hardware-based DEP'

editor's note: I run with DEP on all of my 32bit and 64bit Vista Home and Vista
Ultimate. I've only found one program, an obscure flash player, that won't work
with DEP enabled, and it only takes a minute to add it the the 'exceptions' list.


Vista's ASLR randomizes the location of images (PE files mapped into memory), heaps,
stacks, the PEB and TEBs. Image positioning randomization is designed to place images
at a random location in the virtual address space of each process. Vista's ASLR has
the capability to randomly position both executables and DLLs. There is a system-wide
configuration parameter that determines the behaviour of Vista's image randomization.
This parameter can be set in the registry key
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\MoveImages
which by default does not exist. This key has three possible settings:
 If the value is set to 0, never randomize image bases in memory, always honor the base
address specified in the PE header.
If set to -1, randomize all relocatable images regardless of whether they have the
If set to any other value, randomize only images that have relocation information and are
explicitly marked as compatible with ASLR by setting the
IMAGE_DLL_CHARACTERISTICS_DYNAMIC_BASE (0x40) flag in DllCharacteristics field
the PE header. This is the default behaviour.

In the default Internet Explorer configuration, .NET controls can be embedded on any
page in the Internet Zone. This behaviour can be configured in the Security Settings tab
in IE and should be set to 'Prompt' or 'Disabled'.

Windows Vista OEM Information

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Model"="HP Pavilion HDX9300 Notebook PC"
"Manufacturer"="Omigosh Spatula Co Unlimited"
"SupportHours"="NOW! CALL NOW! OR NEVER! BA$TARD!"

Disable Full Row Select in Explorer

64 bit shell extensions

Shell extensions don't always work. A 32bit version of Windows Explorer can be called:
C:\Windows\SysWOW64\explorer.exe /n,/e,/select,c:\,,/separate

User Account Control (UAC) in Windows Vista

Leave UAC on:

...with all failing to remove any of the rootkits they had found.

The results for Vista products were harder to assess because only
six rootkits could run on the OS, but the testers had to turn off UAC
to get even this far. Vista's UAC itself spotted everything thrown in front of it.

Read more:

I turned UAC off for a few hours, then turned it back on later
that day. The following day after rebooting I
got this error message while try to open Windows Mail:
Windows Mail could not be started. The application was unable to open the
Windows Mail message store. Your Windows Mail mailbox data is currently being
used by another program, such as a virus scanner. Close the program or wait
for it to complete its operation, then open Windows Mail again.
...and then...
"windows mail could not be started because msoe.dll could not be initialized"
So I disabled UAC again, rebooted, opened Windows Mail (without
the error messages), reenabled UAC, rebooted, and all is well again.

Or at least as well as can be expected after having to use a
mail program that can fail so miserably.

UserAgent Strings in Windows Vista says:
Internet Settings
User Agent
(default) = "Mozilla/4.0"
Compatible = "compatible"
Platform = "Windows NT 5.1"
Version = "MSIE 6.0"
Pre Platform
Token = Value
Post Platform
Token = Value

Here was mine before; I deleted them all:
\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform]
".NET CLR 2.0.50727"=""
"Media Center PC 5.0"=""
".NET CLR 3.0.04506"=""

Defaults are then used:
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)

Here's a place to check your UserAgent strings, among other things:

Turn off Compressed Folders

(built-in support for ZIP files) in Windows Vista

Registry Editor (regedit.exe):
Delete this key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}
Delete this key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262}
Restart Windows.
Export the keys before deleting them if you may want this function back someday.

Replace the Start Menu Image

Log on as Administrator, open Windows Explorer, and go to C:\Windows\Branding. Right-click the Branding folder, select the Security tab, click the Advanced button, then the Owner tab, click the Edit button, and set yourself as the Owner. Close everything with the OK buttons, then go back to the Security tab, click Edit, and add yourself with full permissions. Now it should be ready...

Using ResHacker or equivalent, open shellbrd.dll and start replacing. I don't know if it matters, but I try to replace 256 color icons with 256 color icons; replacing it with a True Color icon may have unexpected consequences...?

You can take a modified shellbrd.dll from Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit and copy it to Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit. Good thing, because ResHacker doesn't work on 64 bits.

Windows Vista classic start menu - replace the bitmap


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
(Hexadecimal or Decimal). This setting allows inactive
Pages in the Paging File to be cleared (overwritten with zeros) during shutdown.
When set to 0 (Default) inactive Pages are not written with zeros having no effect on
shutdown time and making Page File data readable.
A value of 1 enables inactive Pages to be cleared during shutdown with longer shutdown

DisablePagingExecutive. (Hexadecimal or Decimal). This setting controls how
inactive kernel-mode drivers and system code are handled by the memory subsystem.
A value of 0 (Default) specifies that inactive kernel-mode drivers and system code can be
released from RAM and paged to the Page File.
A value of 1 specifies that inactive kernel-mode drivers and system code be retained in RAM.
It's worth considering that any performance benefit to this feature will only occur when
restoring a process which had been paged out to the Page File. Recommend setting is 0, but
if RAM availability is not an issue then a value of 1 may provide improved responsiveness
when restoring applications that have been inactive for some time.

LargeSystemCache. (Hexadecimal or Decimal). This setting controls the size of the
file system cache.
When set to 0 (Default) a standard sized file system cache is allocated (Less than 10MB
RAM); this is recommended as it provides best Application performance.
When set to 1 this enables the use of a large file system cache (up to total RAM amount
minus 4MB); this option is only suitable when Windows Vista is acting as a Server not as a
gaming system or for other workstation use, as it will be detrimental to performance.
As Microsoft notes:
When you enable System cache mode on a computer that uses Unified Memory
Architecture-based video hardware or AGP, you may experience a severe and random
decrease in performance. The Drivers for these components consume a large part of the
remaining application memory when they are initialized during startup.

View Network Connections

Right-click the desktop -> New -> Text Document, rename it connections.bat and paste the following:
@color 09
@netstat -an

Lock Your Workstation

Right-click the desktop -> New -> Shortcut and paste this line into the 'Location' box:
%windir%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

DNS in Windows Vista

C:\Windows\system32>ipconfig /displaydns
C:\Windows\system32>ipconfig /flushdns

Remove the search box in IE7

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Infodelivery\Restrictions]

Windows XP Home doesn't have that key by default; go to
right-click it and select New -> Key, name it Internet Explorer (with
a space), right-click that and New -> etc.

Internet Explorer Window Title

The Internet Explorer Window Title can be found at
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Window Title]
...note the space between 'window' and 'title'

Running Without Administrator Privileges

"First is a program from Aaron Margosis called LUA BugLight. Aaron
works with Microsoft Consulting Services and wrote this program to
help you determine why a program won't run as a non-administrator.
Most of the time, a simple tweak of file or registry key permissions is all
that it takes to run a program as a non-administrator. This program,
along with hints on his blog, tells you how.

Another useful program is called CPAU from a Web site called The developer, Joe, is a Microsoft MVP who has written a
ton of useful utilities (Joeware) such as this one.
On the surface, CPAU is simply a clone of the Run As command. But
behind that is a lot of functionality. For example, for the occasional
program that cannot run under a non-administrator account, you can
use CPAU to embed an encrypted user ID and password in a file along
with a command to start up the program. Running CPAU and specifying
that file will start the program as an administrator, without the user
having to know an administrative password."


Scheduled Tasks in Windows Vista

Description of the scheduled tasks in Windows Vista

Folder Views

Editors Note: If you're one of the millions of people searching
Google for 'Windows Vista explorer replacement' this might be good
enough. I like the Details view, and Vista kept randomly changing
to Tiles, or List, or just removing all the Details except the file
I deleted the 'bags' key and added the 'not specified' type,
and now I don't have the problem of changing, random views in every
folder. Now all I need is a way to remove 'full row select'...

As for a specific folder forgetting it's view, folder views are unique based
on the namespace path to the folder -- the saved view for
'Desktop\UserName\Pictures' has no bearing on the view of
'Desktop\Computer\c:\Users\UserName\Pictures', it can remember different
view settings -- even use a diff erent template. So make sure that's not the
cause of the discrepancy that you are seeing.

To obtain some consistency, you might want to consider using 'Apply to
Folders'. 'Apply to Folders' in Vista works on a per-template basis.
defaults can be saved for 'All Items', 'Documents', 'Pictures & Video', etc.
You need to be sure of what template the current folder is using before
using 'Apply to Folders'.

This also means that the default will only be applied to folders of that

As for over-zealous content-sniffing (forcing the Pictures template on a
folder), you can kill that with the following regedit. It will override
autosense & set the template for any folder without a saved view as 'All

Copy the text between the lines below into notepad & save as a .reg file.
Watch out for line wrap -- [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\...\Shell] is all one line,
there is a space between 'Local' and 'Settings'.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\All Folders\Shell]


Merging the .reg file will set the 'All Items' template for any folders that
don't currently have a view saved with a different template. You can clear
all saved views by deleting the

"HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags"

key BEFORE merging the .reg file. If any folders open with a different
template after clearing the 'Bags' key & merging the .reg file, they most
likely have a template specified via their desktop.ini file.

Good Luck,

Microsoft MVP [Windows XP Shell/User]

The Administrator Account in Windows Vista Home

Open an elevated command prompt; enter this command and press Enter:
Net user administrator /active:yes
Disable the account and hide it at an elevated command prompt:
Net user administrator /active:no

Internet Explorer with no add-ons:

"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe -extoff" This will show webpages without running scripts, flash, java, etc.
This link in on the Start Menu under Accessories. If people would
use this link instead of the desktop link for everyday browsing,
there'd be a lot less malware on their computers.

Start -> Run

Interesting things to type in at Start -> Run ->
wf.msc = Windows Firewall with Advanced Security

Remove Splash Screen in Windows Mail

start > run = "regedit"
HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows Mail
New - DWORD (32bit) Value -> name it "NoSplash" and enter a '1' (HEX)

Windows Mail - WindowTitle
In the same location, create a New -> String Value and name it WindowTitle
double-click it and enter your new title.

Stop AutoRun

Editors Note: I'm not sure how this is different or better
than going to Control Panel -> AutoPlay, but I include it for
the sake of completeness.
Globally block autorun.inf files from executing, without trying to
use the dialog boxes in XP and Vista to do this. Here's the

Step 1. Start Notepad or another text editor.

Step 2. Copy the following text from this page and paste it into
your text editor (everything between the square brackets should be
all on one line):

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Autorun.inf]

Step 3. Save the file with a name like NoAutoRun.reg, taking care
to include the .reg extension.

Step 4. Right-click your .reg file and choose Merge. Confirm any
warning prompts to add the information to the Registry.

The next time you insert a flash drive, CD, DVD, or other removable
disc into your system, Windows will not execute the information in
any autorun.inf file that may be present.

Customize the Bubbles Screensaver:

* Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Bubbles
* Select Edit > New DWORD (32-bit) Value, and create a new DWORD called MaterialGlass. Type 1 in
the Value data field if you want glassy, transparent bubbles, or type 0 for colored bubbles.
* Create a DWORD called ShowShadows, and give it a value of 1 to display shadows below the
bubbles, and a value of 0 to have no shadow displayed.
* Create a DWORD called ShowBubbles and give it a value of 1 to show the bubbles on the desktop, and
a value of 0 to show them against a solid black background.
Changes take place immediately.

Customize the Ribbons screensaver:
* Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Ribbons
* Select Edit > New DWORD (32-bit) Value, and create a new DWORD called NumRibbons. Click Decimal, and enter
the number of ribbons you want to be displayed. The minimum number of ribbons is 1; the maximum is 256.
* Create a DWORD called RibbonWidth, click Decimal, and then type in a number to determine the width of
each ribbon. The smaller the number, the narrower the ribbon.
Changes take place immediately.

Slow Motion Windows Animations

1. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM.
2. Select Edit > New DWORD (32-bit) Value and create a new DWORD
called AnimationsShiftKey. Give it a value of 1.
3. Log off or reboot to see the change.
4. Hold the Shift key and minimize or maximize a window. The animation will be slowed
down. To make the animation go at normal speed, let go of the Shift key.

Vista Networking with Older Windows

Editors Note: I have not tried this one

Here's how to configure Vista to use LM and NTLM authentication to
allow access from 95/98/Me when password protected sharing is enabled.
I'd like to thank my fellow MVP Evan Pearce, who helped me understand
and test this:

1. Click the Start button, type "regedit" in the Start Search box, and
press Enter.

2. Click "Continue" in the User Account Control prompt.

3. Open this registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Lsa

4. If they don't already exist, create DWORD values named
LmCompatibilityLevel and NoLmHash.

5. Set LMCompatibilityLevel to 1.

6. Set NoLmHash to 0.

7. Restart the Vista computer.

8. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts, click "Change your password",
enter your current password in the boxes for "Current password", "New
password", and "Confirm new password", and click "Change password".
Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd, MS-MVP (Windows Networking)

Editor's Note:
I collected the items below when Vista was still in beta. I don't know if
any of it is relevant, accurate, safe, etc.

"Understanding and Working in Protected Mode Internet Explorer"

The new Protected Mode -- available in Windows Vista -- runs IE in an isolated
security setting, working in conjunction with most of the other, under-the-hood
architectural improvements in Windows Vista. With Protected Mode enabled, Internet
Explorer runs within a low-right environment no matter which user actually launched
the process.

Add-ins, like ActiveX controls and browser toolbars, subsequently run with low
rights as well. This helps to prevent browser-based malware from latching onto
your system through IE, which was a significant problem in previous versions of

But maybe you want to surf with all caution to the wind, since you trust yourself. Or
maybe some of the restrictions of Protected Mode, like having to open separate
windows to switch between intranet sites and Internet sites or other cross-security
zone jumps, drive you crazy. In this case, you can turn off Protected Mode by
double-clicking the lower right corner of any IE window and, on the resulting Internet Security
dialog box, unchecking the Enable Protected Mode box. You'll have
to restart IE to make the change effective.

Jesper Johanssen, former senior security strategist at Microsoft, on UAC

it's relatively easy to turn off UAC entirely. You'll need to open GPEDIT.MSC, acknowledge the
very UAC prompt you're trying to disable and then disable everything beginning
with "User Account Control" under
Computer Configuration/Windows Settings/Security Settings/Local Policies/Security Options.

you can expose the true administrator account in Windows Vista -- the one that acts like the
administrator in Windows 2000 and XP -- by following the instructions in
(note: if you have gpedit.msc, a single checkbox enables the Administrator account --ed.)
Turn off data execution prevention

Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a security feature introduced in Windows XP,
Windows Server 2003 and now in Windows Vista that looks for malicious code trying
to execute. If DEP's analysis of a process beginning execution makes DEP think
the resulting code will cause some sort of unwanted activity, DEP intervenes and
shuts the process down.

It sounds good in theory, but too often DEP shuts down legitimate programs -- particularly
third-party installers used by software developers that release their products for download
off the Web. Equally too often, DEP fails to show any sort of warning or information prompt
telling you it shut off a process, leaving you scratching your head and wondering why
your machine is ignoring you.

You might want to turn off Data Execution Prevention globally by issuing the following at
an elevated command prompt (i.e., a shell running with administrative credentials):
bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx AlwaysOff
(As you might imagine, it's almost as simple to turn it back on should you want DEP's
protection back on your side. The following command will do the trick:
bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx AlwaysOn)

(note: I don't know where I got this section, nor do I intend to try any of it...--ed.)
Change Boot Screen
Download Dan Smith's Vista Boot Logo Generator. //
Install and then run from the link in the Start Menu.
Hit Browse for image and select both the 800x600 and 1024x768 resolution bitmap files for your boot
Click on File and select Save Boot Screen File as and save your file.
Next, you will need to replace the winload.exe.mui file in c:\Windows\System32\en-us with the one you
just created. Before you copy in your new file, make a backup of the original. You will need to take
ownership of all files in en-us as well as give your account file permissions to replace the file as well in
order to copy the new winload.exe.mui file in.
The last step is to enable the alternative boot screen setting as shown in this tweak:

Tired of the pathetic boot screen in Windows Vista? There is a cool trick that will allow you to see
what may have been a new boot screen for Windows Vista.
Enable New Boot Screen:
1. Click on the start orb and type in "MSCONFIG" in the textbox.
2. Once the System Configuration tool loads, click on the Boot tab.
3. Under Boot Options check "No GUI Boot".
4. Hit OK and reboot to see the new screen


On the Vista install DVD there's a folder called Boot containing a file called bootsect.exe. Using
Command Prompt, navigate to that directory and type this command for detailed information about
how to use this tool:

bootsect /help

==================replace all fonts with Segoe from ======================
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes]
"MS Shell Dlg 2"="Segoe UI"
"MS Shell Dlg"="Segoe UI"
"Helv"="Segoe UI"
"MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24"="Segoe UI"
"MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24"="Segoe UI"
"MS Sans Serif"="Segoe UI"
"System"="Segoe UI"
"Microsoft Sans Serif"="Segoe UI"
"Tahoma"="Segoe UI"
"MS Serif"="Segoe UI"
"Times New Roman"="Segoe UI"
"Times"="Segoe UI"
"Small Fonts"="Segoe UI"
"Tms Rmn"="Segoe UI"
"Arial"="Segoe UI"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts]
"Arial (TrueType)"="segoeui.ttf"
"Arial Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuii.ttf"
"Arial Bold (TrueType)"="segoeuib.ttf"
"Arial Bold Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuiz.ttf"
"Times New Roman (TrueType)"="segoeui.ttf"
"Times New Roman Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuii.ttf"
"Times New Roman Bold (TrueType)"="segoeuib.ttf"
"Times New Roman Bold Italic (TrueType)"="segoeuiz.ttf"
"Tahoma (TrueType)"="segoeui.ttf"
"Tahoma Bold (TrueType)"="segoeuib.ttf"
"Microsoft Sans Serif (TrueType)"="segoeui.ttf"
"MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="segoeui.ttf"
"MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="segoeui.ttf"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\MuiCache]
"@themeui.dll,-2037"="{Segoe UI, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2038"="{Segoe UI, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2039"="{Segoe UI, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2040"="{Segoe UI, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2041"="{Segoe UI, 8 pt}"
"@themeui.dll,-2042"="{Segoe UI, 8 pt}"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontMapper
"Swiss"="Segoe UI"
"Roman"="Segoe UI"

Cool. Just curious, under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
why didn't you set the default to Segoe UI? (@=Segoe UI)

==================Arrrr, matey.... ======================
But dishonest PC sellers could use the procedure to install thousands of copies of Vista and sell
them to unsuspecting consumers or businesses as legitimately activated copies. This would
certainly violate the Vista EULA, but consumers might not realize this until the PCs they bought
started demanding activation  and failing  months or years later.

The following describes the Registry key that's involved.

Step 1. While running a copy of Windows Vista that hasn't yet been activated, click the Start
button, type regedit into the Search box, then press Enter to launch the Registry Editor.

Step 2. Explore down to the following Registry key:

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

Step 3. Right-click the Registry key named SkipRearm and click Edit. The default is a Dword (a
double word or 4 bytes) with a hex value of 00000000. Change this value to any positive integer,
such as 00000001, save the change, and close the Registry Editor.

Step 4. Start a command prompt with administrative rights. The fastest way to do this is to click
the Start button, enter cmd in the Search box, then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. If you're asked for a
network username and password, provide the ones that log you into your domain. You may be
asked to approve a User Account Control prompt and to provide an administrator password.

Step 5. Type one of the following two commands and press Enter:

slmgr -rearm
rundll32 slc.dll,SLReArmWindows

Either command uses Vista's built-in Software Licensing Manager (SLMGR) to push the activation
deadline out to 30 days after the command is run. Changing SkipRearm from 0 to 1 allows
SLMGR to do this an indefinite number of times. Running either command initializes the value of
SkipRearm back to 0.

Step 6. Reboot the PC to make the postponement take effect. (After you log in, if you like, you
can open a command prompt and run the command slmgr -xpr to see Vista's new expiration
date and time. I explained the slmgr command and its parameters in my Feb. 15 article.)

Step 7. To extend the activation deadline of Vista indefinitely, repeat steps 1 through 6 as

Any crooked PC seller with even the slightest technical skill could easily install a command file that
would carry out steps 1 through 6 automatically. The program could run slmgr -rearm three
times, 30 days apart, to postpone Vista's activation deadline to 120 days. It could then run skip -
rearm every 30 days, for a period of months if not years, by first resetting the SkipRearm key.

The program could be scheduled to check Vista's activation deadline during every reboot, and to
remind the user to reboot once a month if a deadline was nearing. The buyer of such a PC would
never even see an activation reminder, much less be required to go through the activation

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