Article ID: 925582 - View products that this article applies to.
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Introduction

This article discusses the behavior of reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista. This article talks about the two kinds of reduced functionality mode, its causes, and which activities are available to you when your computer is in this state.

Important This article does not provide steps to troubleshoot an issue when your computer is in reduced functionality mode. For more information about how to exit reduced functionality mode, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
925616 Error message when you start Windows Vista: "Your activation period has expired"


This content is designed for a beginning to intermediate computer user.

Kinds of reduced functionality mode

Windows Vista has the following kinds of reduced functionality mode:
  • Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode
  • Non-genuine reduced functionality mode

What causes reduced functionality mode

This section discusses what can cause the two kinds of reduced functionality mode.

Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode

Windows Vista enters out-of-grace reduced functionality mode if one of the following conditions is true:
    On a retail copy of Windows Vista
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you install Windows Vista.
    • You do not reactivate Windows Vista within three days after you replace a major hardware component in the computer.

    On an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) copy of Windows Vista
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within three days after you change the OEM motherboard, or the originally manufactured motherboard, to a non-OEM motherboard.

  • On a corporate or enterprise version of Windows Vista that uses the Key Management Service (KMS)

    Note KMS allows you to activate the computer against a service that you host in your environment so that you don't have to connect to Microsoft servers.
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you install Windows Vista.
    • You do not renew the Windows Vista activation within 210 days of an earlier Windows Vista activation.
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you replace the hard disk drive of the computer.
  • On a corporate or enterprise version of Windows Vista that uses a Multiple Activation Key (MAK)

    Note MAK allows you to activate multiple computers by connecting to Microsoft servers over the Internet or by telephone.
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you install Windows Vista.
    • You do not reactivate Windows Vista within 30 days after you replace a major hardware component in the computer.

Non-genuine reduced functionality mode

Windows Vista enters non-genuine reduced functionality mode if one of the following conditions is true:
  • The Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program detects a blocked product key or a counterfeit product key.

    Note The WGA program is a Microsoft service that detects whether you have an authentic version of Vista. A product key is a unique software-based key that is used to identify a product as an original.

  • The WGA program detects incorrect activation binary files or modified activation binary files.

    Note A binary file is a computer file that contains encoded data for storage and processing purposes.

  • Windows Vista is in out-of-grace reduced functionality mode.

Activities that are not available in reduced functionality mode

This section discusses activities that are not available for the two kinds of reduced functionality mode.

Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode

If Windows Vista is running in out-of-grace reduced functionality mode, you cannot perform the following actions:
  • Play built-in games

    The games that are included with Windows Vista are unavailable in reduced functionality mode.
  • Use premium features

    Windows Vista premium features such as Aero Glass, ReadyBoost, and BitLocker are unavailable in reduced functionality mode.
  • Log on for more than one hour

    In reduced functionality mode, you can only remain logged on to Windows Vista for one hour.

Non-genuine reduced functionality mode

If Windows Vista is running in non-genuine reduced functionality mode, you cannot perform the following actions:
  • Use certain Windows Vista features

    Aero Glass and the Windows ReadyBoost features that are included with Windows Vista are unavailable in reduced functionality mode.
  • Obtain some content from Microsoft

    Premium content from the Microsoft Download center is unavailable in reduced functionality mode.

Activities that are available in reduced functionality mode

This section discusses activities that are available for the two kinds of reduced functionality mode.

Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode

If Windows Vista is running in out-of-grace reduced functionality mode, you can perform the following actions:
  • Activate Windows Vista

    You can activate the Windows Vista product key.
  • Remotely script Windows Vista

    You can use Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to run scripts on the computer from a remote location.

    Note WMI is the infrastructure for management data and operations on Windows-based operating systems.

  • Change the product key

    You can change the Windows Vista product key.
  • Log on for one hour
    • You can log on to Windows Vista for one hour to obtain a new product key or to access data on the local computer.
    • You can use most of the features that are available in Windows Vista.
    • You can activate the Windows Vista product key.
    • You can remotely access a shared network location.

  • Remain logged on

    If you are already logged on to Windows Vista, you can remain logged on. Windows Vista does not log you off the computer.
  • Run Windows Vista in safe mode

    You can start the computer to safe mode in Windows Vista to access local data. Windows Vista does not log you off the computer.

Non-genuine reduced functionality mode

If Windows Vista is running in non-genuine reduced functionality mode, you can perform the following actions:
  • Use Windows Vista features

    You can use most of the features that are available in Windows Vista.
  • Activate Windows Vista

    You can activate the Windows Vista product key.
  • Change the product key

    You can change the Windows Vista product key.
  • Log on without a time constraint to perform certain activities

    You can log on to Windows Vista without a one-hour restriction to obtain a new product key or to access local data.

Similar problems and solutions

For more information about Windows Vista activation in reduced functionality mode, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
947874 How to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 when the Windows Vista activation period has expired

Properties

Article ID: 925582 - Last Review: June 9, 2008 - Revision: 2.2
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage
Keywords: 
kbresolve kbsetup kbexpertisebeginner kbhowto kbinfo KB925582

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