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This article describes the metering behavior of computers that are running Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition for Prepaid Computers or Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition for Subscription Computers. This article applies to computers that use "hardware enforcement." Computers that use hardware enforcement have a hardware component that enforces the time limits on prepaid time or on subscription time.
In this article, computers that are running Windows XP Home Edition for Prepaid Computers are known as "prepaid computers." Computers that are running Windows XP Home Edition for Subscription Computers are known as "subscription computers."
Initial time balance
Both prepaid computers and subscription computers have an initial time balance for computer use. The initial time balance is the time that is available to use the computer before activation. If you do not activate the computer before the initial time balance runs out, the computer enters Limited Access Mode. The initial time balance is set by the solution provider. By default, the initial time balance is ten hours. However, the initial time balance can be extended.
Prepaid and subscription computers use the following three metering modes:
Normal Mode This mode applies to computers that are activated and that have a positive time balance. Prepaid computers and subscription computers start metering after Windows starts and after the desktop appears.
Limited Access Mode This mode starts when the initial time balance runs out. The Upper Provisioning Module sends instructions to Limited Access Mode to start metering when the logon screen or the unlock screen is displayed. Limited Access Mode stops metering when the logoff screen or the hardware lock screen is displayed. In this mode, prepaid computers are metered based on hourly time increments. Subscription computers are metered based on monthly subscription confirmations. Limited Access Mode lasts for five hours, and then the computer enters Hardware Locked Mode. When the computer runs in Limited Access Mode, the screen uses high-contrast and low-resolution display settings.
Hardware Locked Mode This mode prevents you from accessing the operating system. When the computer is turned on, you see a screen that contains a support telephone number, the computer ID, and a Challenge string. You cannot use the computer until you contact customer support to unlock the computer.
If the operating system has been compromised or overwritten, Limited Access Mode will start to automatically meter (autometer) ten minutes after you start the computer. For more information about other instances in which autometering may occur, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
938348 Description of the autometering feature on computers that are running Windows XP Home Edition for Prepaid Computers or Windows XP Home Edition for Subscription Computers