Vista Product Activation
By Stephen Bucaro
Product activation in Windows Vista is similar to Windows XP, except that you
don't need to provide the product license key during installation. Vista uses
Microsoft's "Windows Genuine Advantage" (WGA) alternately referred to as
"Windows Genuine Disadvantage" technology to monitor for licensing violations.
You can install a specific copy of Vista only on one computer at a time. If your
OEM computer came with Vista pre-installed, you cannot move Vista to another
computer. You can reinstall and reactivate the same copy on the same computer as
many times as you like.
If you install Vista on a new computer, you have a two-week grace period before
Activation. It's best to install all the hardware you'll want first before you
activate Vista. You can uninstall Vista from one non-OEM computer and move it
to another computer as many times as you like.
If WGA detects a licensing problem, Vista enters "reduced functionality mode".
Reduced functionality mode doesn't affect your data, but it will not let you run
many of your applications without first entering the product license key. To
permit product activation, your Web browser and email will still work in reduced
Vista will run for only one hour in reduced functionality mode, then it
automatically logs you off. You can log back on to work for another hour as many
times as you like. You can boot to Safe Mode and work with any programs that
work in Safe Mode for as long as you want.
If, after Product activation, WGA detects a licensing problem, possibly because
of a new hardware installation, it generates annoying popups informing you that
it judges your copy of Windows to be pirated. It allows you a three-day grace
period to fix the problem before entering reduced functionality mode.
How to move Vista from one computer to another computer
Microsoft doesn't want you to move Vista from one computer to another
computer because then you would have two computers running activated
Vista when you paid for only one CD. To move Vista activation, you
have to go through the aggravation of calling Microsoft on the telephone.
Microsoft cares little about how much aggravation they put Windows users
through, as long as they can continue the unmitigated price gouging of
a government condoned monopoly.
If you really want to move Vista, after installing Vista on the new computer,
run Windows Activation Wizard Start | Computer | Properties | Windows Activation.
When the activation screen comes up, click on "Telephone Activation". The toll-free
phone number for Microsoft's Activation Customer Service will appear.