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Vista: Activation and the SLMGR Command (options explained)

This is a quickie recipe explaining exactly what the slmgr command and options do. This is very useful for a corporate or home business or power user. Lets take a look!

Everyone by now knows about Vista and its updated activation scheme. Basically, each Vista install CD/DVD can be ran w/o a key as a trial version. After the 30 day trial expires, Vista will enter RFM mode (reduced function mode) and eventually will start disabling OS components/features.

Most corporate environments will most likely want to have a more centralized way to handle activation (vs going to each pc, activating each one) since corp builds of the OS will not allow installs without having to activate. Lets dig into the SLMGR command and see what things we can learn about Vista and its activation.

1. Hold down the Win Key + R to bring up the Run box. Type CMD to get up our ever classic command prompt.

(if you are not an admin, you will need to run the command prompt as admin by going to Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories, then right click on Command Prompt and go to Run As. Choose an admin account and password and run.

2. you can run the slmgr command like this: slmgr [machinename [user pass]] [option]
you can find info/activate both locally and on a remote pc (ie slmgr vista2 administrator password -dli)

by default, if you do not specify a machinename and user pass you will check the current pc your running command prompt on. we will only concentrate on the local pc and not use a machinename or account

if you get an error, ‘slmgr’ is not a recognized as an internal or external command….. , you may have to change to the system32 folder. use these commmands:
type: cd\
type: cd windows\system32

your prompt should change to C:\windows\system32>

slmgr command and options:

slmgr -dli (this will display the current activation/licensing info of the pc your on)

slmgr -ipk xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx (allows you to replace the current product key with the specified)

slmgr -xpr (shows expiration date of current license)

slmgr -upk (uninstalls current product key and i would assume puts license back to trial state)

slmgr -ato (activates current pc’s license)

slmgr -skms activationservername
slmgr -skms port
slmgr -skms activationservername:port (sets KMS server used for activation and/or port, ie slmgr -skms or slmgr -skms KMSServer:8090)

slmgr -rearm (resets the licensing status of the machine)

slmgr -ckms (clears the name of KMS server used to default and port to default)

So you could basically create batch files for a corp/network environment and then have each copy use the Corp key information to install the product key, change the activation/kms name in Vista to the centralized one, and then activate the copy of Vista back to the registered KMS server.

Hopefully you now can have more control and info on your Vista’s license status and activation.

Jimmy S
Jimmy S
Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.


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