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In its TechNet documents, Microsoft recommends the repeated use of SkipRearm. How many times is “multiple times”? My testing revealed that the answer is, well, indefinite.
• On a copy of Vista Ultimate that Microsoft released in New York City on Jan. 29, I found that changing SkipRearm from 0 to 1 allowed the command slmgr -rearm to postpone Vista’s activation deadline eight separate times. After that, changing the 0 to 1 had no effect, preventing slmgr -rearm from moving the deadline. The use of slmgr -rearm 3 times, plus using SkipRearm 8 times would eliminate Vista’s activation nag screens for about one year (12 periods of 30 days).
• On a copy of the upgrade version of Vista Home Premium that I bought in a retail store on Jan. 30, slmgr -rearm also worked 3 times and SkipRearm worked 8 times before losing their effect. This combination would, as with Vista Ultimate, permit a one-year use of Vista without nag screens appearing.
• On a copy of the full version of Vista Home Premium that I bought in a retail store on Mar. 14, SkipRearm had no effect on extending the use of slmgr -rearm at all. This suggests that Microsoft has slipstreamed a new version into stores, eliminating the SkipRearm feature in Vista Home. That could mean that changing the key from 0 to 1 will now work only in the business editions of Vista — Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate — so corporations can use the loophole.