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Reduced Functionality Mode in Windows Vista
http://www.vistaarticles.com/articles/193/1/Reduced-Functionality-Mode-in-Windows-Vista
By 
Published on 12/9/2006
 
Windows Vista may enter reduced functionality mode if one of the following conditions is true.

Reduced Functionality Mode in Windows Vista

Windows Vista may enter reduced functionality mode if one of the following conditions is true:

You do not activate Windows Vista within the specified activation period.
You modify the computer hardware so that Windows Vista determines that it is running on a different computer. Also, you do not activate Windows Vista within the grace period for reactivation. For retail Windows Vista products or for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Windows Vista products, this reactivation grace period is three days. For volume licensed Windows Vista products, this reactivation grace period is 30 days.

Note This situation is known as "out of tolerance."
You are running a version of Windows Vista that the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) service detects as a "non-genuine" version of Windows Vista.

MORE INFORMATION
Windows Vista has the following types of reduced functionality mode:

Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode
Non-genuine 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 OEM copy of Windows Vista

You do not activate Windows Vista within three days after you change the computer motherboard to a non-OEM motherboard.
 
  On a corporate or enterprise version of Windows Vista that uses the Key Manager Service (KMS)

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)

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. 
 

Activities that are available
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.
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. 

Activities that are unavailable
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
Windows Vista enters non-genuine reduced functionality mode if one of the following conditions is true:

The WGA program detects a blocked product key or a counterfeit product key.
The WGA program detects incorrect activation binary files or modified activation binary files.
Windows Vista is in out-of-grace reduced functionality mode.

Activities that are available
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.

Activities that are unavailable
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.