It is a well-known fact, that it is possible to extend the initial grace period for activating your (hopefully legitimate!) copy of Windows from 30 days to 120 days by using
slmgr. This is a tool that is intended to allow the preparation of image-based installers for enterprise use by allowing to reset the initial grace period up to 3 times.
If you tend to forget the number of times you already reset the counter, you can easily check for yourself: simply run
to get detailed licensing information, including the number of remaining re-arms and remaining grace time.
If you want to know when exactly your grace period runs out, use
Note: This simply gives you more time, it won’t prevent you from having to buy and/or activate Windows. Re-arming is not a bug, it works as intended and is an important tool for use in corporate environments.
For some unknown reason, Microsoft decided that only the “Ultimate” version of Windows Vista ships with the telnet client installed by default. It can, however, be easily installed on all the other versions as well.
- Open the Control Panel
- Select “Programs”
- Select “Turn Windows features on or off”
- Scroll through the list, select “Telnet client”
- Press OK
- Wait (for surprisingly long)
That’s it, voila, the telnet client is now installed on your Windows Vista Non-Ultimate.
If you disable the automatic installer detection of User Account Control (UAC), for instance because it interferes with your every-day operations (like in my “Git and Windows Vista” article), you will notice that the Mozilla updaters don’t work as expected. Automatic updates will fail. This is due to the fact that the updater will not be automatically elevated any longer.
As the easiest workaround, you should perform the following steps:
- Once you get notified about the update and you are asked if you want to install it, say “No”.
- Close the Mozilla application in question.
- Search for the application in your “Start” menu.
- Right-click the entry and choose “Run as Administrator…”
- Choose “Check for Updates…” in the “Help” menu
- Confirm you want to install the update and walk through the update process.
The installation will now work. For security reasons you should close the application once installation is finished, because it will still be running with elevated privileges. Now start the application again normally.
The same principle works for any application that is not Vista-aware and fails on automatic update. For security reasons make sure you keep the time you run with elevated privileges as short as possible.
I recently started using Git, the version control system now used for developing the Linux Kernel. While there is no native support for Windows at the moment, you can install it using cygwin. While this works reasonably well in Windows XP, I got into severe troubles when trying the same in Windows Vista.
First, I ran into troubles installing cygwin. I figured out, that it seems to work well if you run both the installer and bash in “Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode”. I needed to adjust the file system permissions of the cygwin folder to give me write permissions, though. (Note: you have to manually install the TK-libs if you want the GUI elements of git to work.)
But Git kept failing with “access denied” messages when trying to commit from command line. The failure message said it was denied access to
git-update-index. I soon found out this is due to the “User Account Control” (UAC) default behavior of auto-detecting installers and prompting if you want to execute them with raised privileges. You can see if this is the case by running
git-update-index manually from bash; if you get the UAC confirmation dialog you have this problem. It seems the substring “update” triggers this behavior. As the
git-update-index is launched by
git commit, it won’t display the confirmation dialog of Vista, so the execution will be denied.
There are two possible workarounds:
bash with administrative privileges (not recommended!)
- Disable the auto-detection of installers by UAC.
I used the latter way. You can disable the auto-detection by following these instructions. Brief summary:
- Open the Local Security Policies
- Disable “User Account Control: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation”
- Reboot (the security policy will not be updated before!)
It should work now. You can confirm this by running
git-update-index manually again. If you do not get the UAC confirmation dialog now, it worked. Try
git commit now, and verify it is working. Of course, you will from now on have to right-click and “Run as Administrator” every installer you want to install, as most installers will require administrative privileges.
Update 2007-08-22: Reader EGarcia posted an interesting comment below: using the Microsoft Manifest Tool you can add an according manifest to the git-update-index.exe and git-update-ref.exe
Update 2009-02-12: Reader Kevin Broadey points out the best solution so far: create a seperate .manifest file for the affected files. He has provided an example for git-update.exe.manifest.
According to this Microsoft page and this Golem-Article (German), Microsoft is going to make driver signatures from Microsoft mandatory for any driver running in kernel space in Windows Vista x64. They claim security reason for this.While (faulty) drivers definitely can lead to serious (security) problems under Windows, they sometimes fulfill cruitial parts, especially in windows file system monitoring, for which there are many legitimate reasons. Having to go through the WHQL for every driver (and every minor patch) seems a little costly and time consuming to me…
Well, after all, for me it seems to be three things:
- Additional money through additional drivers going through WHQL,
- Anti Open-Source projects,
- Building up the infrastructure for an (almost unbreakable) Digital Rights Management system.
Update 2007-01-23: I have to revise most points of this, as I now learned something new about it. Vista x64 will accept digitally signed drivers, but they do not necessarily be signed by Microsoft. Read more in my updated article.