Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have had Windows 7 Ultimate installed for about two weeks, with a couple more weeks left to activate.

If you ignore the warnings, eventually you get a watermark on your desktop:

enter image description here

Then, after another few days, the desktop background will turn solid black:

enter image description here

What happens after the trial period has ended without activation?

share|improve this question
If you don’t activate Windows 7 within 30 days after installation, it turns into Windows Vista. :) – Molly7244 Feb 15 '10 at 1:53
LOL but i know what you mean. For everybody else, molly implies sarcastically that it's useless once trial period has ended, pretty much like vista, which is useless as well. – SoftwareGeek Feb 15 '10 at 2:07
up vote 13 down vote accepted

After the activation grace period, you enter limited functionality mode. This typically means:

  1. 20 Second wait when starting Windows, with a screen saying activate now.
  2. Solid Black desktop wallpaper
  3. Nag screens popping up at random
  4. Notification popup at random
  5. You will still be able to do most Windows update, but anything through "Windows Genuine Advantage" will fail, this includes certain programs (e.g. Microsoft Security Essentials) and features such as many downloads from

Also, you can run slmgr -rearm (From the command prompt) a few times in order to extend the deadline by 30 days.

share|improve this answer
actually, it's called 'Reduced Functionality Mode': – Molly7244 Feb 15 '10 at 22:44
hmm, it applies only to Windows Vista as per the article. – SoftwareGeek Feb 16 '10 at 1:01
Note that grace period (few days) and trial period (30 days) are two different things. I hear it also shuts down every hour after the trial period. – jiggunjer Jan 14 at 5:03

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.