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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?

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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

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 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 Microsoft.com.

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

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actually, it's called 'Reduced Functionality Mode': support.microsoft.com/kb/925582 –  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

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