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Windows 7 activation period

Does Windows 7 impose a performance penalty for not activating Windows with a Product Key?

Let's say you have a very old installation of Windows 7 that has not been activated. The number of days they give you to activate is long expired. You've already used up your free slmgr rearms. Basically, you're to the point where the software can conclude that you're just not going to buy a legitimate Windows license, yet you continue to boot the operating system.

Now, the operating system's boot and operation slows down to about 5% of the performance you experienced when you first installed. Is this a documented (or discovered) anti-feature of Windows that intentionally slows down an unactivated product? Or, is this likely some kind of hardware or driver issue?

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marked as duplicate by Dave, Kyle Jones, Canadian Luke, Renan, Karan Jan 10 '13 at 15:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
I think a great question (+1), but I'm also curious; Does the machine not shut down after 1 hour of use? –  Dave Jan 9 '13 at 15:27
    
The machine does indeed prevent you from being logged in for more than one hour; however, even during boot up and normal application startup (e.g. Notepad or IE) the whole system is EXTREMELY slow. Ask @OliverSalzburg if you need more details; I posted this question "for" him. –  allquixotic Jan 9 '13 at 15:29

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There is no imposed performance penalty for not activating any version of Windows. What may be occurring is this - Since Windows Vista, there has been a system defined task Schedule process that initiates a weekly defragmentation of the system. Since the install you are referring to may not be able to complete the defrag in the 1 hour window, you may be left with a much higher level of fragmentation. This would get worse over time as the system tries to defrag, but gets halted during the process after the 1 hour reboot limit is met.

Again, this is a "maybe". You should of course look at the event log and device manager to ensure that you don't have any issues to resolve there as well.

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