Computer Performance, Microsoft Windows 8

Windows 8 SkipRearm

Windows 8 SkipRearm

SkipRearm is a genuine technique to extend your Windows 8 activation period.  Microsoft supply the registry value, and publish TechNet articles explaining how it works.Windows 8 SkipRearm Registry

Topics for Windows 8 SkipRearm

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The Concepts Behind Windows 8 SkipRearm

Firstly, note the word 'Skip', this just postpones the need for activation.  Secondly, please realize that this is not a backdoor way of legitimising some dodgy Windows 8 product key. 

Thirdly, it helps to understand why Microsoft has kindly provided this registry setting.  The biggest beneficiaries of SkipRearm are companies who use sysprep to create hundreds of legitimate copies of Windows 8.  It may be weeks between creating the 'Master' copy of Windows 8, and installing the cloned software.  Employing SkipRearm, means that you can extend the grace period for activation.

Understanding Windows 8 SkipRearm = 0

Now here is the tricky bit, I would like to explain the relationship between the registry setting: SkipRearm, and the command line: slmgr -rearm. 

Remember that slmgr is a built-in vbscript; while SkipRearm is a registry value.

Here is the technique: prior to cloning the Windows 8 master machine, set SkipRearm to 1, the licensing state is not change.

When you are happy with this master copy of Windows 8, use Sysprep / generalize to set SkipRearm to 0.  This resets the 30-day activation timer to day 0.

At anytime run slmgr -dlv or slmgr -dli to display the current licensing and activation information, or better still, run slmgr -xpr to reveal the present expiry date.

The key point is that you get 3 chances to run slmgr -rearm.  Let us check the logic of SkipRearm = 0, meaning count one of the 3 lives, and SkipRearm = 1, meaning don't count one of those lives.  In conclusion, changing the registry key to SkipRearm = 1, means don't use up one of my three lives.

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Registry Instructions to Set SkipRearm Registry Data

  1. As a preliminary experiment, check the Windows 8 activation expiry date with the command: slmgr -xpr
  2. Launch Regedit.
  3. Navigate to this path:
    *HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SoftwareProtectionPlatform
  4. Double-click SkipRearm and change the value to 1.
  5. Now remember to run the 30 day extension command: slmgr -rearm
  6. Restart the machine.  After it reboots, run slmgr -xpr and check the expiry date.
  7. Check the registry setting SkipRearm, slmgr resets the value to zero.

Note 1: This registry hack does not make any sense on a machine which has already been activated!

Note 2: Regedit has a 'Favorites' tab, I always click and 'Add to Favorites', this saves a great deal of time in trying re-find obscure registry settings such as SkipRearm

Note 3: *HKLM means HKey_Local_Machine

Windows 8 SkipRearm Registry Setting

Windows 8 SkipRearm Registry

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Limitations of SkipRearm

Research indicates that you can only make this SkipRearm registry hack 7 times to delay Windows 8 activation.  Additionally, you can use slmgr.vbs -rearm three times, making 10 delays in all.

The knowledge that SkipRearm was designed to assist corporations with sysprep; this helps us to understand why this registry hack will work with these three versions of Windows 8: Enterprise, Professional and Ultimate.  However, I have heard rumours that it will also work with upgrade version of Windows 8 Home Premium.

See more about SkipRearm

Sample Slmgr -ipk Script

@echo off

cls
echo Activating Windows 8... Please wait...
echo.
cscript //B "%windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs" /ipk XXXXX-ABCDEF-XXXXX-123456-XXXXX
cscript //B "%windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs" /ato

echo Activation attempted.

Cheats Never Prosper

By saying, cheats never prosper, I am not seeking to take the moral high ground; it's more that I want to pass on advice learned from the hard school of knocks.  Here are the results from previous attempts to beat Microsoft's licensing agreement, none had a happy ending.

  • NT 3.51: Install an evaluation copy, then apply a service pack to remove the 120 day restriction. (Urban Myth)
  • NT Workstation: Change two registry keys and turn a Workstation into NT Server. (Would you risk a company server on a registry hack, just to save $300?)
  • Windows Server 2000: Attempt the setupreg.hiv hack to bypass activation. (Plain did not work)
  • The Windows 8 Activation hack SkipRearm fails after 7 attempts.  Also, it probably does not work on Home editions.

Summary of Windows 8 SkipRearm

The SkipRearm registry setting is designed to help large companies, who roll-out Windows with sysprep, or deploy other cloning software.  While its true that you could use this as cumbersome method of extending the life of any computer before activation times-out, SkipRearm is not a backdoor method of making a dodgy product key legitimate.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Windows 8 Event Viewer  • Win 8 Security Event Log  • Log Event Manager

Win 8 Task Manager  • Close Windows 8 Apps  • Windows 8 SkipRearm   • Windows 8 File History

Windows 8 App Store  • Windows 8 Safely Remove Hardware  • Windows 8 Shutdown Command

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