What does Windows Vista reduced functionality mode look like?

What does Windows Vista reduced functionality mode look like?

Summary: What does Windows Vista reduced functionality mode look like? Let me tell you now, it ain't pretty!

TOPICS: Windows

UPDATE: I've now added a gallery showing how to restore functionality if you run into trouble. 

Over the past few days a project that I've been working on has mean that I needed to experience for myself Windows Vista's reduced functionality mode so I could see what it looked and felt like.  This, combined with posts by Dwight Silverman on TechBlog and Ed Bott on the Microsoft Report prompted me to quickly throw together a gallery showing you exactly what users who don't activate or who are caught (legitimately or not) in Microsoft's WGA net will see.

Windows Vista reduced functionality mode

I'll tell you now, it ain't pretty.  If you know your way around Windows Vista (like Dwight, Ed and I do) then it isn't the end of the world, but if you're an average home or small office user then you could be well and truly stuck.  I can see a lot of legitimate users who have been hit by a WGA or activation glitch handing over more cash to Microsoft to make the problem go away.

[poll id=99]


But there's more.  You can recover from the reduced functionality mode by "rearming" Vista.  This gallery here shows you how. 

Restoring Windows Vista functionality

Yes, this is the extend grace period hack.

Topic: Windows

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  • I've had activation

    issues in XP, and MS has never asked for more money. Not even when it became pretty obvious the copy I was working on was in no way legit(I love it when people fail to mention things like that).
    I think your average user might get mad at the inconvenience, but I seriously doubt MS's first response is go to be 'pay up'.
  • or you can

    leave this crap for ever and buy a mac
    • That really needed saying ...

      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Sniping

        Was there anything factually incorrect in his comment? For a consumer, it's an excellent suggestion.

        The whole attitude of you and your ilk on this site has been: Product activation sucks, but, hey, we're OK with that.
        • How does ...

          ... switching to Mac help people stuck in WGA hell?
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
          • That's easy Ed!

            Macintosh doesn't have a WGA nightmare for the customer to worry about! ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Is there a WGA hell?

            One of the last Mac's I bought (before giving up the faith) was a Quadra. After unpacking it, the damn thing wouldn't start. Nothing.
            I called Apple, they fixed it. Not easily, not nicely, but they fixed it. Is that Apple hell?
            My experiences with WGA problems have been helpful people at MS. Have you heard differently? Are they offering no support? Can't you just get help and get it fixed?

            I understand that problems are a bummer, but if the company that produced the product is willing to take care of the problem, I'd hardly call that hell.
          • Bad Answer. Correction, worst possible answer.

            I use Windows, I always have and there is a reasonable chance I always will uless the things I find most important in an OS suddenly find their way into Linux or OSX. On the otherhand if any business produces a product with what amounts to a built in kill switch that triggers when you do something the company in question may not like, that is unacceptable where the kill switch is not there due to reasons of public saftey, or the kill switch operates with flawless perfection.

            Saying after the fact that the manufacturer will work hard to have you fixed up in a jiffy is not only not good enough its just about the worst excuse for condoning such a thing there can be. If you put an automated kill switch in any product for reasons of corporate self interests, and that kill switch is not perfectly flawless its as good as the company saying, "we dont care if a bunch of our customers have to go through a hassle, and some may suffer longer, and a few may end up being caught in a serious difficulty, we are ready to accept that if this kill switch might help our profit margin in some way. We have counted the BEANS and this plan appears to work in OUR favor". That is not acceptable.
        • Apple will charge you, Microsoft doesnt,

          Apple will charge you for every single upgard ($129)
          MS gives Windows updates for free for as long as the product is supported. If you bought a PC with Windows XP in 2001, you would get all the updates for free till 2013.
          • Man what a load!

            First off you are comparing UPGRADES to UPDATES! I know they are similar in spelling but they mean very different things.

            No company charges for security updates! Not Macintiosh and not Microsoft. BUT they BOTH charge for upgrades. You are so full of it, it's leaking out your ears! ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Semantics

            Upgrade, update. Who cares. The point is that microsoft service packs are usually funtional equivalents to apple upgrades. (10.1 to 10.2, etc.) service packs are free, apple updates are not. XP to vista is such a large change that it translates more to a 10.x to 11.x change rather than a 10.2 to 10.3 change. If apple gave free upgrades between decimals then we wouldn't even be talking about this. If the difference between 10,2 to 10,3 (just an example, don't nit-pik) is really so great then why not move to a new number, i.e 11.0? As long as apple charges for moving up a decimal place this argument (right or wrong) will continue.
          • 2013?

            what makes you think they're going to be providing any support for win xp beyond 2008 or 2009? anyone see any new updates for win 98 recently? and yes, there are a lot of win 98 machines still out there... and if you want support, you have to pay.
            the way they're pushing vista, practically forcing it down people's throats (try buying a new PC/Laptop with Win XP- all they're offering is vista), don't be too surprised if they stop support for XP over the next two years...it'll just give people another reason to upgrade to vista
    • Even better, much better...

      Just stick with XP instead of wasting your money on a cookie cutter, expensive Apple that wont run the software or games you already have. Nothing against Apple computers, if your considering your first computer sure, go ahead and consider if purchasing an Apple is the best choice for your needs. On the otherhand XP runs so well it certainly isnt worth the trouble to switch to Vista if there is any more stringent WGA methods used then XP. Enough is enough.
  • A LOT of Finger Pointing

    ALOT of Finger Pointing:

    Who is going to take the blame when errantly a host running Vista decides it isn't WGA-compliant especially in a patient care or mission-critical setting?

    There's going to be A LOT of 'finger pointing' going on.
    D T Schmitz
    • Someone would have to be nuts ...

      ... to roll Vista out in a patient care or mission-critical setting.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Now yes... 6 months to a Year, No

        Vista is here like it or not. Eventually all desktops will be replaced for newer. I don't see many people running Windows 98 any more, and even less running Windows 95.
        • 6 months to a Year, questionable at best

          With certifications at issue--you won't see enterprise migration happening that quickly--sorry nucrash
          D T Schmitz
          • take gander at pc retailers

            practically all they're offering now is vista
            the win xp machines are mostly the older stock and demo models.
            if you want a new high spec box, chances are you'll see they only offer vista- no xp, no linux. Dell, HP, just about any make.
            so if you want xp, you either settle for an older box or get a custom pc , or yeah, you can spend more and buy a new boxed win xp and install over your vista(which you've paid for anyway if you've bought a branded machine)
      • Surely Mike Cox would......

        Or maybe even Jet Blue?

        Anyway, IIRC that medical incident supposedly occurred when WGA & SPP etc were first rolled out as a critical update, and I thought it was on XP but it could have been Vista/longhorn?
        • I thought he rolled out Windows Vienna

          Atleast he was working on that. He was running Windows Vista at the production level since Beta 2