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Setting Up Windows Vista
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How do you remove Windows Vista from a dual-boot installation and restore the Windows XP boot loader Enter the following command at a command prompt: <d>:\Boot\Bootsect.exe NT52 All You can now delete all system files from the volume containing the Windows Vista installation you no longer plan to use. For even more effective removal, use the Disk Management console in Windows XP to reformat the drive and start fresh.
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Windows Vista includes a group of antipiracy and antitampering features that Microsoft collectively refers to as the Software Protection Platform (SPP). The basic requirements are similar to those used with Windows XP, with a few extra twists. The technological mechanisms in SPP are, in essence, enforcement mechanisms for the Windows Vista license agreement, which you agree to during the process of installing the operating system. We re not lawyers, so we won t presume to interpret this license agreement. We do recommend that you read the license agreement, which contains considerably less legalese than its predecessors. In this section, we explain how the technological mechanisms in SPP affect your use of Windows Vista.
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Entering a Product Key
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Whether you perform a clean installation or upgrade an existing Windows installation, you ll see the following dialog box early in the setup process.
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As with previous Windows versions, the product key is a 25-character alphanumeric value that uniquely identifies your licensed copy of Windows. But there are two noteworthy differences between this step and the equivalent process used in Windows XP:
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Activating and Validating Windows Vista
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Installing and Configuring Windows Vista
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Your product key identifies your edition of Windows Vista. The Windows Vista DVD you purchase from a retail outlet contains four editions of Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate. The product key unlocks the edition you purchased. When you enter a valid product key in this box and click Next, Setup installs the edition that matches that key. You don t have to enter a product key to install Windows Vista. If you leave the Product Key box blank and click Next, the Setup program asks you if you want to enter a product key. Click No, and you re greeted with the dialog box shown in Figure 2-7.
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Figure 2-7 If you leae the Product Key box blank, Setup allows you to install any edition of Windows Vista and use it for up to 30 days.
You can select any edition of Windows Vista in this list, finish Setup, and use the installed copy of Windows Vista without restriction for 30 days. Before the end of that 30-day grace period, you must enter a valid product key and activate your copy, as described in the next section. If you fail to complete these steps, your copy of Windows shifts into reduced functionality mode, as described later in this section.
Activating a Retail Copy of Windows
Just as with Windows XP, you must activate your installation of a retail copy of Windows Vista within 30 days, either by connecting to a Microsoft activation server over the internet, or by making a toll-free call to an interactive telephone activation system.
Actiating and Validating Windows Vista
The activation mechanism is designed to enforce license restrictions by preventing the most common form of software piracy: casual copying. Typically, a Windows Vista license entitles you to install the operating system software on a single computer. If you use the same product key to install Windows Vista on a second (or third or fourth) system, you ll be unable to activate the software automatically. On the Setup screen where you enter your product key, the Automatically Activate Windows When I m Online box is selected by default. If you leave this option selected, Windows will contact the activation servers three days after installation and complete the activation process for you. At any time, you can check your system s activation status by looking at the Windows Activation section at the bottom of the System dialog box. (Click Start, right-click Computer, and click Properties.) This dialog box displays the number of days left in the grace period and includes links where you can manually activate or change your product key. If the 30-day grace period expires and you have not successfully activated, you ll see the dialog box shown in Figure 2-8. Click Activate Windows Online Now to begin the internet activation process. If you left the Product Key box blank when installing Windows Vista, you ll be prompted to enter a valid product key before you can complete activation.
Figure 2-8 If you fail to actiate Windows Vista within 30 days after installation, you re greeted with this dialog box, which must be dealt with before you can continue using Windows.
Under most circumstances, activation over the internet takes no more than a few seconds. If you need to use the telephone, the process takes longer, because you have to enter a 50-digit identification key (either by using the phone s dial pad or by speaking to a customer service representative) and then input the 42-digit confirmation ID supplied in response, as shown in Figure 2-9.
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