Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) Restrictions & Behavior in Windows Vista

»»»Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) Restrictions & Behavior in Windows Vista
Windows Vista has enhanced anti-piracy features Software Protection Platform (SPP) that intends to reduce the number of counterfeit Windows Vista DVDs on the black market and household. One pillar of SPP is Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM), which will make your Windows Vista an ugly edition with all the nice user interface features turn off, and basically useless with very limited features available.

Microsoft has published an Knowledge Base article that details how you can get into RFM, the types of reduced functionality mode, and what will happen or what features and functions that are available or unavailable when your Windows Vista system enters RFM.

Windows Vista has the following types of reduced functionality mode, which Vista will be placed into if one of the conditions is met or true:

  • Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode

    You do not activate Windows Vista within the specified activation grace period, which is normally 30 days. See below for details

  • Non-genuine reduced functionality mode

    You are running a version of Windows Vista that the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation service detects as a “non-genuine” or pirated version of Windows Vista. The violation may be the blocked product key. See below for details.

  • Out-of-tolerance reduced functionality mode

    After you have successfully activate Windows Vista, you modify the computer hardware so that Windows Vista determines that it is running on a different computer, on the hardware thresholds that are similar than the limit used in Windows XP. In this case, RFM will kick in if you do not activate Windows Vista within the grace period for reactivation. For retail Windows Vista products or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Windows Vista products, this reactivation grace period is three days. For volume licensed Windows Vista products, this reactivation grace period is 30 days. See below for details.

Further details on out-of-grace reduced functionality mode (or out-of-tolerance RFM)

Windows Vista enters out-of-grace or out-of-tolerance reduced functionality mode if one of the following conditions is true:

  1. On a retail copy of Windows Vista
    • You do not or failure to activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you install Windows Vista.
    • You do not reactivate Windows Vista or failure to renew activation within three days after you replace a major hardware component in the computer.
  2. On an OEM copy of Windows Vista
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within three days after you change the computer motherboard to a non-OEM motherboard.
  3. On a corporate or enterprise version of Windows Vista that uses the Key Manager Service (KMS)
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you install Windows Vista.
    • You do not renew the Windows Vista activation within 210 days of an earlier Windows Vista activation.
    • Failure to renew activation or you do not activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you replace the hard disk drive of the computer.
  4. On a corporate or enterprise version of Windows Vista that uses a Multiple Activation Key (MAK)
    • You do not activate Windows Vista within 30 days after you install Windows Vista.
    • You do not reactivate Windows Vista within 30 days after you replace a major hardware component in the computer.

Activities that are available in out-of-grace RFM

If Windows Vista is running in out-of-grace reduced functionality mode, you can only perform the following actions:

  1. Activate Windows Vista product key online by using Internet Explorer 7 web browser.
  2. Apparently you can surf the Internet with the web browser too by browsing away from the Microsoft licensing page. With Internet access availability, email client and instant messenger (IM) can be used too.
  3. Remotely script Windows Vista by using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to run scripts on the computer from a remote location.
  4. Change the Windows Vista product key.
  5. You can log on to Windows Vista for one hour to obtain a new product key or to access data on the local computer.
  6. You can remotely access a shared network location.
  7. If you are already logged on to Windows Vista, you can remain logged on. Windows Vista does not log you off the computer. However, if you logoff and logon again, you can only stay logged on for a maximum of 1 hour.
  8. You can start the computer to safe mode in Windows Vista to access local data. Windows Vista does not log you off the computer.
  9. Microsoft claims that most features are available if you log on for the 1 hour RFM usage period. However, this is obviously not true, unless you can manage to restore access to desktop.

Activities that are unavailable in out-of-grace RFM

If Windows Vista is running in out-of-grace reduced functionality mode, you cannot perform the following actions:

  1. Cannot play built-in games that are included with Windows Vista in reduced functionality mode.
  2. Unable to use Windows Vista premium features such as Aero Glass, ReadyBoost, and BitLocker in reduced functionality mode.
  3. Unable to log on for more than one hour. In reduced functionality mode, you can only remain logged on to Windows Vista for one hour.

In short summary, for out-of-grace RFM, there is no start menu, no desktop icons, and the desktop background is changed to black. The Web browser will fully function and Internet connectivity will not be blocked. After one hour, the system will log the user out without warning. It will not shut down the machine, and the user can log back in.

More details on non-genuine reduced functionality mode

Windows Vista enters non-genuine reduced functionality mode if one of the following conditions is true:

  • The WGA program detects a blocked product key or a counterfeit, leaked, stolen or prohibited product key.
  • The WGA program detects incorrect activation binary files or modified activation binary files, or activation process has been determined to have been tampered with or worked around, or other tampering of license files is detected.
  • Windows Vista is in out-of-grace reduced functionality mode.

Activities that are available in non-genuine reduced functionality mode

If Windows Vista is running in non-genuine reduced functionality mode, you can perform the following actions:

  1. You can use most of the features that are available in Windows Vista.
  2. You can activate the Windows Vista product key.
  3. You can change the Windows Vista product key.
  4. Log on without a time constraint to perform certain activities. You can log on to Windows Vista without a one-hour restriction to obtain a new product key or to access local data.

Activities that are unavailable in non-genuine reduced functionality mode

If Windows Vista is running in non-genuine reduced functionality mode, you cannot perform the following actions:

  1. Cannot use certain Windows Vista features such as Aero Glass and the Windows ReadyBoost features that are included with Windows Vista in reduced functionality mode.
  2. Obtain some premium content from Microsoft Download center is unavailable in reduced functionality mode.

Reduced Functionality Mode is applicable to almost all editions of Windows Vista, including Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit edition, Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit edition, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition, Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition and Windows Vista Business 64-bit EN.

By |2016-12-09T08:40:34+00:00December 9th, 2016|Categories: Windows|Tags: , |1 Comment

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LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.Connect with LK through Tech Journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.