It is also being used inside Microsoft, where there is a single KMS service and one backup that activate all the machines on its network. "Its an invisible process for end users, and its a very lightweight service of 200 bytes that go back and forth between KMS and the client and we could do about 25,000 activations in an hour if we had to," he said. There is just one more release to come before Windows Vista goes gold. Click here to read more.But, some six months after RTM, Microsoft will have KMS support on Windows Server 2003. Those who are affected by this will have to get a waiver from their IT organization, use MAK activation or even OEM activated machines, he said. "That has been the roughest thing we have gone through, and we just couldnt get that worked on in time," he said. Microsoft is also making a comprehensive deployment guide for all this available online Oct. 4, Hartje said, adding that this guide will help volume-license customers use the right key distribution methodology upfront. "It only takes a few minutes to set up the key management services in an environment and is very straightforward. We give lots of examples on how to do this as well as scripts to tell end users how to do it," she said. "We have covered all the parameters that the IT professional will need. After this is in place, the end customer wont have to do anything. It will be transparent." Customers in a retail or volume environment will have to activate their product within 30 days, during which time the product will be fully functional, albeit with repeated reminders to activate. Failing that, the product moves to reduced functionality mode, but the key can be entered at any time and the product would then revert to regular mode. It will also be validated every time software updates are required and, if the software is found not to be genuine at a later date, genuine add-ons like the Aero user interface, Windows Defender and
ReadyBoost, which expands virtual memory, will no longer work, and the user will again be put in a 30-day activation notice to become genuine again, she said.
Gartner has said Vista will run on just about any PC available today, but it will only show its true colors on about half of them. Click here to read more.
"At the end of 30 days, the machine will move into reduced functionality mode for validation, and users will only get an hour of reduced experience Internet access before being logged off. They will then have to log on again before getting another hour of Internet access," she said.
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There have been no reported issues with the activation process itself, which has been thoroughly tested, Lindeman said, but one issue is that many enterprise customers cannot run client-based or beta software in their data center. When Vista ships at RTM, all that will be available is KMS support on the Windows client and the Longhorn server beta.