How to Use Slmgr to Change, Remove, or Extend Your Windows License

Windows activation is designed to be as foolproof as possible, so Microsoft’s graphical tools keep it simple. If you want to do something more advanced like remove a product key, force an online activation, or extend the activation timer, you’ll need Slmgr.vbs.

This command line tool is included with Windows, and provides options unavailable in the standard activation interface provided on the Update & Security > Activation screen in the Settings app.

First: Open an Administrator Command Prompt Window

To use this tool, you’ll want to launch a Command Prompt with Administrator access. To do so on Windows 8 or 10, either right-click the Start button or press Windows+X. Click the “Command Prompt (Admin)” option in the menu that appears. On Windows 7, search the Start menu for “Command Prompt,” right-click it, and select “Run as Administrator.”

View Activation, License, and Expiration Date Information

To display very basic license and activation information about the current system, run the following command. This command tells you the edition of Windows, part of the product key so you can identify it, and whether the system is activated.

slmgr.vbs /dli

To display more detailed license information–including the activation ID, installation ID, and other details–run the following command:

slmgr.vbs /dlv

View the License Expiration Date

To display the expiration date of the current license, run the following command. This is only useful for Windows system activated from an organization’s KMS server, as retail licenses and multiple activation keys result in a perpetual license that won’t expire. If you haven’t provided a product key at all, it’ll give you an error message.

slmgr.vbs /xpr

Uninstall the Product Key

You can remove the product key from your current Windows system with Slmgr. After you run the below command and restart your computer, the Windows system won’t have a product key and will be in an unactivated, unlicensed state.

If you installed Windows from a retail license and would like to use that license on another computer, this allows you to remove the license. It could also be useful if you’re giving that computer away to someone else. However, most Windows licenses are tied to the computer they came with–unless you purchased a boxed copy.

To remove uninstall the current product key, run the following command and then restart your computer:

slmgr.vbs /upk

Windows also stores the product key in the registry, as it’s sometimes necessary for the key to be in the registry when setting up the computer. If you’ve uninstalled the product key, you should run the below command to ensure it’s removed from the registry as well. This will ensure people who use the computer in the future can’t grab the product key.

Running this command alone won’t uninstall your product key. It’ll remove it from the registry so programs can’t access it from there, but your Windows system will remain licensed unless you run the above command to actually uninstall the product key. This option is really designed to prevent the key from being stolen by malware, if malware running on the current system gains access to the registry.

slmgr.vbs /cpky

Set or Change the Product Key

You can use slmgr.vbs to enter a new product key. If the Windows system already has a product key, using the below command will silently replace the old product key with the one you provide.

Run the following command to replace the product key, replacing #####-#####-#####-#####-##### with the product key. The command will check the product key you enter to ensure it’s valid before using it. Microsoft advises you restart the computer after running this command.

You can also change your product key from the Activation screen in the Settings app, but this command lets you do it from the command line.

slmgr.vbs /ipk #####-#####-#####-#####-#####

Activate Windows Online

To force Windows to attempt an online activation, run the following command. If you’re using a retail edition of Windows, this will force Windows to attempt online activation with Microsoft’s servers. If the system is set up to use a KMS activation server, it will instead attempt activation with the KMS server on the local network. This command can be useful if Windows didn’t activate due to a connection or server problem and you want to force it to retry.

slmgr.vbs /ato

Activate Windows Offline

Slmgr also allows you to perform an offline activation. To get an installation ID for offline activation, run the following command:

slmgr.vbs /dti

You’ll now need to get a a confirmation ID you can use to activate the system over the phone. Call the Microsoft Product Activation Center, provide the installation ID you received above, and you’ll be given an activation ID if everything checks out. This allows you to activate Windows systems without Internet connections.

To enter the confirmation ID you’ve received for offline activation, run the following command. Replace “ACTIVATIONID” with the activation ID you’ve received.

slmgr.vbs /atp ACTIVATIONID

Once you’re done, you can use the slmgr.vbs /dli or slmgr.vbs /dlv commands to confirm you’re activated.

This can generally be done from the Activation screen in the Settings app if your PC isn’t activated–you don’t have to use the command if you’d rather use the graphical interface.

Extend the Activation Timer

Some Windows systems provide a limited time where you can use them as free trials before entering a product key. For example, Windows 7 offers a 30-day trial period before it begins complaining at you. To extend this trial period and reset it back to 30 days remaining, you can use the following command.As Microsoft’s documentation puts it, this command “resets the activation timers.”

This command can only be used several times, so you can’t indefinitely extend the trial. The number of time it can be used depends on the “rearm count,” which you can view using theslmgr.vbs /dlv command. It seems different on different versions of Windows–it was three times on Windows 7, and it seems to be five times on Windows Server 2008 R2.

This no longer seems to work on Windows 10, which is very lenient if you don’t provide it a product key anyway. This option still works on older versions of Windows and may continue to work on other editions of Windows, such as Windows Server, in the future.

slmgr.vbs /rearm

Slmgr.vbs Can Perform Actions on Remote Computers, Too

Slmgr normally performs the actions you specify on the current computer. However, you can also remotely administer computers on your network if you have access to them. For example, the first command below applies to the current computer, while the second one will be run on a remote computer. You’ll just need the computer’s name, username, and password.

slmgr.vbs /option
slmgr.vbs computername username password /option

The Slmgr.vbs command has other options, which are useful for dealing with KMS activation and token-based activation. Consult Microsoft’s Slmgr.vbs documentation for more details.


4 alternatives to Ghost for disk cloning

System administration professionals and home users alike share a need for the ability to be able to quickly and reliably make one-to-one copies of entire disks, both for the purposes of backup and recovery, as well as the process of easing deployments and complete refresh repairs and upgrades of existing systems.

To do so, a disk cloning utility is a must, to make sure that you’ve got an exact, and uncorrupted, copy of your original disk. For many years, Norton Ghost (now a Symantec product) was a favorite tool among administrators and technicians seeking to clone a disk. But the market these days has widened, and many open source tools offer comparable and even superior performance.

Let’s take a look at four such open source tools, each with a slightly different focus, that make disk cloning an easy task.


Clonezilla is an open source disk imaging and cloning tool built in two different editions, one for single machines and another designed to do dozens of computers at one time. It supports a wide variety of file systems, including most of the popular file systems for Linux, Windows, and MacOS. Parts of Clonezilla are essentially just wrappers around some of the other tools below, but this makes it an easier-to-use tool for those new to disk imaging. The single-machine version of the program is essentially a Linux live CD that puts a simple menu structure around common cloning and imaging tasks.

Clonezilla is written primarily in Perl, and the source code can be found on the project’s homepage under a GPL version 2 license.


A more basic tool is dd, which has existed as a Unix and later a Linux command line tool for decades, which essentially performs raw writing from one location to another, and can be configured with a variety of options. If you’re running a Linux machine, or a similar BSD system, chances are you already have dd installed: it is a part of the GNU coreutils.

You may have used dd before to create a live USB installer for your favorite Linux distribution, or to copy an operating system to an SD card for use on a Raspberry Pi. While little more than a simple terminal command, its simplicity means you can include dd in scripts to perform backups and restores in a more automated way, according to your exact needs.

You can find the source code to dd on the GNU FTP site, which is licensed under the GPL version 3.


The FOG Project provides a web-based tool for disk cloning, aimed at tying together a variety of open source tools to make it easy to provide image solutions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. It used PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment) booting to download a small Linux client and perform the imaging remotely, making it much easier to maintain a large batch of computers than by shuffling around manual disks.

We’ve covered FOG before in considerable detail, so if you’re interested in learning more about how to use FOG, check out this tutorial.

According to the FOG user guide, FOG is licensed under the GPL, and it’s PHP source code can be downloaded from SourceForge.


Partimage is a Linux-based tool, commonly packaged for a live rescue CD, which supports a variety of partition types and has a relatively easy-to-use menu structure. It’s a little bit less intuitive than Clonezilla, but it may work better for you in certain situations.

Partimage is licensed under the GPL version 2 and its C++ source code can be found on SourceForge.

These certainly aren’t the only free and open source disk cloning tools out there. Wikipedia lists over a dozen others with an open source license, and there are certainly more than that out there hidden away across the Internet. Do you have a favorite tool for disk cloning, either one listed here or one we should have included? Let us know in the comments below.


Top 6 Free & Open Source Inventory Management Software for Small Businesses

Where your company stands on inventory management tells a lot about your success or, potentially, the lack thereof. If you manage a business, one of the most important tasks is tracking inventory. Without the ability to manage that inventory, your business could fail. You must know where the inventory comes from, how much you have, where it goes, and how you profit from its sale
The management of your inventory should be tied directly to the flow of business, from the ground up. Luckily, plenty of software are available that can help with this process. Some of them are even free and/or open source. Let’s take a look at five tools that can help you to track and control your inventory to make your business more effective, efficient, and easily managed.

1) Odoo
Odoo is a suite of open source business apps that help you growing your business. Over two million people use Odoo to grow their sales, run their operations, organize marketing activities,boost productivity and empower their human resources. Features:

  • Clean and fast 
  • Basic Operations
  • Advanced Routing
  • Productivity
  • Replenishments
  • Traceability
  • Products
  • Costing
  • Reporting
  • Integrations

2) OCS Inventory NG OCSOCS Inventory NG seeks to inventory hardware and software more powerful computers. Today, our solution goes further. It includes a broadcasting system evolved applications, interfaces with third party applications, search the hardware on the network.Features:

  • Inventory Information
  • Advanced broadcasting System
  • Web Administration Interface
  • Support for multiple operating systems
  • Third architecture
  • Web Service
  • Plugin support
  • Research Network
  • Synchronization with GLPI

3) Tracmor tracmorTracmor is the commercial open source solution that makes it easy to centralize and track your assets online. From its simple web-based interface to its intuitive workflow, Tracmor will help you drive down costs while maintaining an accurate record of your assets. Features:

  • Simple, intuitive AJAX user interface
  • Fine grained role-based permissions system
  • Supports bar code scanner input
  • Unlimited custom fields for greater flexibility (Video Tutorial)
  • Customizable interface – show and hide columns with a mouse click
  • Secure access through SSL encryption
  • Data securely hosted by Amazon Web Services™
  • Backups via real-time database replication and nightly snapshots
  • Free automatic upgrades
  • Open source (GPL) license

4) Opentaps OpentapsOpentaps Open Source ERP + CRM is a fully integrated application suite that brings together top-tier open source projects to help you manage your business more effectively. Today, opentaps supports ecommerce, Customer Relationship Management, Warehouse and Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management, and Financial Management to Business Intelligence and mobility integration out-of-the-box. Features:

  • Customers and Sales:
    • Sell more effectively by tracking your leads to accounts sales conversion process
    • Manage orders more efficiently with opportunities, quotes, and sales orders entry
    • Improve customer service with customer case tracking tools
    • Market to your customers with campaigns and contact lists.  Send email updates or print mailing labels.
    • Better understand your customers with opentaps Analytics
    • Sell online with the built-in online store from Apache OFBiz or integrate with the award-winning Magento eCommerce platform for a rich online shopping experience
    • Sell more by integrating with new sales channels such as, eBay, and Google Base
    • Give your sales team incentives to sell more with the commission management system
    • Empower your ERP and CRM system with Asterisk Voice Over IP (VOIP) telephony integration
    • Work together more effectively by connecting your Microsoft Outlook and mobile phone devices to opentaps with Funambol
  • Inventory, Manufacturing, and Purchasing
    • Manage inventory better with inventory thresholds and inventory transfers between all your warehouses and distribution facilities
    • Plan and automate purchasing and manufacturing with Material Resources Planning
    • Manage the manufacturing process with bills of materials, production runs, marketing packages, and reverse assemblies
    • Ship more efficiently with picklists, packing stations, and integration with UPS, FedEx, and DHL
    • Track serialized, non-serialized, and lot level inventory and trace inventory usages
    • Standardize your product and pricing information with the product catalog manager
  • Financials and Reporting
    • Integrated Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable help you stay up-to-date with your customers and suppliers
    • Real-time accounting reports help you stay on top your business
    • Track profitability and control expenses across business segments with accounting tags

5) Open-Audit opmantekOpen-AudIT is the world’s leading FREE open source network discovery, inventory and audit program. Open-AudIT intelligently scans an organization’s network and stores the configurations of the discovered devices. A powerful reporting framework enables information such as software licensing, configuration changes, non-authorized devices, capacity utilization and hardware warranty status (amongst others). Features:

  • Network Discovery
  • Device Audit
  • Software Audit
  • Configuration changes
  • HW warranty status
  • Multivendor Status
  • Mobile Device Support
  • Device port auditing
  • Dashboard
  • Scheduled Reporting
  • Reporting Over Time
  • Advanced Report Filtering
  • Exclusive Reports
  • Location Mapping
  • Scheduled Discovery
  • Bulk Upload of Discovery Schedule
  • Product Support
  • Development Support

6) Deskera deskraDeskera Inventory provides 360 Degree View of the Inventory Function allowing Finance and Operations to have a complete view of product information, stock levels, and operations so that products and stocks can be effectively managed. Deskera Inventory provides purchasing, receiving, stock management functionality, along with full recipe and product costing capabilities. It has a Procurement Module of its own, and it can also interface with existing Purchasing Module of a Retail Store. Features:

  • Inventory overview
  • Item Master Management
  • Stock Management
  • Cycle Count Management
  • Stock-out Management
  • Checklist Management
  • Inventory Reports

Other choices? The proper management of inventory flow can not only take your business to a higher level of efficiency, it can also ensure fewer accounting mistakes and less loss in both inventory and profit. Give one of these free and/or open source solutions a try or choose from the list of best inventory management software for SMEs. I’m fairly confident one of them will do the trick. Do you have a favorite free inventory tool that didn’t make this list? Share your recommendations.