Updating a driver can cause Windows Vista deactivation

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 24 2007 @ 17:23 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
A reporter from APCMag found out that something as simple as swapping a video card or updating drivers can trigger a deactivation of Windows Vista. When this happens your operating system will enter reduced functionality mode and to activate it again you'll need to reapply to Microsoft to get a new activation code.
Just over a month ago I swapped over the graphics card on my Vista Ultimate box. There were some new DirectX 10-based titles out and I couldn’t get the benefit on my old DirectX 9 card. The swap-over went well and I went on my merry gaming way.

Then a few days ago I got a Windows Activation prompt – I had three days to activate Windows or I’d be bumped back to RFM (Reduced Functionality Mode). What the? My copy of Vista was activated, and a graphics card change shouldn’t have triggered deactivation... surely!

I was able to reactivate easily enough, although as the product key was already in use (by me!) I couldn’t reactivate automatically, but had to speak to a Microsoft customer service representative.
On their own, swapping a video card or updating a driver isn't a problem but cumulatively they can cause Windows Vista deactivation.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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