Rearming Windows Vista

Introduction

At work we have a Core 2 demo running Windows Vista. This demo is not connected to the network because we don't want people coming in and changing the background image to display something obscene or pornographic. There is a neat little trick that I found one day while trying to figure out how I could reset the time until the user had to activate Windows Vista.

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Multibooting with Vista

With every new operating system comes headaches as we find that our favorite programs or hardware no longer works with it. If you're like me, you're probably being forced into using Windows because everyone else does. Then again, if I had Linux installed on my box along side Vista, I'd feel a bit dirty and I'd be using a real boot loader like GRUB. In Vista Microsoft did away with the ntldr.exe and boot.ini files and replaced it with a new program. Startup Process After the system gives control to the Master Boot Record, Vista then takes charge of the system and starts itself: 1. The MBR reads the boot sector of the active partition and executes the Bootmgr.exe program. 2. The Boot Manager reads the configuration file and gives the user the choices it that's contained in that file. 3. Once a choice is selected one of the following is done:

  • When starting any edition of Vista, the %SystemRoot%\System32\Winload.exe is executed.
  • When resuming Vista from Hibernation the boot manager program executes Winresume.exe which will restore the system to the way it was before it went into hibernation.
  • When choosing an earlier version of Windows, the boot manager will locate the ntldr and you'll have to go through another boot loader.

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