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RFM Reduced Functionality Mode 0xC004F009

Updated on August 7, 2012

Just what is RFM

What could go wrong on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, sitting and relaxing at home, checking email and facebook?  Try this: “Your activation period has expired” For those who are not familiar, this is a Windows message, apparently against piracy. As researched, it is one anti-piracy solution that Microsoft has come up and is included on Vista.

When this message appears, it is highly possible that Windows will enter RFM mode (Reduced Functionality Mode). This mode limits the activities and usage of Windows. It also appears that there are two types of RFM mode. These are Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode and Non-genuine reduced functionality mode.

0xC004F009 error code

Further research showed that on a retail copy of Windows Vista, Out-of-grace reduced functionality mode will occur when Windows Vista is not activated within 30 days after installation or if it is not reactivated within three days after replacing a major hardware component on the computer.

As for Non-genuine reduced functionality mode, this will occur if:

  • The WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) program identifies a blocked or counterfeit product key.
  • The WGA program spots incorrect or modified binary files activation.

0xC004F009: What can I use and what are disabled?

When any of the two modes are activated, the following activities are halted or limited:

  • Built-in games
  • Premium features (Aero Glass, ReadyBoost, and BitLocker)
  • Unable to obtain some content from Microsoft

On the other hand, the following options are still available when running in RFM mode:

  • Activate Windows Vista
  • Remotely script Windows Vista through Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to run scripts on the computer from a remote location.
  • Change the product key
  • Run Windows Vista in safe mode

Solution for last

Now that we have seen the possible causes, and what activities are off and on during RFM mode, here are some steps to get out of reduced functionality mode:

  • Enter the product key which is located on the Windows CD sleeve / case. If Windows was preinstalled, the product key usually appears on a sticker on the case of the computer.
  • Using the automated telephone system for Vista activation.
  • Contact Microsoft if there are significant hardware changes on the computer.


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