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Outlier
Silver

I've installed & activated Office 2007 Standard on 3-4 computers in a short time period. Office Standard is supposed to be for 1 user. Is there really a limit?

Last year I bought the Office 2007 Upgrade at Staples and on the back of the box there's a chart summary of the different versions.  It says that only the Student Edition can be used on up to 3 computers.  I got the Standard Edition and it doesn't say anything about how many computers you can install this edition on.  This most likely appears to mean that it can only be installed on 1 computer.  I talked to Microsoft customer support and the lady said that my edition can be installed on 2 computers (but the box doesn't actually say this).  However, I have installed and activated this on 3-4 computers now.  I would have expected that activation would have been denied after the 1st but they were all activated on 3 different computers.  For the 4th computer it was one of the earlier 3 computers but with a different hard drive and DVD-ROM drive (so I'm not sure if that would really count as a 4th different computer but you get my point).  I'd like to note that I'm not trying to take advantage and share the software with the world.  The 1st install & activation was less than one year ago on my Compaq computer.  That computer broke down so I got rid of it.  So the 2nd install & activation was with my new HP that I bought 3 months ago.  Because of a hardware problem with that pc (yes, after only 3 months) I decided to give that computer to my brother-in-law (he didn't need the broken hardware components).  Then I bought this Dell which I received last week.  So the 3rd install & activation occurred last week on this computer.  When I gave the HP pc to my brother-in-law last week, I gave it to him with a completely new hard drive and DVD-ROM drive and then installed & activated the software for the 4th time.  At any one of these times I was expecting Office 2007 to say something like "activation denied" but that never happened.  The software was installed & activated every time. 

So I don't really understand how they are keeping track of this.  If you buy Office 2007 and then decide to buy a new computer, how are they keeping track of this?  Are you not allowed to use the software you bought if you buy a new computer?  What if the older computer crashes and so you need to buy another computer?  On the Microsoft website it says that the software identifies your hardware in some way so if you try re-installing and activating it on another computer, it will be able to tell (and thus, deny the activation I assume).  But this has not happened with my Office 2007 and by the way in the past I was also able to install & activate a purchased version of Office XP Home on several of my computers as well.  By the way, this is the reason why I always buy the Office or Windows Upgrade CD at a retail store.  I'd never buy Office if it came pre-installed on the computer as a trial (like they do with HP).  It's good to have the actual CD's physically in case you need to re-install (or as you can see here, if you get a new computer).

The way it works for iPod and purchased songs on iTunes is that you are allowed 3 "Activations" on 3 different devices.  If you buy a new computer, you have to manually "De-activate" the old computer from iTunes so the old computer no longer recognizes purchased songs.  If you don't do this you wasted an "Activation" and you only have 2 left.  I would have assumed that Microsoft would have a similar process whereby if you uninstall the Office software, it would automatically send a code that this software can be activated again.  But this doesn't appear to be happening.  It appears you don't have to uninstall Office on your old computer and you can still install & activate it on your new computer.

Is there a maximum number of times Microsoft allows you to activate their software?  Even the Microsoft rep didn't appear to know much about this.  Maybe they are saying this on paper but are not being too strict about it.  Is it possible that Microsoft will really give a user several activations and only deny it if they see a significant number of activations in a short period of time?  Has anyone else ever activated Microsoft software on different computers when it says you can only do it for one?  Has anyone ever received an "activation denied" message before?  Does anyone know the true answer?

Message Edited by Outlier on 02-09-2008 03:00 AM
Message Edited by Outlier on 02-09-2008 03:16 PM
Message Edited by Outlier on 02-09-2008 03:41 PM
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18 Replies
fireberd
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Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

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Outlier
Silver

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

In that post it reads: "You may reassign a license, but not on a short-term basis (i.e., not within 90 days of the last assignment). If you reassign a license, the device to which you reassign the license becomes the new licensed device for that license." 

 

In that case, what happens to the old device?  Does Office 2007 simply stop working in the old device?  I don't think so. When I installed the Office 2007 on the 3rd computer, it still remained on the 2nd computer - it did not automatically uninstall or de-activate.  Also, the 3rd computer was installed with Office 2007 within 90 days of installing it with the 2nd computer.  There was no problem in activation.  And keep in mind that this software had also been activated less than 1 year ago with the very 1st computer, which eventually broke down.  Now just last week when I gave the 2nd computer to my brother-in-law, I re-installed Office 2007 into it but with a different hard drive (this may or may not constitute a different computer).   So that's basically a 4th successful installation & activation for software that I thought would be only activated for 1 (or 2 at the most) users.   And this 4th activation occurrred only days after the 3rd activation.

 

I think that Microsoft puts up rules and limits for how many computers the software may be installed into, but I have to think that they are not being absolutely strict about it.  They probably monitor it and only stop it if they see a significant number of activations for the same software (although I can't be sure of that either).  It could be something Microsoft keeps internally but doesn't tell the public.  But again I can't be sure.  I have read other forums where people have bought Office 2007 and installed it on several computers but the box would not mention anything about this (like my box).  One person even had a problem with activation, but then after talking to a rep over the phone and explaining the situation, he was able to get it activated over the phone.  So something tells me that they are not being strict about this (or appearing not to be strict).  I wish someone knew and had a concrete answer...

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abach
Platinum

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

If a traffic light is red, and there is nobody (inclusing police) around, what do you do?

 

It's the same with software. You may not get caught, but it's up to the owner, if he knows the rule, to make the decision about breaking the rule.

 

If one CD of Office could be installed on an unlimited number of PC's, Microsoft (or any other software developer) would only have to sell one CD and let that one customer make copies and distribute them to everyone. Doesn't make much sense to me, though.

 

 

Allan Bach

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Outlier
Silver

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

Allan I thought about that but then why would Microsoft go ahead and spend the money and resources to set up the Activation feature in the first place?  Surely it can't be just a "fake camera".  I mean, they could have just left it as is with the previous versions (no activation required and only a product key required).  The website even specifies that the Office software (starting with Office XP) can identify components of your hardware and would be able to tell if it's installed in a different computer. 

 

That "honor system" that you were talking about I think they did use for versions before Office XP.  They basically trusted that people wouldn't share their product keys.  They probably realized that this did not work.  So it's unlikely that the activation is merely another form of honor system.  I've actually read in other forums cases where activation has been denied (no reason was mentioned though) so it can't be just an honor system.  There is something inherently there that would deny the activation if certain conditions are met.  I guess the real question is, what exactly are those conditions that will deny activation?  Is it something set in stone?  Or is it a grey area which the Microsoft support people look over and monitor to see if one software is getting activated too many times? 

 

I still think Microsoft is being lenient on activations to counter the original bad press about it which claimed that activation would interfere with the setup and cause problems with the software.  So they are probably not being strict to what they have on paper.  Anyone else have any other theories? 

Message Edited by Outlier on 02-09-2008 03:45 PM
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abach
Platinum

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

I would guess that you're using a non-OEM (edited original incorrect typing -an OEM) version of Office. It will take time, but the multiple installations will be discovered.

 

I run a consulting business that serves over 150 clients. The first and foremost rule I follow is - don't cheat. I don't cheat my clients with wrong answers to questions. I don't cheat my clients with promises I cannot keep. And I don't cheat on my taxes. But, that's me. I can only answer for myself, though, and will continue to tell the truth to anyone who asks about licensing.

 

Leniency? Grey area? Bad press? I think not.

 

(My 2 cents)

Message Edited by abach on 02-10-2008 08:02 AM

Allan Bach

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Outlier
Silver

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

I'm not using an OEM version of Office.  I bought this at Staples, the retail version (yes I legally paid for it).  Please read all of the thread so you don't miss things like this.  

 

I kind of wanted this thread to remain more on a technical basis, less so than a preachy way to compensate for someone's unknown past.  In my case and to set the record straight, I am not cheating.  I legally own and paid for this software.  The software is currently being used on 2 of my computers.  I phoned Microsoft Customer Support and they said this can be used on 2 computers.  My point is that it was installed in my original computer less than one year ago which crashed and thus cannot use Office any more on that.  I then bought another HP and installed it there, then on my Dell.  It was re-installed on the same HP but with a different hard drive.  So that's still 2 of my computers that Office is installed on but nevertheless it was "activated" on more than 2 (you should refer to the entire thread to get the context).  I am not copying this and giving it to thousands of other people, which is the real intention of what Microsoft is trying to prevent.   

 

You say it will take time to be discovered, but my legally purchased version of Office XP (retail) was installed on different computers and it hasn't been discovered for over 6 years!  

 

Leniency and grey area are legitimate considerations because other forum threads mention that after an internet activation failure, all it took was talking and explaining to a Microsoft support rep and they activated the software over the phone. 

 

If you decide to respond please keep in mind to read the previous posts for context.  Even your own previous posts in the other thread indicate that Microsoft would allow you to change devices after 90 days, did you get to read that part?  I think not (so perhaps this is why my Office XP multiple activations were possible - and not your ominous theory that it was cheating and will be discovered).  Anyway I know and agree with all your philosophies (I actually went out and bought it whereas many people don't.  In the past, I've bought Office XP retail, Office 2007 retail, Windows XP retail, and Windows Vista retail.  So I am for the idea of actually purchasing the software and not sharing it.  I have no need or desire to activate this on any more computers.  I am just curious from a technical standpoint why this is happening and just in case in the future one of my computers crashes.  So you should be saving your breath for another thread topic.  The point of this thread was to get more technical feedback about the multiple activations. 

Message Edited by Outlier on 02-09-2008 04:49 PM
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Philip_Yip
Diamond

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

Hmmm if it helps I installed my microsoft office product on multiple computers.

 

I installed it in an inspiron 1501 dual boot aka 1 activation on xp and 1 on vista. I had problems with my graphics, so was recommended to reformat the hard disc by dell support so I did although it made no difference, once again the software was activated twice also reformatted just before they told me and that was twice. I also put it on my girlfriends laptop two times as I upgraded the hard drive. My 1501 froze between a BIOs update and so became useless so I got a 6400 I have the old hard drive from my 1501 with xp reformatted and vista on the new one. Again office is installed on the both of them. Also when putting in my xp disc I forgot to format the hard disc for dell media direct so I had to reformat after installing office. The last 3 activations required phone spport but I am pretty sure you could just keep on phoning as a new code is generated every time (I think).

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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Outlier
Silver

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

Natakuc4, I knew I wasn't alone with this.  Which office product do you have?  And what edition is it? 

 

On the Microsoft website it says Office will basically take a "snapshot" of your hardware configuration so that it will supposedly know if you're trying to install it in another computer (another argument against the naive "honor system" theory).  But the website also says you're allowed to install and activate it as many times as you want if it's the same computer.  So that could explain why you could install it several times in your 1501.  Exactly how they "imprint" the hardware configuration is a good question and probably something they're keeping secret.  If someone changes the hard drive, will it still recognize that as the same computer?  From both our experiences, changing the hard drive didn't make a difference so it must be something else.

 

As for your gf's laptop, I was told verbally over the phone from Microsoft support that you could install Office on 1 more computer, unless you have the Student Edition which can be installed on 2 more computers (although I wouldn't be surprised if another rep said something else).  So this is why you could probably install it there as well. 

 

But when you installed it on your new 6400, this is where the question arises.  Since there had been previous activations on 2 different computers, activation should have stopped for a 3rd computer (assuming you don't have the Student Edition).  This is what happened to me as well after my Compaq crashed.  Office 2007 Standard was installed on that crashed Compaq.  So I then had to install it on my new HP which would have been the 2nd activation.  After that one had a problem I bought this new Dell and was worried that the Office 2007 wouldn't activate.  However, it did (activation #3).  It also activated a 4th time when I re-installed it on the HP but with a different hard drive.  And note that the last 3 activations occurred within 90 days and every time was activated through the internet.  I actually tried the option of phone activation just so that I could speak with someone and ask them about this. 

 

After looking at this more closely I actually think I still may be within the bounds of permitted activation.  Although my last 3 activations occurred within 90 days, they were still done among only 2 computers (if the hard drive change doesn't count as a computer change).  However, this doesn't stop the fact that the Office 2007 on my crashed Compaq would still probably be working (like the Office on your 1501).  I think the true test would be if I tried to install & activate it on yet a 4th different computer.  I don't have another computer though and I don't want to share the software with anyone else either.  I'm also afraid to try it, in case there actually is a set number of activations per product key.  I wouldn't want to use them all up.

 

Anyway, when you said your last 3 activations required phone support, does that mean that it was denied when you tried to activate online?  Why did you require phone support? 

 

I think this thread has implications for anyone who buys the retail CD of Office at a store.  You might have more installations & activations than you think...

Message Edited by Outlier on 02-09-2008 07:14 PM
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Philip_Yip
Diamond

Re: I've installed & activated Office 2007

It was office ultimate (student version from the ultimate steal) however I alsom did have an office 2007 professional edition installed on 4 computers.

Inspiron 1300 (My old one, mum now using), Inspiron 1501 (My girlfriends), Inspiron 1501 (Mine - Broken), Inspiron 6400 (My sisters)

When trying to install on my new Inspiron 6400 was when I had problems, neither office ultimate or professional would activate. Note uninstalled off both 1501's since purchasing ultimate for students.

I had to go to phone activation, followed an automated serviceoffice generated a number and I typed it in the phone and they gave me another number to type back.

Note I done this both for xp professional oem and office 2007. I had to do it twice within a few hours apart, as I decided to install dell media direct last and it needed to format the hard drive. So wasn't to happy but wanted the computer fully functional. The xp technically shouldn't of been transferred to a new computer because was oem however I had only bought it a few months ago I wasn't wanting to pay for it again. Phone / offline activation worked twice. Also I had an xp professional upgrade disc installed on several computers that was meant to be only for one to see what would happen, it eventually stopped activating but I recogn you could get a few more activations off phone support, however all the computers now have thier own operating system.

But if you use phone activation, and it generates the same code all the time then you need to save the code and type it every time and if it generates a different code everytime, how do they know its the same disc used?

Maple 11 is alot harder to activate then microsoft products it has a host id and a license file that need to match, also if I try putting it on another computer it seems that both mine and the other computer stop running maple but I am not entirely sure might of just been coincidence as I have it on 2 hard drives for the same machine, but obviously notne running at the same time.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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