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ajmcqueen asked on

Office 2013 Problems

I have had a recurring problem with Microsoft over many years. I can't decide whether they are one of the most stupid or arrogant companies going. I suspect it's a bit of both.

One of my clients has a number of DELL PCs with Office 2013 pre-installed. You don't get any software media, just a license key as the software is already on the disk.

That's fine until the disk dies and you have to reinstall Office. Now this should be easy - download the software and enter the license key - wrong! Can't do it for Office Home and Business. Or if you can it's not obvious or easy. You can buy another copy of course or have a trial for a different version....

So how does my client get his Office back?

As it happens I had to buy a copy of Office 2013 for one of their other PCs and saved a link which automatically downloads and installs the software. Unfortunately, this works but doesn't give you the option to enter a different license key so now it won't active - for goodness sake! Who thinks up this c**p!?!!

Why do they make it so difficult for clients who have genuinely bought the software?

Any ideas?


Microsoft OfficeDell

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8/22/2022 - Mon

You are getting caught in OEM licensing, I think.

If you want to use the key that came with the machine, you need the DELL recovery DVD's for that machine. These will work.

I got Office 2013 on my Lenovo ThinkPad but it was not licensed. I purchased an Office 365 license for it, and then I can really easily download the product as I need to.

So either way, if you genuinely purchased the software, you can get it back, either by the first method or the second one.

Because of this, I NEVER (NEVER) purchase licensed software with my computers. I get it later. It is the manufacturers who make it a hassle because they believe their machines cannot fail.

... Thinkpads_User

You are right about the OEM software but really Microsoft should know this is going to happen and make it easy for their customers.
Alas there is no recovery DVD with DELLs these days - simply a Windows installation disk - not even the drivers are supplied any more. There may have been a recover partition but if there was, it went west with the disk!

So, at the moment I do not have an option for fixing the "trial" installation that I have currently installed (and even that was only possible because I "borrowed" the installation link from an online purchase, which then gave me a trial copy with no option to enter a new license key - duh!).
With Windows they have twigged that sometimes you need to re-enter the license key - be it the same or different to the original. For office, that doesn't seem to be the case - or at least I can't find it.

So, what was the second option you referred to? If it is Office 365 then that doesn't apply because the client has an Office 2013 OEM code but no media and no method of changing the license code for a link from an online purchase. This isn't rocket science. Microsoft just need to put themselves in their client's shoes and see the problems that can arise, as they inevitably will.

Office 365 is the subscription model. It can work with Office 2013 and Office 2010 (I think). I use Office 2013.

Because of a change in email address (my email address is 17 years old), Microsoft had to uninstall Office 2013 and then install again over the internet. So I know it can be reinstalled with valid licensing.

I cannot help with the DELL recovery. I can (and do) buy full recovery media for my Lenovo machines (mine and clients).

The picture below shows how Office 2013 was originally licensed, but I am not sure if that will help you here.

... Thinkpads_User
I started with Experts Exchange in 2004 and it's been a mainstay of my professional computing life since. It helped me launch a career as a programmer / Oracle data analyst
William Peck


What you seem to have here is an online account to download Office 365.
These guys don't have any online accounts with DELL or Microsoft. This PC is one of a batch of maybe 10 bought at the same time.

Curious about the statement "Microsoft had to uninstall Office 2013 and then install again over the internet". Surely that was you not Microsoft replacing software on your PC?

Anyway, what you seem to be suggesting is that Office 365 is just another name for a subscription model for Office 2013? I suspected as much but have wondered if there were incompatibilities between the two in terms of licensing - i.e. an Office 2013 OEM product key won't work with an Office 365 download? May look further into this but first may give DELL a hard time about providing compatible media for replacing the missing Office 2013 files.
Will have to think how we approach this as the Microsoft/DELL alliance is so unhelpful

Either way, thanks for your input and I will make sure you get some points for your help :-)
Brian Pierce

The deal between Microsoft and OEMs is that its the OEM that is responsible for providing all support for the OEM licenced software - so its a bit unfair to lay the blame at Microsofts door. Its down to Dell to supply the support and recovery media.

Well, I hear what you say but ultimately Microsoft provide the software and the support for it (service packs, bug fixes etc). If I was them, and a customer came to me saying "I have a genuine license key, can I download the software from you", I would help them out. It's inevitable that their reputation gets tarnished at the end of the day if the customer has trouble re-installing THEIR software. And we are talking about a download here not media, which has a fixed cost applied to it. Granted, download facilities have a cost too but it's much lower and, I repeat, it is their software. If they choose to wash their hands of it and leave the OEM hardware suppliers to provide replacement software, then they shouldn't be surprised if THEIR sofwtare and THEIR reputation gets black marks against it if (when!) the OEM supplier fails to deliver. If I was Microsoft, especially in todays ultra competitive world, where they are losing market share to lots of competitors, I would want to protect the image of my brands, and help my customers.

But, maybe that's just me! Maybe I care and they don't.... I refer you back to my first statement.....

Of course DELL are not blameless here either... And I guess I will go back to them first. Either way, the Microsoft name also gets dragged through the mud...

I have delat with Microsoft for 25 years, and many times I have looked at how they treat their customers, and despaired. In my opinion, this is just another example of that.
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Brian Pierce

"Microsoft provide the software and the support for it"


Under the OEM agreement that is the sole responsibility of the OEM.

Dell OEM licences are tied in to the software supplied by DELL (and the DELL OEM software will check the BIOS to ensure it is installed on a DELL machine)

OEM software is cheap because Microsoft does not have to support it. But then the vendors are (almost) universally poor at software support. They do not invest in it to keep their costs low.

@ajmcqueen  - You are best advised to get your own software (Windows exclude). Buy your machines with Windows OEM licensing, and then buy your own software licenses. You will live longer.

.... Thinkpads_User

I believe that the Office installer provided by DELL is a generic installer. In other words it is portable to any PC, not just a DELL PC. Certainly I believe that was the case with Office 2010.
And yes, once the sofwtare is installed, DELL or any other hardware manufacturer, have no further part in maintaining the software. They do not provide patches for it. All software updates for MS Office come from Windows Updates - i.e. Microsoft support it.

It's pointless continuing this discussion. I don't know about you but I have better things to do with my time. Just out of interest, do you work for Microsoft?
This is the best money I have ever spent. I cannot not tell you how many times these folks have saved my bacon. I learn so much from the contributors.

Note that I am talking about my clients here. They inevitably choose the cheapest option here, which is OEM software. I am then left to help them out. It is a decision which is out of my hands.

I perhaps should have been clearer. It is true that Microsoft Updates update Windows, Office and latterly some specific hardware updates that used to be part of the manufacturer's support.

What I meant by "support" is that if you purchase OEM product, you cannot email or call Microsoft for free.

If you buy Windows Retail and Office Retail, you CAN get email/phone support for about a year.

I was not trying to give you a hard time, just say how thing work in my client work. And no, as it happens, I do not work for Microsoft or Lenovo or any other hardware/software manufacturer.

... Thinkpads_User
Brian Pierce

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I eventually managed to get the Office 2013 image from DELL although it was a case of "If you don't ask the right question, you don't get the right answer" - in other words, it was hard work but they did finally relent.
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