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Activation for Office 2003 Professional Edition Fails

Posted on 2014-01-22
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I am working on a computer that was so slow and infested with viruses that I backed it up and then wiped it out. It had Vista on it and I used the Dell Restore disk that came with it.

I then reinstalled office 2003 professional edition using a cd that I had, as the client didn't have one. I ran BelArc and got the keycode for it.

When I ran the setup and then entered her keycode from the BelArc report it said it was not a valid keycode.

I then entered the one that was on my cd and the install went fine.
when it was finished, I rebooted and then opened Word. It prompted me to use the activation wizard and I selected via internet. It failed due to  having used the limit for the product key. I then selected 'I want to activate the software by telephone and selected United States, it then displayed a message indicating that 'Telephone activation is no longer supported for this product.

How can I activate this product? Do I have to find another version of MS Office 2003 and use their keycode? It is the same PC, that the license was use on prior.

thanks in advance for all responses.
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Question by:RSchierer
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by:slimpckins28
slimpckins28 earned 500 total points
ID: 39800652
what probably happened with her code was it was from the factory..and those codes don't work like that on reinstall.  I've seen it a lot.  So, BelArc gave you a key, but it was a factory mvl type, So it won't activate on a retail version.  (even though the same office, the install knows!!!  really REALLY annoying too)

looks like you need a retail key to activate, OR find an MVL / OEM install for Office 2003
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by:aadih
aadih earned 500 total points
ID: 39800689
< It failed due to  having used the limit for the product key >

Sorry (to ask): was the original key a pirated Volume License (VL) key?

I believe (I may be wrong) if it's a genuine key, Microsoft (telephone) will help increase the limit by one to allow activation.
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 1000 total points
ID: 39800787
Was the Belarc file taken before you restored the Vista system?
Does it include thedetail of the Office 2003 install that was in place?

Much like operating systems different versions of Office require different key combinations so a student version activation key won't work with a retail product etc.

I then reinstalled office 2003 professional edition using a cd that I had, as the client didn't have one.

Is a really common problem and although customers don't like it you need to find out where their media came from and identify the version either from the customer or from the Help/About info section within one of the Office applications.

I'm sure you'll have realised that part of the problem is that you have installed a version that has already been through online activation.  The key is valid to proceed with the install but it fails when checked online.  Although it's tempting do do something similar what you are doing is installing a version which is both unlicensed to the user and risks your own licence being compromised (if for example your customer decides to reinstall and then you do, your install will fail validation even though you are the owner of the valid keys).

Microsoft still handle activation by telephone for older versions but the specific contact details for office prior to 2007 have been discontinued.

You really should use the correct media for the customer though.
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Author Closing Comment

by:RSchierer
ID: 39800928
thanks for the insights guys. in the past I was able to call and have them reactivate it, but I guess the client will have to go with a full licensed version. My gripe is, and no this was not a pirated copy, it was a CD that I had from an old DELL that I had and thought I could use the my media and her license. thanks again!
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 39801040
Thanks for the points :)

Just FYI
The Dell Office CD is classed as "Royalty OEM" so at least you've eliminated her Key belonging to that group of Office activation Keys!  When OEM keys are activated online they send an anonymized snapshot of the computer's identity to the activation server.  Try to use that Key on hardware that doesn't match and it won't play.
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Author Comment

by:RSchierer
ID: 39801123
Thank you Masqueraid.
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