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Transferring Office 2013 Retail License to a New Computer

Posted on 2014-09-29
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Has anyone reading this ever successfully transferred a retail copy of Microsoft Office 2013 (Home & Business or Professional) from one computer to another?  This is allowed now by Microsoft once every 90 days or if the hardware fails, but their site says you must call the activation center to do this.  I need to know:
A.  Does this work?
B.  How long does it take? / Was it easy?
C.  What kinds of questions does the activation center person ask before allowing this?

We are buying about 25 licenses and must decide whether the extra cost for the volume license (about $2000 above the retail license) is worth paying for.  Some of the computers using these licenses will undoubtedly need replacing in the next year or so.
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Question by:jd1114
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Maclean earned 1500 total points
ID: 40351342
From memory it won't ask for activation center until 3rd install with same key.

You punch in key, key will say you need to run through activation center, and will display a phone number & code.

Ring phone number.

Initially an automated system will ask you to punch in the code displayed on your screen.
If correct it will pass you the new code to enter.

If that fails you get to talk to a person, who will simply ask the same questions as automated system, and they will provide you the key. I never had them ask any other questions.

10 minutes tops.

Retail is hard to manage though. You need to keep a record of which license was deployed where, and ensure that it is always up to date, which is flawed straight away, as it is too easy to forget that you quickly did this or that, not to mention that you don't know what others or the next IT guy has done. 2k sounds a tad much, check for an alternate quote with another supplier perhaps.
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Author Comment

by:jd1114
ID: 40351415
Hi Maclean,

Thank you for the quick response!  I want to be sure you are talking about Office 2013, not Office 2007 or 2010.  I've tried transferring Office 2013 Professional (retail) to a different computer and the installer said, "The maximum number of installations had already occurred, please contact the activation center."
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Author Comment

by:jd1114
ID: 40353770
Has anyone else had any experience with this?
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Maclean
ID: 40356114
Office 1013 yes.
If max activation's have been reached you can ring the activation center. Did you not get this option displayed after the alert was triggered?

From Microsoft Website:

Reason why this issue occurs

You receive the error message if one of the following conditions is true:
You upgraded your existing computer by installing new hardware, such as a RAM card, a video card, or other hardware.
You purchased a new computer and are installing the product by using the same product key that you used on the previous computer.
You reformatted the hard disk.

Steps to resolve the issue

To resolve this issue, use the following telephone number to contact the Microsoft Activation Department:
(866) 740-1256 (United States and Canada only)
If you are outside United States or Canada, the activation wizard will present a different number to call when you click the Activate by Phone or Activate by Telephone option.

If you recently purchased the product and you received the "Unable to Activate" error message, return the product to the point of purchase to obtain a replacement.

If the number of activations for the product exceeds the number of activations that the Microsoft Software License Terms allows, you must purchase additional copies of the product.

Note To activate a product, you must use a product key. A product key is a unique 25-digit number that is provided with each copy of the product. It is like a house key that works for a limited number of houses. If you are trying to use the same product key on multiple computers and you exceed the limit that is specified in the Microsoft Software License Terms, you will receive an error message. The Microsoft Software License Terms are located in the product installation folder on your computer. Some products allow activation on more than one computer. See the Microsoft Software License Terms for specific information about how many computers the product can be activated on.
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