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How can I reconcile MS Office 2013 Home & Office purchases with Product Keys?

Posted on 2014-12-31
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Last Modified: 2015-01-02
I've installed 10 licensed, registered, and activated copies of MS Office 2013 over the past 6 months on 10 corporate computers. The software was originally purchased from a number of online vendors, let's use "Joe's Software Emporium" as one example. After making the purchase, Joe sends me an e-mail message containing the installation/activation key in the typical xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx format. I log on to the corporate Windows Live account, enter the key that Joe sent me, then install the software. I dutifully log the purchase date, vendor, computer name, and product key into my corporate records. No problems with the install and activation, everything works, life is good, yada-yada-yada. That is, until today...

Today I discover that the key Joe supplied to me and that I used to install and activate the software is not the same as what the corporate Windows Live account now reports. This is the case for all 10 installations of Office 2013. As noted, I've used other vendors to purchase Office 2013 besides Joe and as things now stand, I have no way to link a specific purchase of Office 2013 with a specific vendor and to the specific computer on which it was installed.

Why am I concerned? The company for which I work has just finished an 11 month effort to comply with Microsoft's software audit proving that all the MS products we've used over the years were legally acquired. This we have done but the number of man hours required to reconstruct the paper trail of all the MS related software purchases since 2005 can be counted in weeks. I don't intend to make the same mistakes again so now all software purchases are being documented and tracked in great detail.

Does anyone know how the original key that was used to install and activate Office 2013 Home & Business be traced to what is currently being reported by the Windows Live account? Or conversely, how can the Windows Live Product Key be matched to the original activation key supplied by the software reseller? Support from Microsoft has been, as expected, less than stellar. I've been bounced to multiple departments only to have the last group direct me to the one I contacted initially.
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Question by:SnakeEyedMojo
7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Phillip Burton
ID: 40525935
Have you considered using Belar Advisor to get the product key installed on a particular computer?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40525937
I think Office Home and Business records licensing by the email address on the account. I have a license for Recover Keys and it does not show me Office 2013 (but does show all other keys including my Windows 8.1 key).  This is because you get 5 installs (I do with my license).

So as long as the monthly bill you pay x number of license per payment = total installs you have, Microsoft will accept that.
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Expert Comment

by:byundt
ID: 40526866
Tim Fisher reviews 22 different product key finder software tools at http://pcsupport.about.com/od/productkeysactivation/tp/topkeyfinder.htm. Of the ones he has reviewed, I have tested three in the course of answering questions on Experts Exchange. My favorite is the personal version of Belarc Advisor (also suggested by Phillip Burton above). It is free and licensed for individual use (non-commercial)--and you can get it here: http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

Belarc also has a product aimed at systems administrators (not free) called BelManage http://www.belarc.com/belmanage.html  Although the price may seem steep ($1800 for up to 50 clients), using this product assures compliance without requiring manweeks.
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Author Comment

by:SnakeEyedMojo
ID: 40527885
The blocked product key seems to be a result of Windows 8.x. The last five characters of the Office 2013 Product Key are returned when using Belarc or NirSoft or any number of other utilities provided the OS is Windows 7.

I came across this article "How to find your Office 2013 product key after installation" on the Office support site. Navigate to https://support.office.com/en-nz/article/How-to-find-your-Office-2013-product-key-after-installation-026bc81b-6b2f-4052-b433-f41e6cc31c5a

Basically it recommends running a VBS script (OSPP.vbs /dstatus) from the workstation where Office 2013 is installed. I'm waiting on one of our mobile computers to be returned to the building so I can test it.
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Accepted Solution

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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40527890
Unless you have reason to believe otherwise, Microsoft will be happy with proof of total licenses purchased and number of computers. Given the way Microsoft licenses, there is no real need to reconcile by key and computer (one key / email address may service more than one computer).
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Author Closing Comment

by:SnakeEyedMojo
ID: 40527897
Thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40527912
@SnakeEyedMojo  - You are very welcome and I was happy to help.
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