How many machines can I install a single copy of Microsoft Office on?

Depending on the situation, the number of machines you can install a single copy of Microsoft Office on is unclear.

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I wanted to know if we’re allowed to use a legal copy of Microsoft Word (legally meaning I purchased the disk) on more than one computer. I switched computers and now I need to install it on a different computer than the one I’d been using before. The old computer is still active. Can I re-install on my new computer? Will it recognize and allow me to use the product key?

If you’re moving from one computer to another, the answer is easy. But if you’re adding an installation, the answer isn’t quite as clear.

If you’re moving your installation of Office (or Windows, or pretty much any licensed software package) from one machine to another, the answer is simply “yes”. That means you plan to stop using the package on the old machine, and start using it on the new. No problems, no conflicts, and no questions. About the worst this scenario might get is with over-aggressive anti piracy techniques that might require you to contact the software’s manufacturer to verify that you’re moving, and not copying, the installation in order for its activation to succeed.

On the surface, copying is also simple: it’s illegal. Regardless of whether the application can be installed on another machine, and whether or not it works, most software license are “single seat”; meaning that you’re allowed to have the software installed on only one machine at a time.

On the surface, copying is simple: it’s illegal.

In practice things get just a little grayer than that, though. Some software publishers have license agreements that state you may install on a certain number of machines as long as only one is in use at any time. Others allow you to make a single copy of the software as a backup.

For Microsoft Office specifically, I was lead to believe some time ago that one could install it on up to three machines for personal use. Today I must assume that’s wrong, as I can find no documentation to back that
up.

Laptop ComputerThere are plenty of options besides purchasing an additional copy of Office, especially if you can’t justify the additional cost. Consider:

  • Purchasing just the program (Word, Excel, etc.) you need, rather than the entire package.
  • Check out eBay, not only for bargains, but also for new copies of older versions of Office which are often found at a steep discount. You may not need all the latest and greatest features, so why pay for them?
  • Open source alternatives such as Open Office. Besides being free, the software is compatible with current Microsoft products, and quite good.

There are 74 comments:

  1. Leo Reply

    Info passed along by a friend: One thing to be very careful when moving a copy from one machine to another is to uninstall it on the old machine before you re-install it.

    Uninstalling the copy apparently undoes the product activation (I’ve not tried this) which means that you can re-activate the product.

    IIRC (check your license to be sure), Office Standard allows an installation on a desktop computer and a laptop computer; Office Student Edition allows an installation on more than one computer (I’m not sure how many), but has some limitations.

  2. auctionhugh Reply

    My understanding is this can be a pretty complicated issue. These are the best of my recollections from installing it at work and at home several times. However I could be wrong and am open to correction :^) ….

    1. The regular microsoft office 2003 retail version can be installed on two machines, a desktop and a portable (laptop) machine. This comes up in the eula (license) you have to click “I agree” to when you install it. This is also true for for the free version many folks received several months ago when it first came out. Vague recollection: When you first use it you have to activate it. This basically phones home through the internet. On the 3rd activation, it will not activate and says you can call a toll free number to activate. When you call, if you say you moved it from one machine to another they will allow this. They will ask if you uninstalled it from one of the old computers, for which you will have to tell them yes.

    1. The student and teacher version of microsoft office 2003 can be installed on three machines. I don’t recall dealing with activation or moving to a new machine so I can’t comment.

    3. The OEM version of microsoft office 2003 can only be used on the computer it was purchased for or came preinstalled on. If it is activated on that machine and you try to install it on another machine, you will have to call the toll free activation number. They will tell you you can’t install it on another machine even if you uninstalled it from the original computer. Sometimes if you ask really nicely and/or beg they will make an exception.

    Again, these are my best recollections and I would like anyone who knows better to add another comment below!

    -Hugh

  3. JohnJ Reply

    My understanding, at least on Office 2003, is that it can be installed on one desktop and one mobile device. I do not recall it specifically defining mobile devices, so I would take that to mean a PDA or a laptop.

  4. TERRY MCARDELL Reply

    I RECENTLY BOUGHT AN OFFICE UPGRADE. MY NEW LAPTOP CAME WITH THE TRIAL VERSION. I ASKED MS IF I COULD ALSO INSTALL IT ON MY HOME DESKTOP. I WILL HAVE TO BUY ANOITHER TRIAL VERSION ($14.95) SO I9 CAN USE THE UPGRADE. MS REPLIED THAT IN THE CASE OF A RETAIL PURCHASE OF OFFICE 2 INSTALLATIONS ARE PERMITTED FOR HOME USE.

  5. Whitney Reply

    How does one go about transferring Microsoft Office 2003 Student Teacher edition from an old computer? Do I just uninstall and re-install using the product key again?

  6. John Reply

    Does anyone know if there is a difference in the amount of computers that the professional edition of office 2003 can be installed on. I need to install on 3 desktop computers possibily 4 and need to know the best route to take. I need the professional edition either way for publisher and Info Note…
    Anyone???

    Thanks,
    John

  7. Jim Reply

    Regarding the Office Professional:

    As long as it is a RETAIL version – has a cardboard box and is NOT an OEM version (included with the purchase of a new computer) and has no retail box and manual) – you may copy it on only TWO machines only. The intention was to allow desktop users to also use the software on their portable or notebook computer. In which case, the software would only be used on one machine at a time.

    If you are looking to install the software in a small business or home on multiple computers, you must purchase a copy for each.

    Since you mentioned 4 copies; you might look into Microsoft’s OPEN LICENSE (http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/programs/open/default.mspx) where you may receive discounts on multiple copies of needed software.

  8. borges Reply

    Ditch Office, download OpenOffice from OpenOffice.org. Put it on as many machines as you want for free, and you can still open any MS formats. It’s a no-brainer.

  9. Garry Reply

    First we need to what version of office are we talking about….Office Xp and Office 2003.

    Then we have different types of licenses for each version.
    The type of licenses are:

    1) Reatil
    2) OEM
    3) Students and Teachers License.

    For Reatil license of both versions office can be installed on One Desktop and One portable computer within the Household. This copy of software is transferable from computer to other.

    OEM copies of softwares are ones which come preinstalled with the computer and these softwares are meant for the parent computers only…and these cannot be transferred to any other computer.

    Studets nad teachers license of Office Xp can be installed on only one computer in a household however thses can be transerred from one computer to the other.

    Students and Teachers license of Office 2003 can be installed on 3 computers in a household and there is condition of being a Desktop or a portable computer. Thses are also transferable.

  10. Jeff W. Reply

    Now I’m really confused. I was doing a Google search to find out how many computers I can install Microsoft Office Student & Teacher OEM on at one time. My search led me here.

    I know the regular Student & Teacher edition can be installed on up to three computers, or so I’ve read. However, what about the OEM version of Student & Teacher? Everything I’ve read says only one computer for OEM stuff.

    I found several places selling the OEM Student & Teacher. It’s a great price compared to the regular edition but not if I have to buy it three times for three computers.

  11. Brandy Reply

    i have a few questions .. i have a version of microsoft office pro for pc of course and well one of my puters went down .. now i have a new one and it seems that office wont install on my new puter …. how do i fix this?

  12. Brandy Reply

    it tells me that the product key has been used to many times or something to that effect .. ive had to reformat my old hard drive a lot and kept putting the office proggie back on it .. now i have a new systema and well .. notta

  13. Verbosity Reply

    If it says your product key has been used too many times, it should also list an option to activate the product over the phone. If you choose that option, it will take you to a screen which has microsoft’s phone number and a loooooooooooong series of boxes to enter numbers in. Call them, explain that this installation is being done because of a computer crash and it is NOT being installed on a new computer, and tell them your product key – then enter the loooooooong number they read off to you and continue with the activation process (keep them on the phone until it is actually activated).

    How do I know this? I like to download a lot of programs off the internet to test them (which quickly “gunks up” my system), and I upgrade my test system a lot – which means I keep erasing my hard drive and reinstalling Windows XP Pro. About once a year I have to call them up and phone register my copy. Annoyed at this routine, I once asked them why I had to keep calling. The answer? Anti-piracy measure to ensure I wasn’t setting up a dozen computers with the software.

    If you never had installed you software more than once, and you bought it from a “super-discount” web site that did not provide a Certificate of Authenticity, be nervous. Some sites sell discs with keys for multi-licensed software, some sell pirated copies with the same activation key… and microsoft may wind up asking you many questions.

    Hope this helps Brandy

    *********************************************************************

    As to Jeff’s confusion -
    I never thought of that there might be a Student and Teacher 2003 OEM edition that is restricted to one computer versus a retail edition for 3 systems.

    I have found it difficult to buy S&T because I don’t use Outlook. I prefer the academic version of Sun’s StarOffice 8.0 – $0 and unlimited licences – and while its spreadsheets lack trendlines (bad for chemistry), it has what I consider a far superior function equation editor (want to write a square root of the sum of two squares? In Word you use an equation editor as far as I know… in StarOffice you open the equation editor window and type SQRT { A^2 + B^2 } and you get the pretty print output) .

    Of course, now that I’ve gone to a convertable laptop (flip it and it becomes a tabletPC – a great way to carry all your notes, handouts, and books on a campus sprawled all over downtown Madison, WI), the added features of microsoft office with “inking” on a tablet is becoming desireable… thus I am considering migrating to Office. [And to those who say the Newton was a disaster and tabletPCs are a horrible idea, the handwriting and speech recognition software have improved drastically along with the processing power, memory capabilities, and display screens of tabletPCs - ie, Newtons were a good idea before there time.]

    ********************************************************

    In summary

    you may have to call microsoft if you upgrade frequently or reinstall frequently

    I don’t know about OEM Student and Teacher addition (if it is 1 or 3 computer license)

    if you’re a poor student who doesn’t need trendlines or want to invest about a week to learn a far superior way to enter complex mathematical notation, go with the $0 unlimited computer licensing of Sun’s StarOffice

    if your a student of an office worker and need the ability to draw pictures on the notes you take (vs typing) but you want to use a computer, you should look into the new generation of TabletPCs and what they can do for you… but you’ll probably want a Retail version Microsoft Office (so it can go on your TabletPC and desktop) instead of StarOffice.

  14. Penney Reply

    Does anyone know WHY, if you purchase MS office 2003(I mean spend your hard earned money)can you NOT install it on whatever, however many, whoever’s computer you want to? Is seems rediculously unfair and truely confuses me. Any answers out there? Why, what could be the reason?

  15. Phil Reply

    I have a retail Office 2000 Premium, and cost $1000 to buy and i’m not upgrading it just yet because of that it does what i want. ONly thing is PhotoDraw isn’t compatible with XP but no matter. Can i install it on 2 machines? only one copy will be running at one time.

  16. Aphrodite Reply

    You can install it on one machine plus 1 portable (i.e. laptop). Got a problem with my laptop and have to reformat it and re-installed Microsoft office again and I was told that i have activated it many times so i called the Microsoft office toll free number and they told me that if i want to activate it again i just have to call them again and they will tell me the activation key, the tip, don’t tell them that you have installed it on more than 2 computer and ask nicely and they will give you the activation key again…glad this helps

  17. James Reply

    The following is a direct quote from the back of the case of Microsoft Office Professional 2007:

    “Licensed for noncommercial use on up to three personal computers.”

    This applies to the UPGRADE so I’m not sure about the FULL version. Perhaps someone who has the non-upgrade version can check it out and post here.

    Regardless, upgrade = noncommercial use –> up to 3 computers.

  18. MIKE PHILLIPS Reply

    can i install office2007 on a home computer i own? i installed office pro2007 on my laptop and my wife has office pro2003 on hers. i tried to install office pro 2007 on hers and it stoped. the copy was the same copy i did install office pro2007 on my laptop.my e-mail is ….

    [email address removed because the instructions CLEARLY state you should not post your email address in a comment -Leo]

  19. norman redshaw Reply

    i lost my original office xp 2003 but have a copy
    on a unlicenced disc with the original activation
    key code.if i registered this with microsoft before i lost the original and then changed to a
    new computer why does microsoft not recognize me as the legal owner of this office

  20. Paul Lembutu Reply

    I travel a lot and need to take my laptop in order to enter data into office 97
    I have a genuine Office 2007 professional installed on my home PC and the transition of data especially in outlook makes things messy as the pst file is not compatible.
    Can I install a copy of Office 2007 on to the laptop, since I only use one computer at a time ?
    Thank you

  21. Mel Reply

    Is there a way to check the number of times software has been installed before installing it?

  22. Leo A. Notenboom Reply

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
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    Not that I’m aware of, no.

    Leo

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  23. rin Reply

    looks like a copy on your desktop & also putting it on your laptop is perfectly ok according to the terms here – this is directly from the ms site

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=4285D6F7-DFDD-44A6-A21D-8E9899082B15&displaylang=en

    1. RETAIL LICENSE TERMS
    These license terms are an agreement between Microsoft Corporation (or based on where you live, one of its affiliates) and you. Please read them. They apply to the software that accompanies these license terms, which includes the media on which you received it, if any. The terms also apply to any Microsoft

  24. Michael Reply

    If the link doesn’t work, go to: http://office.microsoft.com and search for the article, “Frequently asked questions about Microsoft Office Retail Licensing”. You should see it about half-way down the page.

  25. Jane Adams Reply

    I too was wondering about this as I recently purchased a laptop, Office 2007 and McAfee for my college-bound son. I am ready to purchase the same laptop again for our home use because it was a great deal but did not want to buy the other add ons again. And on the back of the Office 2007 box, it does state it is licensed for up to 3 PC’s. (The McAfee allows it too).

  26. Jane Adams Reply

    ps…that would be Office Home and Student 2007 in case it matters to anyone

  27. Mike Reply

    It depends on the license and how you bought Office.

    If you bought Office pre-installed on a PC, then it is OEM, and cannot be transferred to a new PC, even if you are scrapping the old PC (same with Windows). The OEM license is tied to the machine and “dies” when it dies.

    If you bought a retail box, then you can install on a desktop and also a laptop as long as you are the only user of the software. If you bought the “home and student” license, you can install on up to 3PCs for home use only (ie not for any commerical use). If you get a new PC and remove Office from the old one, then you can take you license for office with you (unlike OEM).

    Lastly, if your work as a “home use program” with Microsoft, you can get Office for practically nil, but you can only install it on one machine at your home for as long as you are an employee of the company with the “home use program” arrangement with Microsoft.

  28. Jeni Reply

    I recently received a replacement laptop due to mine having issues, do I have to take extra steps to unistall on old computer to be able to enter key on new computer? I’m running vista and want the office student on new comp. I have used 3 times related to reformating, desktop and laptop?

  29. Mr Irving Reply

    I bought office 2007 and installed it onto my laptop. The terms of the licensing agreement state that the software can be installed on a portable device and a desktop, and the machine which the software is first installed onto is the licensed machine (my laptop). Is it legal to now install office onto my desktop PC?

    Cheers

  30. Kate Reply

    hi,
    when i uninstall office from the old machine do i have do do a special de-activate or anything so microsoft know its no longer being used and I can reuse the registration key on new computer?
    Thanks

  31. Jeff Reply

    Office 2007 is licensed for up to 3 computers. Says so on the back of the package…at the bottom

  32. Gary Reply

    I have a legal “Upgrade” license of Office 2007 Standard Edition and I wondered if it is legal to install it on a PC in my office as well as an office laptop? It is not the student version.

  33. Customer22201 Reply

    My manager recently bought Office 07 not knowing that he can not use it for his business. He has 07 installed on the customer computer and wants to remove it, the question is, Do we still get to keep that license that was used to legally install it on the business computer. It would be a bad outcome if we lose that “up to three computers” capability for mistakenly installing a home use version on a commercial used computer.
    Thanks

    I don’t understand why you’re saying he can’t use it for business. What makes you say that? Millions of people use Office 2007 Home version for business every day.

    - Leo
    18-Jan-2009
  34. Nigel Reply

    The license agreement I’ve just read suggests that it can be installed on a desktop ‘the licensed device’ and a portable device (e.g. a laptop). I’m happy that my installation(s) are within the terms of the license.

  35. Bob Reply

    I have Office Small Business 2007 upgrade,3 user license, installed on three laptops at home. One laptop crashed, it’s not worth repairing as it’s old, and I bought a new laptop. Can I re-load the Office Small Business 2007 upgrade on the new laptop. I’ve tried to get an answer on Microsoft’s website but no luck.
    Thanks.

    I believe you can, yes. (At least, I’d do it :-).

    - Leo
    02-Apr-2009
  36. Aly Reply

    Hi Leo, thanks for the article’s information on MSOffice. My verson is “MSoffice 2007 Home and Student” 60 day trial that came with the computer. SOme comments state if the program is OEM, I’m sunk. No swapping is possible. MSoffice2007to full version was converted via online payment and installation 3 days ago, I want to have it on a 2nd desktop if possible. Can be installed using same product key? If so, how do I do it? Or do I have to break down and call MS support?

    Thanks.
    Aly

  37. kutak Reply

    hi leo, nice to have a person who have a time to answer people problem.

    my question would be,

    how many times we can install the MICROSOFT OFFICE 2007 SBE – OEM,

    Some say 1 time thru the internet and 5 times u may activate thru a phone call,

    can u tell me

    many thanks

  38. Bob Small Reply

    Hi Leo,

    I just got a new laptop—I took my microsoft office disk from my OLD computer and installed it on the new one .

    I keep getting the licensing agreement pop up on my new computer. what did i do wrong?

  39. haren s chauhan Reply

    i have lienced office 2003 but i dont know in waht pc i installed that now that pc has destroyed and now i want to install this on new pc but it doesnt install and says running in another machine, so what should i do

  40. Jenny H Reply

    I legally bought Microsoft Office 2007 for my Windows XP computer, my computer got a virus, I did a “system restore” on my computer, and it’s now virus-free and in the original manufacturing conditions. I’ve tried repeatedly to re-install Microsoft Office 2007 using the disks, but the software no longer accepts the product key. Does that mean I can no longer install it?

  41. Amy Reply

    Some Microsoft Office Word software you can download to three computers. Others you can only download to one computer. Read through the End User License Agreement and figure out whether your program is a FPP, a OEM, or MLK. (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/HA102240441033.aspx)

    FPP … 3 computers.
    OEM … 1 computer
    MLK … 1 computer

    … according to http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/useterms/

    Hope this helps! Don’t rely on it totally since I just stumbled upon it.

    Amy

  42. Peter Brixey Reply

    With reference to your article: “How many machines can I install a single copy of Microsoft Office on?”, Is it safe to assume that the “Currently Published” EULA available from the MS website applies to Office Pro 2003? Maybe I should open the disk and see what the disk copy of the EULA that came with 2003 says. What do you think?

  43. Kevin Satterfield Reply

    Hey Leo, regretfully your summary:
    “Depending on the situation, the number of machines you can install a single copy of Microsoft Office on is unclear.”
    Is totally correct. So correct that Microsoft themselves can not answer the question. I have been trying to get an answer for over two weeks now. Here is some of the fun I have had:

    1) Asked numerous vendors only to get answers anywhere from 1 to 2.
    2) Went to the Microsoft web site and downloaded the Office 2007 license agreement, Office2007HNS_MSLT_EN, which reads 3 devices.
    3) Contacted Microsoft only to be told by them that I never replied back to an email they sent (Note: this was their FIRST reply to me. Wrote back and waited over a week, no reply. Wrote again threatening to escalate the problem. Got a reply the next day that said it depended on which Office 2007 product I had. According to the rep Home and Student can be loaded on three computers and the others only two.
    4) Went back out to the Microsoft web site via a search on Office 2007 License and the we page where it states this in question #18, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927921, does NOT answer the question but sends you off to the Privacy page which has NO information at all about the number of computers you can load Office 2007 on.
    5) I am currently in the process of once again asking the Microsoft rep via email to explain the Inconsistency between the license agreement on their site and his reply. If I ever get anything concrete, (in the form of a legal license agreement and not just a reps opinion) I will try to get back to you.

  44. Kevin Satterfield Reply

    I’m back! Got the reply back from Microsoft today and here is what they said:

    “All the versions of Office 2007 can only be installed on two computers apart from Office Home & Student 2007.

    I have already sent the feedback regarding the change in the license agreement to my supervisor & the web design team & soon the changes will reflect on the License Agreement.”

    Seems they were unaware of the discrepancy in the online version of the license agreement.

    But here is something that will help your “viewers”. The best way to obtain the license agreement is to view it directly via their copy of the software, (if it is loaded). In Office 2007 Microsoft “hid” the About box which gives you access to the license agreement. To find it do the following:

    1) click on the round Office button at the left top of the window
    2) click on the ???? Options button at the bottom right of this pop up window. ???? is the name of the application you opened, Ie Word, Excel, Access, etc.
    3)In the left hand column at the bottom, click on Resources
    4)On the Resources page on the right hand side the last entry should be About. Click on the About button to the right
    5)On the about screen around 2/3 down on the page click on the blue text that reads View the MICROSOFT SOFTWARE LICENSE TERMS and there is your software license agreement which will tell you how many “devices” (computers) you can load your version of Office 2007 on.

    I know it is not the easiest process but it is the most exact. Hope this helps everyone.

  45. Deborah Reply

    Thanks Kevin, I was just about to go out and buy another office disc, have just checked and I can use it up to 3 times – awesome.

  46. Paul Reply

    Problem is Deb, “using” something 3 times is not the same as installing it on three “separate” computers, in legalese terminology.

    MS is hyper-legalese prone.

    Example ‘a’: I have 2 computers. I will load my MSO software to 2…and sell the third use to a friend to off set my costs.

    Q: Legal? (my take is no)

    Example ‘b’: I have 3 use MSO software. I use #one, my GF uses #two…and my friend uses #three.

    Q: Legal? Maybe, depends. If we all chipped in to buy it (Since a corporation can be 62 gazillion shareholders, so can any other “person”. So when you register it you should type “Deborah et al” LOL), MS would be bound by the contract to provide the service to the contractee(s) just like they would to your family or any business that bought the product for the use of it’s employees.

    Keep in mind if the agreement says “for non-commercial use”, meaning you are not allowed to sell their product, it raises another problem; IE: what if I sell the computer w/ the software installed?

    MS has no enforceable right to dictate where you “assign” your purchased “right” of ownership…unless you ceded to limited, non-transferable possession from the outset (which would require any such computer that was resold to be wiped blank, without an OS etc. or illegal if it had any thus contracted software installed -something I doubt even MS in all their greedy multibillion dollar magnificence wants to start….

    …because like me, people will simply start to use open office, for free!

    Hope this was helpful.

  47. Philip Bawa Reply

    Hi,

    just wanted to thank everyone for the input… I work for a school where one of the teachers has put it upon himself to sell the software discs from behind everyones’ backs so I have to explain this to the owner and justify a means to rebuy office… which now comes with a free copy of Office 2010 with the purchase of 2007- to the stores!!! Don’t know how long this one will last.

    Hope this was insightful enough to repay the discussion…

    Philip Bawa

  48. Gary Reply

    I have an academic version of windows office 2007?From this site I gather I can install it three times. First install well that computer died. Second install currently on a vista computer. Third install that hard drive died. I now have a new hard drive and the same mother board. HOw many of those instillations count?

  49. Kevin Reply

    Q. Still a little hazy. We bought the upgrade version of Office Ultimate 2007. We plan to use on our office computer, home computer, and traveling laptop. Legal or not legal?

    I have no idea, actually. It varies, so read the license agreement that comes with the product.

    Leo
    04-May-2010

  50. Jules Mann Reply

    One month ago (April 2010) I was working an an office where they downloaded Office 2003 Home & Student and installed it on 8 machines. No problems with activating the product at all. This was just my experience and yours may be different but hope this helps… (yes, I know that this violated licensing agreements with Microsoft)

  51. Ahmed Reply

    I read from Microsoft, home and student edition (2007) can be installed 3 machines at a time

  52. Ken Smith Reply

    I had a similar problem last year, my two daughters needed Microsoft Office on their laptops, their workload at school was increasing and it was no longer practicable to share my PC. I looked into it and discovered that Microsoft Office 2007 allows only one licence and that this would require activating online. If you fail to activate within a certain time it works with a reduced functionality. The other problem was that I would require more than one licence and the cost of the suite made this a no starter. then I came across the answer, Office Home and Student 2007 as Ahmed mentioned above, only difference, the suite only contains Word. Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote, ideal, because, thats all they needed, best of all only

  53. LarryW Reply

    I’m still confused on Office 2010 licensing. Can my wife and I share a single primary license on the same desktop if we use separate login accounts? That what we do know with Office 2003. Then on our laptop will Office 2010 only work with one of our login accounts as a portable license?

  54. MichaelT Reply

    I see this article has caused a lot of confusion for people, for obvious reasons. I’ve read the Office EULA and contacted MS for clarification on it. MS Office (excluding home & student editions) can be installed on as many as two computers at a time. At least one of them must be a laptop/notebook/netbook. Also, a different account is not considered a different computer, but a different partition is, even though the hardware is the same. The purpose if this is in cases where people have a computer they generally leave at home, and an additional laptop/netbook they use when traveling, they can have Office installed on both. If you are installing on your computer and a friends it is illegal. If you are installing on two computers that you own (even if one or both belong to a family member in the same house)it is actually legal.

  55. Ricky Reply

    I’ve just phoned the MS phone licencing line. They asked if I hade MS Office on more than one machine. On confirming this they said licence was for only one machine, hence would not provide key. My Homegroup has stopped working (despite checking all settings) I guess this is a “spur” to buy a second licence (I genuinely need the software on 3 machines. . ).
    Rather mean and petty of Microsoft, the licence isn’t exactly cheap. . .

  56. ricky Reply

    BTW, you are quite right Leo regarding the licence being originally for 3 computers, for Office Home & Student Edition. On the back of the 2007 upgrade box I purchased maybe 2 years ago it states “Office Home and Student 2007 is licenced for non commercial use on up to 3 personal computers.”
    I know Professional version can be used on two machines concurrently, as Michael states despite the MS “helpline” having a problem with more than one.
    I read elsewhere that if not installed on more than one machine within a three month period it is not flagged, though I doubt this somehow. .

  57. namremo Reply

    Hi. I havnt read all the comments, but I just spoke to MS Office customer service. They confirmed that all retail versions (the ones bought from MS store or retail stores) can be activated on 2 computers. office can be reinstalled and activated on the 2 systems any number of times like in case of HDD failure, viruses or just reinstalling the OS. this is allowed only for non-commercial computers.

    For OEM MS Office versions – only one computer. it cannot be activated on any other system.

  58. John Reply

    Hi. I work at a catholic girls school. We allocate our girls with a netbook to use at school and take home. I am wondering if there is any legal way for the girls/families to install Office on these netbooks? Are there versions or license types we can recommend for them? We DON’T provide Office, we install Open Office but they like to be mainstream and compatible. What are their options?

  59. Vicki Reply

    Hi. We bought a new desktop from Dell here in Spain and the sales rep sold us Office 2010 on the basis that we could also install it on a laptop. We´ve been unsuccessful as it just tells us that the serial has already been used. We´ve had little help from Dell themselves. I heard that all office products should be able to be used on both, but does that depend on where it´s bought? Is it because we bought it through Dell themselves?

  60. Avi Reply

    Hello, i have installed Microsoft Office 2003 in 2 computures so far.. i been wondering if this version of Microsoft allows me to put it to multiple like 10 more computers ?

  61. Mark J Reply

    @Avi
    That depends on the license you have. The number computers you can install an OS or a program on depends on the license provided with the software, not on the software itself. You’d have to read what it says on the box or the cd.

  62. DeeLH Reply

    I bought a Gateway in 2004 in which was installed MSFT Office Suite Small Business (2 disks). Now I want to install the Office Suite into a new computer (discarding the Gateway) but it’s not a Gateway. Instead, the new computer is a Lenovo. The two disks of Office Suite and its product key number are rejected and will not install in the new Lenovo. How can I workaround this problem. Yes, I paid and purchased, legally, the Office Suite but there’s a sticker on the CD folder “for distribution with a new Gateway PC only” Please help me workaround this issue.

    Legally I believe you cannot. You purchased a version “for distribution with a new Gateway PC only” which means exactly what it says. I’m honestly surprised that it’s enforced to this level, but it makes sense.

    Leo
    02-Sep-2011
  63. Joe C Reply

    I searched through these comments and saw nothing about it discussed, so here’s a monkey wrench: how would this apply to a virtual machine? On my home iMac I have WinXP installed, and on that I have Office 2007. If I also wanted to add another virtual environment — in this case, Win7, and wanted to add Office 2007 on it as well, would it be kosher? I take the term “seat” as being the computer itself, not the operating system. Please help clarify this for me before I go breaking the law! Thanks!

  64. Ron Barker Reply

    Hi

    I have office 2003. You can find the licence by clicking on help>about microsoft word (or excel etc.) then on the link “view full end user licence”

  65. Dan Reply

    I just purchased Office, and on the box it says I can install it on 3 computers, just like it says on the box that came with my virus protection software. Not sure why everything is in 3′s, but with my wife’s and my two laptops and 1 desktop – 3 is a perfect number for us.

  66. Jim Reply

    My package states – Office Home & Student 2007 is licensed for noncommercial use on up to 3 personal computers. I have Office Professional 2007, so I guess I’m buying a new one.

  67. jim Reply

    how am I able to prove to ms that one of the systems that I had office 2007 on is no longer in service and I no longer have the laptop

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