Activate OEM without office account ??


  • Is it possible to activate an OEM install without having to associate it to an online account? This seems like a pain to have to write these down and set up accounts for each PC we roll out!
    Friday, March 01, 2013 5:48 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Yes, Office 2013 are available from Office 2013 suites and Office 365 subscription which is associated with the Microsoft account as you mentioned, when Office 2013 suites are activated by the traditional method - a 25-character product key.

    For OEM deployment, Office 2013 suites seems to be a better choice.

    Check the OEM licensing system here:

    To find more help about OEM depolyment, I should recommend you to get contact with the OEM Reseller Support System

    Max Meng
    TechNet Community Support

    Monday, March 04, 2013 2:04 AM
  • That's not what I was after.  I can't believe in order to install each system we have to set each user up with an online account and store this key? This is very aggravating and almost archaic.  This needs to be fixed, its a stupid idea that isn't necessary and adds more documentation and time to installs. This is a poor attempt....
    Monday, March 04, 2013 3:34 PM
  • I'm sorry if I haven't been clear enough, but as I stated, we don't have to set each user up with an online account.

    BTW, have you read the link in my last reply?

    It might be better to call in and try to talk with the customer service representative

    Max Meng
    TechNet Community Support

    Tuesday, March 05, 2013 3:10 AM
  • Completely agree with ScratchDuffer.  We also have the same issue where we have to keep phoning the customer to ask for email address password DOB secret question etc. etc. very time consuming and frustrating Microsoft need to sort this out ASAP as its a completely stupid idea why not allow the product to be activated with just the key like all previous versions of Office instead of making people sign up for Microsoft accounts!  If anybody has a way around the activation problem will be greatly received.


    Tuesday, March 26, 2013 4:11 PM
  • Isn't this insane? This is a serious flaw.  I wish the thread would pick up steam as this really needs to be addressed. It costs me 10 minutes to set up a dumb account and document, that we will never use. All for marketing fluff.
    Tuesday, March 26, 2013 4:14 PM
  • Agree with you entirely it is a flaw they need to come up with an activation program that OEM providers can use.  The only thing that i have found but yet to test so not sure if this works is the following:

    However this does seem a bit of a pain to do for each one but if works may save a bit of time.

    Config.xml file

    To enter a MAK by using the Config.xml file, follow these steps:

    1. Add the following line to the Config.xml file:


      Where AAAAABBBBBCCCCCDDDDDEEEEE is the 25-character product key.

    2. To apply the settings in Config.xml, at a command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

      Setup.exe /config <path of Config.xml file>


    You can activate Office 2013 while you install the MAK key by setting the AUTO_ACTIVATE property value to 1

    This I found on the following site:

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013 5:14 PM
  • Really? You are either avoiding the question or giving a wrong link.

    Care to tell us how to activate an OEM WiTHOUT a Microsoft account?

    • Edited by Freddy_P Wednesday, April 10, 2013 1:55 PM
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 1:54 PM
  • Hi Max,

    Neither link offers the steps to get past activating without an online account.  I have tried about 12 times now and there is no way around it would appear. Have you tried yourself?  Please do so... I think you will find that it isn't possible.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 1:58 PM
  • I'm surprised there isn't more complaints about this...

    I guess it's coming...

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:17 PM
  • I wonder how many will have to  "try to talk with the customer service representative"
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 7:50 PM
  • Same problem. I made the mistake of using my personal account to activate the first PC, but I've read elsewhere that there is no way to transfer to another account? What if I leave the company and they need to reinstall Office?
    Monday, April 15, 2013 4:50 PM
  • I set up another this morning.  Had to set up a new Microsoft account and it sends and activation. But since I didn't have outlook up I couldn't get the email.  Cart before the horse here.... sigh.  This is stupid.
    Monday, April 15, 2013 4:58 PM
  •     Hello, I have the same questions as some of the rest of you posted about. We are a small IT company that builds some of our computers for our customers. Many of our customers order Office with their new computer, which was no problem with Office 2010. We would install Office 2010 and make sure the product key activated that copy of Office. Now with Office 2013, if we install it on our new systems we can't activate Office 2013 without first making a Microsoft Account. Does anyone have a work-around or is there something I am missing? Thank you for your help. 
    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:30 PM
  • Same problem here. We can't activate Office 2013 without making a Microsoft Account. This is lots of unnecessary work, Microsoft please fix. 
    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:33 PM
  • Same problem. I made the mistake of using my personal account to activate the first PC, but I've read elsewhere that there is no way to transfer to another account? What if I leave the company and they need to reinstall Office?

    Same to me. I install some PC for clients and my first activation is now bonded with my EMail. I dont know how to continue installation without skydrive.

    Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:26 AM
  • Yep this is a huge hassle to go through. Contact customer for details etc etc etc. This is utterly amazingly retarded!! Let us just install with the product key we payed for!!!
    Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:47 AM
  • I can handle the licence tied to my account, but I can't accept the activation process asking which product I'd like to install. There's simply no way to differentiate which licence I'm activating.

    MS simply need to change the activation process soon.

    Which I bought loads of Office 2010 OEM licences now.

    Thursday, April 18, 2013 12:21 PM
  • I "THINK" I have pieced together the answer y'all are looking for.

    How does a company install and control licenses

    A business IT Admin controls use of corporate Office 365 licenses through the Office 365 Administration Center. Using Click to Run virtualization, the process of getting new users running has substantially changed. Because CTR installations are so fast, you no longer have to pre-install the software for users.


    - In the Office 365 Administration Center the designated Office Administrator sets up the new USER ID

    - Setup the associated email account(s)

    - Setup Office licenses allowed to the userid

    - the new User logs in to their new computer

    - in Internet Explorer the user goes to the “Office 365 Portal” site to get their allowed Office 365 installation

    - using the Click to Run installation process, Office 365 is installed and running on a new computer is a matter of minutes.

    The following links will provide you with more detailed information of where to look and what to do. You may require some additional support from an “expert” .

    Does Microsoft have FREE training for the NEW Office 365? - Office 365 Administration Center / Portal

    Excellent resource to get you started administering your business Office 365 licenses.

    The first video, Exploring the Office 365 Administration Center  (9:32), describes how to create new userids, and to assign Office licenses to them. It also very quickly breezes by how to install Office.

    The second vidow, Office 365 Overview for IT Administrators  (14:00), quickly walks you through setting up new company and users.

    On basic setup page, step 3 “Set up User Access” provides links to instructions on how to set up new users.

    In Service Settings, Downloads, you can control what Office apps the user can download.


    Creating Cloud Users for the NEW Office 365

    This page provides more detailed instructions for setting up the new userids and granting them Office 365 licenses


    Configuring Desktops for the NEW Office 365

    The following post will document how to setup a Windows 8 desktop for a cloud user for Office 365. I have already installed Windows 8 and created the local account for my test user. I have logged into the Office 365 portal and had the user change his password. The password for Office 365 and the password for the desktop are the same.


    Office 365 for enterprises: A tour for administrators

    Office 365 for enterprises brings together the online services your business needs. To see how to set up and manage these services, watch these four short videos.


    Where did My MSI go - Deployment Video^play:related_0&from=shareembed-syndication

    10 minute comparison of MSI and CTR

    Touches on corporate provisioning in”User Based License Model Activation”. Users activate/deactivate, but IT still has control to deprovision the license (starting at about minute 8:15).

    Then in this video / article :

    They again say the companies can still allow userid activation while maintaining control of the licenses through Active Directory


    Yoni: Running all of this in Azure AD is certainly easier and we'll go into more detail in a future episode, but setting up ADFS and achieving single sign on is easier than many people would think and there are benefits beyond Office 365 when thinking about directory federation.

    Jeremy: So we showed the installation experience for a domain-joined computer where single sign on is enabled and one that is not domain-joined, but installs via the Office 365 portal. In the direct from portal case when you kick off the installation, you will see a file that looks something like this:


    The string above bascially shows architecture (x86), language (en-us), product ID (O365ProPlusRetail) and unique identifier (_24...). In cases where we manage the installation, we use the configuration XML with the Office Deployment Tool and push the installation with some form of automation - like scripts, System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, Windows Intune or a plethora of third party equivalents. In a future episode we'll talk about all of the configurations needed to suppress completely sign-in, first run experiences and user prompts. IT admins have had to deal with these in past releases of Office, but now there are ways to automatically sign users in to Office 365 installs picking up their domain credentials. I also showed the effects of deleting the user account from the Azure AD store and how it put Yoni's Office into Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) - even if Yoni installs Office on his personal devices using his organization's Office software assets, once Yoni leaves the org the IT department can deprovision his personal installs. That keeps software asset management cleaner and IT is in control.

    Yoni: Don't forget we also had Mark Russinovich on the show and he explained the security model for online services with Azure AD - in your car. It sounds like they are taking the defense in depth approach to harden the service. And you made him slum it in your car, Jeremy.



    Overview of ID, Authentication and Authorization in Office 2013

    <snip >

    This page has links to 3 posters. The first poster “Identity and Authentication in the Cloud: Office 2013 and Office 365” describes at a high level how to control new user setup in a corporate / small business environment.


    <snip  >

    This page also has a link to the same poster online ( has PDF and Visio versions of the chart). As well, it goes into more detail with information like the following:

    … Because Office is a tool that is used by the same individual in two different roles, the new Office offers two identities with which users can log on to Office 2013:

    • A Microsoft account, which most people use for personal business
    • An organization ID that is assigned by Microsoft, which most people use when doing work for an organization, such as a business, charity, or school.

    The credentials that are used to sign in are recognized as either personal or organizational. That sign-in identity becomes the user's “home realm” and determines which documents the user has access to on SharePoint, SkyDrive, or Office 365 Services for a specific session. Each unique sign in identity is saved in a most-recently used list so that it is easy to switch between identities without leaving the Office experience.


    a personal SkyDrive can be mounted to an organization identity so that personal documents can be accessed at work or school without ever switching identities. Also, when a user authenticates by using an identity, this authentication is valid for all Office applications, not just the application he or she signed in to.


    Two logon types are supported when users sign in to Office 2013, a Microsoft account or an organization ID that is assigned by Microsoft.

    Microsoft account (the user’s individual account). This account, formerly known as Windows Live ID, is the credential that users use to authenticate with the Microsoft network and is frequently used for personal or non-business work, such as volunteer work. To create a Microsoft account, a user provides a user name and password, certain demographic information, and “account proofs,” such as an alternative email address or phone number. For more information about the new Microsoft account, see What is a Microsoft account?.

    An organization ID that is assigned by Microsoft / Office 365 account ID that is assigned by Microsoft. This account is created for business use. An Office 365 account can be one of three types: a pure Office 365 ID, an Active Directory ID, or an Active Directory Federation Services ID. These are described below:

      • Office 365 ID. This ID is created when an admin sets up an Office 365 domain and takes the form <user>@<org>, for example:

      • Organization ID that is assigned by Microsoft that is validated against a user's Active Directory ID. An organization ID that is assigned by Microsoft and validated against Active Directory as follows:
        1. First, a person who has an [on-premise domain]\<user> account attempts to access organization resources.
        2. Next, the resource requests authentication from the user.
        3. Then, the user types in their organization user name and password.
        4. Finally, that user name and password are validated against the organization AD database, the user is authenticated, and is given access to the requested resource.
      • An organization ID that is assigned by Microsoft that is validated against a user’s Active Directory Federation Services ID. An organization ID that is assigned by Microsoft and validated against Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) as follows:
        1. First, one person who has an attempts to access partner organization resources.
        2. Then, the resource requests authentication from the user.
        3. Next, the user types in their organization user name and password.
        4. Then, that user name and password are validated against the organization AD database.
        5. Finally, that same user name and password are passed to the partner’s federated AD database, the user is authenticated, and is given access to the requested resource.

      For on-premises resources, Office 2013 uses the domain\alias user name for authentication. For federated resources, Office 2013 uses the user name for authentication.



      Office 365 Administration / Office 365 Administration Center / Office 365 Portal

      This page summarized methods of administering Office 365


      User Account Management

      Sign-in for Small Business subscriptions

      Users receive Windows Azure Active Directory cloud credentials—separate from other desktop or corporate credentials—for signing into Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services.


      Sign-in options for Enterprise, Midsize Business, Kiosk, Academic, and Government subscriptions

      Office 365 for Enterprise, Midsize Business, Kiosk, Academic, and Government subscriptions has two systems that can be used for user identities:

      • Organizational account (cloud identity)   Users receive Windows Azure Active Directory cloud credentials—separate from other desktop or corporate credentials—for signing into Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services. This is the default identity, and is recommended for small and midsize businesses in order to minimize deployment complexity. Passwords for organizational accounts use the Windows Azure Active Directory password policy.
      • Federated account (federated identity)   For all subscriptions other than Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Small Business Premium, in organizations with on-premises Active Directory that use single sign-on (SSO), users can sign into Office 365 services by using their Active Directory credentials. The corporate Active Directory stores and controls the password policy. For information about SSO, see Single sign-on roadmap.

      The type of identity affects the user experience and user account management options, as well as hardware and software requirements and other deployment considerations.


      Custom domains and identity options

      When you create a new user, the user’s sign-in name and email address are assigned to the default domain as set in the Office 365 admin center. By default, the Office 365 subscription uses the <company name> domain that was created with the Office 365 account. You can add one or more custom domains to Office 365 rather than retaining the domain, and can assign users to sign in with any of the validated domains. Each user’s assigned domain is the email address that will appear on sent and received email messages.

      You can host up to 600 registered Internet domains in Office 365, each represented by a different namespace.

      For organizations using single sign-on, all users on a domain must use the same identity system: either cloud identity or federated identity. For example, you could have one group of users that only needs a cloud identity because they don’t access on-premises systems, and another group of users who use Office 365 and on-premises systems. You would use add two domains to Office 365, such as and, and only set up SSO for one of them. An entire domain can be converted from cloud identity to federated identity, or from federated identity to cloud identity.

      For more information about domains in Office 365, see the Domains service description.

      Creating user accounts

      Office 365 provides five ways to create user accounts, some of which are not available for Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Small Business Premium: Add single User, Bulk upload using *.CSV files, Active Directory Synchronization, Azure Active Directory Module for powershell, Exchange Simple Migration

      Password management

      The policies and procedures for password management depend on the identity system.

      Cloud identity password management:

      When using cloud identities, passwords are automatically generated when the account is created.

      • For cloud identity password strength requirements, see Change your password.
      • To increase security, users must change their passwords when they first access Office 365 services. As a result, before users can access Office 365 services, they must sign into the Office 365 portal, where they are prompted to change their passwords.
    • Admins can set the password expiration policy. For more information for Enterprise and Midsize subscriptions, see Set a user’s password expiration policy. For Small Business, see Change how often passwords expire.
    License management

    A subscription to Office 365 is made up of a number of licenses to a set of services. An administrator assigns a license to each user for each service that user needs access to. For more information about managing licenses, see Assign or remove a license in Office 365 Enterprise, or Assign or remove a license in Office 365 Small Business.


    Office 365 for Business FAQ

    Some general questions are answered


    Deployment guide for Microsoft Office 2013

    Free Download, 147 pg

    Table of Contents

    • Getting help
    • Volume activation of Office 2013
    • Plan volume activation of Office 2013
    • Volume activation methods in Office 2013
    • Deploy volume activation of Office 2013
    • Use tools to configure client computers in Office 2013
    • Customize installations of Office 2013
    • Customize Setup before installing Office 2013
    • Configure a silent installation of Office 2013
    • Create custom configurations of Office 2013
    • Office Customization Tool (OCT) in Office 2013
    • Config.xml file in Office 2013
    • Setup command-line options for Office 2013
    • Setup properties in Office 2013
    • Setup architecture overview for Office 2013
    • Customize the Accessibility Checker for Office 2013
    • Outlook 2013
    • Planning overview for Outlook 2013
    • Choose between Cached Exchange Mode and Online Mode for Outlook 2013
    • Plan a Cached Exchange Mode deployment in Outlook 2013
    • Plan feature customizations in Outlook 2013
    • Choose security and protection settings for Outlook 2013
    • Configure multiple Exchange accounts for Outlook 2013
    • Configure Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook 2013
    • Configure Outlook Anywhere in Outlook 2013
    • Configure junk e-mail settings in Outlook 2013
    • Roll out Office 2013
    • Install Office 2013 from the local installation source
    • Deploy Office 2013 from a network installation point
    • Deploy Office 2013 by using Group Policy computer startup scripts
    • Language in Office 2013
    • Plan for multi-language deployment of Office 2013
    • Customize language setup and settings for Office 2013
    • Add or remove language packs after deployment of Office 2013
    • Mixed language versions of Office 2013
    • Companion proofing languages for Office 2013
    • Language identifiers and OptionState Id values in Office 2013
    • Security in Office 2013
    • Security overview for Office 2013
    • Authentication in Office 2013
    • Plan for Information Rights Management in Office 2013
    • Group Policy for Office 2013
    • Planning for Group Policy in Office 2013


    Sunday, April 21, 2013 8:08 PM
  • Rohn007, i think the issue is most likely to be, that these guys are using Retail/FPP for these small business scenarios.
    This wasn't a complicated solution under Office2010, but it's quite different under Office2013/Office365.

    These guys aren't using a business plan for O365, they are probably just using single/individual signups.
    So, none of that information you've kindly offered is going to be of any use, since it pertains to business plans & Volume Licensing.

    (this is just an educated guess. please correct any misunderstanding I may have)

    (Please take a moment to "Vote as Helpful" and/or "Mark as Answer", where applicable.
    This helps the community, keeps the forums tidy, and recognises useful contributions. Thanks!)

    • Edited by DonPick Sunday, April 21, 2013 10:16 PM
    Sunday, April 21, 2013 10:16 PM
  • Same here; unable to set up Office 2013 Pro retail for a new colleague as it requires an account to be set up. The account wouldn't be a problem but it requires his date of birth and a contact phone number for password retrieval. I don't know the first and he hasn't got the second. 

    I realise that most corporates have a way around this by buying Open Licenses but we are too small and our needs too unpredictable for that approach so this is the only way. I can understand this for 365 and even for Home/ Home Office installations but labelling the product Professional then applying this kind of DRM is madness; as previously stated, all previous versions of Office have been far easier to license and track. 

    This has annoyed me so much, I'm tempted to just give my user Outlook Web Access and Libre Office; any compatibility issues will be no worse than the hassle of licensing 2013 and retraining my user.

    thanks Microsoft.

    Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:24 PM
  • The method David UE-IT mentioned doesn't seem to work. If someone can make it work I'd love a more detailed description. Trying to make a config.xml file with the product key and auto activate set to 1 doesn't seem to do anything with the OEM version. The installer runs but you still end up not activated and being asked for an MS ID.

    Has anyone found a solution to get past this? Besides just cracking it that is? I'm trying to find a legal way to install the software if at all possible. Forcing us to make an account for each install is insane. The alternative of putting all of them under one account makes them almost impossible to manage.

    • Edited by Luke Canada Thursday, May 02, 2013 6:11 AM Didn't realize the reply button on each post doesn't actually work for replying to a post. Had to adjust it so people knew what I was talking about.
    Thursday, May 02, 2013 1:48 AM
  • Wow...this is in no way funny, but I can only laugh.

    Yelp, same problem here.  individual purchase, key requires account association, user created account, but it's jammed up by another account, or some stupid crap.

    HUGE Problem.

    MS don't care.

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013 4:42 PM
  • Just want to tack my name to this furball of office fun.

    Our situation: Too small for VLK, too big for O365. We buy retail keys and install Office on the individual computers. I used to just put in a product key and be done with it. 

    With 2013 I install it, put in my key, and now it won't activate unless I link it to an MS account. Our users don't have or want MS accounts (especially on their Work computers,) and I don't want to set one up for them.

    They need a "skip" button for the MS account link section.

    Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:47 PM
  • We have created over 2000 live ID accounts now, it starts to be boring. We install OEM Offices for our customers computers and our customers WOUN'T install it themself.

    Sadly there is no option to use any other office, hopefullu Open/ Libre Office can be used in future.

    Microsoft has totally forget mid size customers.

    • Edited by IIKU Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:49 PM
    Wednesday, May 29, 2013 12:09 PM
  • We also install MS Office (now 2013) for our customers before we send them out.  (Our customers would NOT like MS Office 365's annual subscription.)  Today, we had 9 pcs for one customer.  Rather than setup 9 accounts, we setup one new, generic email account and one MS account to use for all activations.  Each new KEY we installed gets added to that MS account.  Sounds good, but...

    ALL the KEYs are listed W/O displaying the KEY  - just a basic description of MS Office 2013 - one for each KEY you are trying to install - and you are supposed to select the KEY for this pc your trying to activate!!!   That's right - Blindly Pick One - I dare you - OOPS, no that's the wrong one - now you HAVE to activate by phone!

    Would it be so hard for MS to add a HINT as to which of these 9 KEYs is the one I just typed in??!

    Wednesday, June 05, 2013 4:32 PM
  • I have created a generic account that activates Office, however if someone else logs on to the same machine, it requires reactivating.

    This can only be done on the phone, which is very time consuming. However doing it this way seems to bypass the creation of a Microsoft account.

    The problem I face is installing Office on 50 machines for an upgrade and then having to re-activate it when someone logs on.

    I also believe that re activating can only happen once every 90 days, so what happens if I have temps or employees who leave before 90 days?

    Is the software useless until the time is up?

    Plus there is no requirement for the skydrive feature, and although this can be uninstalled its still a default option for saving.

    Very annoying, what was wrong with the old way of installation?

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013 10:57 AM
  • OMG.

    I am not installing this crap. I have installed it once and I have spent 18 hours trying to figure this out.  We have multiple people using one computer all day.  They can't keep signing in.  We do not want out data moved into the cloud for security purposes but now it is allowed without our permission.  I am uninstalling it.  We will have to find an alternative until Microsoft can answer these questions.

    Don't they even use their own products, surely they would have this same issue?

    And no one responds.

    • Proposed as answer by Marloe Group Sunday, June 23, 2013 6:59 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Marloe Group Sunday, June 23, 2013 6:59 PM
    • Proposed as answer by Marloe Group Sunday, June 23, 2013 6:59 PM
    Sunday, June 23, 2013 2:18 AM
  • I just figured something out.  You have to login as the user in the Domain.  Have not tested this but when you build the user profile it is supposed to be the "ORGANIZATIONAL ID".

    That would work for me.

    I was at this all night, could not tell you where I read that.

    • Proposed as answer by Marloe Group Sunday, June 23, 2013 7:01 PM
    Sunday, June 23, 2013 7:01 PM
  • You are right. it's crazy and a complete waste of time to create an account for each user. I hope microsoft does something about it.
    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 3:48 PM
  • You can download a copy of the retail backups from this site: the links to the downloads are directly to digital River and MS.  I've not tested the retail backups with the retail keys yet but no reason it shouldn't work.  Links are all above board.

    • Edited by Luke_KUK Thursday, July 04, 2013 11:34 AM spelling
    Thursday, July 04, 2013 11:13 AM
  • Luke_KUK, I tried this... Downloaded Business Retail image and it still asks me for a microsoft account to link to... 

    This is so absurd... Has anyone else found a way around this yet that I am missing??

    I cant imagine trying to keep track of all of the accounts I will need to make... For nothing... 


    • Edited by TheExoduss Friday, July 19, 2013 6:39 PM Forgot quote so added Name of poster.
    Friday, July 19, 2013 6:38 PM
  • Having to subscribe to a Microsoft Account to activate oem Office is ridiculous.  Is it not good enough that our customer buys the product?  Stop the nonsense!  With every policy change such as this you drive good channel partners to alternative hassle free non Microsoft Products.

    A solution, add a checkbox or "Skip" box to bypass the creation of A Microsoft Account.  If my customer wants the fluff or Skydrive, they will subscribe on their own.

    This year we celebrate 30 years in the Computer Industry.  Microsoft you need to wake up and listen to your partners.  The path you have chosen to take with partner alienation has proven itself once again with your Windows 8, Surface, Vista and Small Business Server business decisions.  When you listen you can produce a good product (Windows 7, XP).  Go it alone?  How is that working for you?

    Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:54 PM
  • We haven't found any solution yet either and it is getting increasingly frustrating.  I'm sure Microsoft are getting lots of accounts set up with DOB 1/1/2000 and admin email addresses that are never viewed.

    Same issue with Windows 8 as well, not every home user wants a Microsoft Account or to sign in every time they boot up their laptop!

    Come on Microsoft, I am sure if you actually look at this data you are collecting you will find over 50% is utter rubbish as people don't like the Big Brother attitude.

    Friday, July 26, 2013 12:41 PM
  • Same problem here. That's really annoying to create live ID for each user. And what is even more stupid is this that I can't anymore save product keys from Office 2013 or Windows 8 with programs like Nirsoft ProduKey.

    Microsoft, please answer - this is an example:

    I prepare new computer with office 2013 for employee John Smith and I create live ID

    After 2 years John gets new computer, but his old one will get somebody else. So how can I transfer John's license to new user?

    No way, right?

    Saturday, August 03, 2013 10:15 PM
  • I've just finished a small install (5 new copies of 2013 home and business)and it was a time consuming nightmare.  I've run into the same issues that have been discussed above.  I don't know about everyone else, but most of my customers don't have a direct fiber link to the internet, so I have to plan on more labor for each install I do.   Imagine how big of a pain this will be in a couple of years when MS forces everyone to office365 and requires them to work online.  No one is going to have a clue what their MS login info is. It seems to me that they're making us create MS accounts for that eventuality.  
    Tuesday, August 06, 2013 6:20 PM
  • This is absolutely ridiculous!

    We are a small company with limited internet connection speed.  First I buy Office 2013 Home & Business 2013 and do not get a disk, so I have to download it (AGAIN) as I had to for the other two copies of Office we purchased recently.  Fine.  I then see there is an option to download a 'backup disk' image file, great, so I wait 5 hours for that to download and install it on the client machine that needs Office.  Then it comes to activation.....  Why would you need to link an Office BUSINESS edition install to one user account!?  When many people will potentially use this PC??  So I create a pointless 'activation' account and eventually it's activated.  But now I have been sitting here for two hours with Office frozen with the message - 'Office may appear unresponsive... We're streaming a few required files in the background.  This shouldn't take long'.  So what was on the disk then!?  And how long am I supposed to wait?!

    Sorry this isn't a very constructive post but I am extremely frustrated with what used to be a very simple straight forward task in Office 2010.  I can only assume MS want to put people off buying this at all and move to Office 365... but all it's doing is making me not want to use MS products ever again.

    • Proposed as answer by Kjaer Data ApS Monday, November 04, 2013 10:11 AM
    Tuesday, August 13, 2013 11:07 AM
  • Jup, same problem. It's aggrevating and it's getting on my nerves every time I have to do this. Who the hell came up with this system? It's idiotic.
    Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:34 AM
  • Very poor move on MS. IO had a client return 10 copies since they did not want to go through the hassle. They are on Open Office now.
    Friday, August 16, 2013 4:06 PM
  • Is it possible to activate an OEM install without having to associate it to an online account? This seems like a pain to have to write these down and set up accounts for each PC we roll out!

    I came to this forum hoping something has changed as our company, like every other IT firm I discuss this with, have been looking for a proper solution as this method has been a huge time waster for us. We initially used our company account to activate client software as they don't want to deal with this new Microsoft problem (and it is a huge problem) or they don't want employees stealing licenses as other IT firms have complained about, but then we had an issue where one company was able to see another company's data.

    We've now made it our company policy to install OpenOffice (potentially switching to LibreOffice) on every new system as a means of avoiding this issue. It's been a slow transition but clients have been relatively pleased to avoid Microsoft licensing costs.

    • Proposed as answer by ThierryPon Friday, November 14, 2014 7:48 PM
    Friday, August 16, 2013 9:08 PM
  • I feel all the pain expressed here by others and made the same mistakes. The first 10+ activations I used MY Microsoft account for PCs we were setting up for customers. We had to do a re-install and was hit with the "which installation link in the MS Account belongs to which machine?"

    Here is what we do now:

    I created a new domain name specifically to hold the activations. Let's call it "" I created a mailbox called

    I created a "catch-all" email address for that domain so anything sent to will automatically go to

    We create a separate Microsoft account for each new PC. We make the First Name equal to the computer serial number. We make the email address equal to the We make the passwords all the that all our techs know to use. Other values in the profile really don't matter.

    We have to do the email ownership verification, but the catch-all email setup helps make that easy. The tech logs into the "Licenses@" mailbox and does the verify.  We can then download the SETUP.EXE

    If we ever need to download the installation stub we can login to the Microsoft Account using the standard password and get the SETUP.EXE.

    A hitch would be when/if we need to move the activation to a replacement computer with a different serial number.  That hasn't happened yet but we have a spreadsheet at the ready where we can note when a redeployment of Office 2013 was moved from one serial number to another.

    I hope this helps someone out there looking for a "system".

    Sunday, August 18, 2013 11:12 PM
  • Same issues here.  Absolute joke.  Does anyone know of an alternative to Office, is open office any good.  We sell hundreds of Office Licences a year, and I would be happy to take this business away from Microsoft unless they fix it soon.  The only way to show them there mistake.
    Friday, August 23, 2013 9:06 AM
  • I agree.  This is absolutely ridiculous.  I work for a computer services company.  Our customers expect us to install Office for them.  I'm not going to create Microsoft accounts for all of them, so they're all tied to my account, and my email address shows up at the top right of all of their Office 2013 products.  Microsoft is really short sighted and is only ever concerned w/ their Enterprise customers.

    I'm just going to stop selling Office and installing LibreOffice and Thunderbird.

    Thursday, September 12, 2013 4:54 PM
  • I think I may have found an answer we are considering stopping reselling the Office product - the profit is just not worth the hassle.


    • Proposed as answer by ThierryPon Friday, November 14, 2014 8:08 PM
    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 4:53 PM
  • Nuff said! I am doing the same. This is absolute insanity on Microsoft's part. They're tying to alienate small businesses that used to support their products it seems.
    Wednesday, October 09, 2013 12:40 AM
  • Looks like I am going to have to install Office 2010 instead since this activation scheme for 2013 is not-workable for us.  It's a shame because we are trying to upgrade from XP/Office 2003 and were hoping to finally be "current" for once.
    Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:13 PM
  • Same problems here. This licensing model simply sucks. Way to lose customers MS. Rolling out Windows8/Surface in the workstation arena was bad enough.

    I don't want to know what's next.

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013 3:05 AM
  • HI there everyone,

    just loging in, in case someone will find out solution to this nightmare :-)

    Dear Lord,please grant me the ability, to punch users into face over standard TCP/IP.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 1:04 PM
  • What a NIGHTMARE!

    My IT clients expect full service with their computers and software installed and ready to go.

    Office 2013. NO MORE.

    I guess I am going to find 2010 on the black market as this is ridiculous.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 3:45 PM
  • We are mid-size and looking for this solution as well. Right now I guess we are just going to have to stick to office 2010.
    Wednesday, October 23, 2013 1:54 PM
  • Same problem, we support and supply equipment to small business's but creating a MS account for each laptop is a nightmare.
    Wednesday, October 30, 2013 1:35 PM
  • MS software gets sh*ttier with each new version. Will be moving our clients to other alternatives.
    Monday, November 04, 2013 7:46 PM
  • Ditto on the frustration from another small IT company trying to activate PKC licenses for our customers before delivery.  They could have at least left the simple button to change the license somewhere in the product.  I can't believe 2013 can't be activated without logging into a Microsoft account.

    For what it is worth (in case it helps someone else), there is a utility called "Office Key Remover" that is supposed to remove the key, thus forcing office to prompt you to enter a new one.  It says it will work for Office 2013, but it didn't work for me...could be because I am using Windows 8 Pro...not sure.  Here is the link:
    Saturday, November 09, 2013 7:30 PM
  • The only way that I can find to put a working copy 2013 on a customers computer is to download a pirate version, or use Libre Office.  It appears that MS is throwing away the mid and small size business, and small consultant market entirely.

    You can install the OEM version, but to actually get the thing working you still have to register it to an email account, and it can't be yours or it's basically you stealing your customers office licenses.  Right now I'm just buying licenses off ebay, or amazon for 2010, and telling customers to avoid office 2013, and consider switching to an alternative, because office is no longer catering to their business size.

    Saturday, November 09, 2013 9:57 PM
  • This answer is trash max.   I have researched the OEM Reseller system, and you still have to register office to an email address to get it to work.
    Saturday, November 09, 2013 10:01 PM
  • Im in the Exact Same Boat !

    1. I called Microsoft and asked for Volume Licensing ( 25 - 50 licenses ) and was told by the Microsoft rep that there wasn't any such thing anymore.

    2. I decided to do 1 generic account for the 30 computers I had to activate at this clients business to find out the same thing, ALL the KEYs are listed W/O displaying the KEY  - just a basic description of MS Office 2013

    So I'm sure I ended up using the same key on different computers which makes me think : Since Microsoft wants to play this kind of game, How about we use the "Activation Key" ( not the key provided with the software ) from the account, under "Burn a disc" for all the computers. Pay 1 license for XXX Computers.....

    Sunday, November 10, 2013 6:32 PM
  • I too am frustrated by this issue.  There are literally millions of small businesses in America and if we tell them not to buy product x they listen.
    Monday, November 11, 2013 10:48 PM
  • Hi, Just wanted to add to the "I'm fed up with this" list, as an IT reseller, I initally did the same as a lot of other people and used our company MS logon to allow me to install office onto client's PCs (the first bunch of PC's I setup didn't yet have users ready for them so couldn't setup a new ms account) only to find I now have a whole load of "Office Professional 2013" and "Office Home and Business 2013"'s listed but now idea which one relates to which customer and seeming no way to find out.

    If MS would at least let you rename or add a comment to the entrys it would be helpful or see the product key online so you could match it to the PKC.

    A lot of customers aren't going to want to give out the personal details required to setup a new MS account (and rightly so) and would most likely forgot the login details by the time a re-install is required anyway.

    Crazy, MS sort it out!

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:20 PM
  • Does anyone know the legalities of installing a pirate hacked version of office, then just injecting the correct license key so it's no longer a pirate copy?  I'm thinking this may be the only way to get around the dump that Microsoft has taken on small businesses here.
    Friday, November 15, 2013 3:22 AM
  • Just adding my name to the list of angry people who've had the misfortune to be saddled with installing this crap
    Friday, November 15, 2013 1:05 PM
  • That's a good idea, thanks.  It's a shame that we have to do it this way.
    Friday, November 15, 2013 9:05 PM
  • In OEM you get a key code right?

    There should be a box in there once you install the app to enter in a key code:

    Mind you this is there for the 'standalone' products, not the Office 365 subscriptions (that I can see)

    Unfortunately TechNet isn't coming back, sorry folks :-(

    Saturday, November 16, 2013 6:35 PM
  • Even if you use the box to enter the keycode instead, it will allow you to install the software, but won't allow you to activate it without assigning it to a Microsoft account later on in the process.

    It absolutely sucks! I check this thread every time I need to install a new copy in the hope that something changes. The only thing that seems to have changed lately is that you can now only assign one product key to a Microsoft account, and therefore have to set up an account for each installation.

    I guess it's Microsoft's way of forcing people into Office 365 :(

    • Proposed as answer by KorRay Wednesday, November 20, 2013 3:23 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by KorRay Wednesday, November 20, 2013 3:24 PM
    Tuesday, November 19, 2013 10:35 PM
  • In Switzerland we have problems with Big Brother at the moment.
    And also with your government about finances.
    My customers would keep quiet for now. :)

    Microsoft please do not do like Big Brother.

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013 3:39 PM
  • Another vote from an IT reseller (dealing with SMEs) who thinks this whole Office activation setup is madness.

    Somebody sits in their ivory tower at MS, makes decisions and never actually speaks to the people who have to work with their crazy systems.   Office 2010 was great for pre-installing.  Now it's extra time wasted faffing with fake MS accounts - I wonder how many Mr Father Christmas or Daffy Ducks have activated Office licenses?

    The majority of our customers buy a PC with Office and run it for 3 to 5 years.   They want Office at the lowest possible price, so we offer PKC.  VLK licenses don't offer them anything extra over PKC.  Sure, Office on VLK makes our life easier but we, as a reseller, are meant to be helping the customer.  Mr or Mrs Customer doesn't want to pay twice the price for Office just to make our life eaiser.

    I've tried to ask questions to MS OEM Internet Business Support ( - they just don't answer.

    There is a similar thread about Office activation on the MS Partner forum and somebody from Microsoft support suggested paying Microsoft to use their consultancy service for help.  Oh my.

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013 5:45 PM
  • The fun thing about all this you have Windows XP end of life. We have clients buying 12+ machines at a time. They order OEM Office 2013 because they don't want to pay 3 times as much for an open license (some do buy it though).

    As you know, you need a live account for office 2013 and if you don't have one, you have to create one. But did you know you can only create 3 live accounts from the same IP per day? What if you have 12 copies of office eh? Being a large IT company, we can RDP ourselves around this butt it's a massive pain in the backside.

    See Microsoft also failed to consider that companies do not want their product registered to their employees. Employees get fired, quit etc etc and the email addresses will be deleted. So we never use any users email address for a live account so some times we also have to create or accounts just to registry the live accounts. Or often we create email aliases for 1 account.

    When it's all said and done, we write the email address and password to the live account on the key card provided and install the machine for our client.

    Sunday, December 08, 2013 6:10 PM
  • I agree with all of you. This whole MS account thing is causing a major headache not only for the business customers but for some of our home users as well. It's bad enough that they try to trick you with the Windows 8.1 upgrade to sign up for an account if you didn't know the workaround but this is just plain ridiculous. Not only does it leave the OEM's in a pickle but it is just like taking a blatant crap on the business customers. Thanks MS. Keep up the good work. I'm sure your profit margins will soon reflect your outstanding work.
    Tuesday, December 24, 2013 3:08 PM
  • Hello

    Same Problem!

    I have an order of 60 Notebook with 60 Office 2013. The customer want Office 2013 PME Box activation and not the licenses.

    Regarding the problem I had to install Office 2013 for other companies because of I m obliged to create Microsoft Account to install them, I propose to my customer to install Open Office which is free of charge and compatible with most office application.  Also my customer made a profit of 60x199,00€ without vat be!!!

    I Work with Microsoft since 1989 like reseller, regarding Office 2013, Office 365, Windows 8 RT, 8PRo and 8.1 it is the begin of the end!!

    Total regression


    Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:42 AM
  • Hello Everyone,

    I've always been Microsoft-centric but this latest round of stupidity has cured me.  Microsoft - take your stupid activation process and SkyDrive and get stuffed. 

    The Office Professional licences I convinced my clients to purchase will be returned and I will find them another solution - either Office 2010 or Open Office or who Corel still in business?

    I'm done.


    Thursday, January 30, 2014 7:02 AM
  • So what is the final outcome of this query ?

    I have 10 OEM Office 2013 installed that will not register online.  

    What do I do , create one generic Live ID and complete the registration for all 10 licences on the same account?


    Monday, February 03, 2014 6:10 PM
  • Has this really been going on for 9 months with out a solution? 

    Max Meng posted on this but did not understand the question or gave us the wrong links. 

    How do you activate OEM office 2013 with out the need to create/associate to an account?

    Is there a something different i could buy other then open licenses? I sell my computers so SPLA is not an option.

    Monday, February 03, 2014 10:25 PM
  • Same problem here...

    there is no solution yet? how to activate Office Home and Business without Microsoft account?

    i have some clients with 4 or more Office 2013.... i registered and keys on same  Microsoft account (created by me... example, something like or

    Friday, February 07, 2014 4:27 PM
  • I'm having the same issue here - 50 copies of Office Home & Business to install, meaning 50 manual activations need to be done :(

    I just wanted to clarify a few things to help people understand things a bit better. They don't solve the activation issue.

    Microsoft released 2 types of setups for Office 2013

    • "Click to Run" (C2R) for Retail/OEM/Home
    • MSI for Volume License customers

    If you have C2R then you can use the free Office Deployment Tool to install Office from a network share to save you downloading it each time

    Tuesday, March 04, 2014 11:19 AM
  • Adding my name to this list...

    Microsoft get your sh*t together... I'm tired of this nonsense. The Reason why I exist is because we deliver a service, by preconfiguring a machine! Now the customer has to do this him or herself, what a load of rubbish.

    I called microsoft today and the person on the phone told me that this problem is indeed stupid.
    He said it was an absolute horror and he was called everytime with this problem.

    But the Dutch service center of Microsoft can't do anything about it.

    So let's write microsoft USA with complains!!!!

    Worst business move ever! The team who made this should be fired and also pay a fee!

    Friday, March 07, 2014 4:03 PM
  • ^^^^ Microsoft has to have a lot of monkey's running these operations.

    Ok we purchased a bunch of retail copies, we are assumed to be the general populace who they want to track with their marketing garbage, fine.  But what if I am a single user installing this product on my 3 home PCs?  Even in this scenario, I can't even activate my product because there is no differentiation for the same product attached to the same MS account!

    When Google bankrupts MS we will all be laughing singing "I Told You So"

    Monday, March 24, 2014 6:58 PM
  • No, it's not possible because office 2013 is the worst piece of garbage Microsoft has vomited since clippy.  I can't even register a key to my account because I have 5 2013 licenses on it already.  It seems like microsoft is trying to force a different account for every license.  Every time I try to register a new key I buy it won't put it on my account, then when I try and register 2013 on the PC it flags as pirated.  Every time I have to issue a support ticket to Microsoft to fix it.  Worst piece of garbage I have ever installed.

    I'm looking at a bunch of 2007 licenses on ebay someone is selling for 50 bucks a pop, and I'll probably bite on 40 of those, the 2 hour nightmare every office installation is causing me is just not worth it.

    Sunday, April 06, 2014 10:08 PM
  • You haven't been clear max, because your a Microsoft shill spewing out the horrible answer Microsoft has given you to spew.  The correct answer is one of the following 4.

    1.  You have to sign up a new account for every single license of Microsoft you purchase a key-card for unless you want hours of hassle, and annoyance, consider making trash email accounts at some temporary email service for this crap

    2.  You have to open a support ticket and have a microsoft rep remote control into every computer and install the software.

    3.  You tell your customers to kiss your rear and deal with it themselves.

    4.  You install a better office product such as openoffice.

    Sunday, April 06, 2014 10:10 PM
  • Same problem. This post is more than one year old?!

    I'll try to get new customers use OpenOffice instead of MS.

    • Edited by Marnix- Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:21 AM
    Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:16 AM
  • For small IT companies a work around following on from the above suggestion but a little simpler.

    Create new domain "" or similar. One catchall email address.

    Use this to verify the new email accounts., generic password.

    Use to licence customers software. Write address and password on product key card and tell customer if they lose it it's their problem. Create a spreadsheet backup if you feel like playing nicely.

    BTW, I notice the UK government are now recommending Libre office when they send an ODF format document.

    AJ, Teknicare

    Alan Johnson CITP MBCS

    Monday, April 14, 2014 6:12 PM
  • Only solution you can do is to make an account called etc, and just register the software under seperate garbage accounts.  

    Garbage accounts for a garbage product.  Of course if the customer ever wants to reinstall because of a bad hard drive or something they are probably screwed, but they can cry to microsoft about that.

    Or just tell them to use google docs or something if they can get away with it.  I've been buying old versions of 2010 off of ebay to avoid dealing with this junk, but I'm about to start telling customers that it will be an additional 90 dollars to install office on machines due to the messy headache it is now.
    Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:09 PM
  • Yes, that is the way and it works for me, thanks!

    James Zheng

    Saturday, April 26, 2014 2:28 AM
  • Let me start out by saying, "Hi". Let me continue with "I truly understand your frustration. Seriously,  though it is not a problem that myself nor anyone I've ever met, I understand that acknowledgement of the frustration you are feeling can make a difference in whether you consider the final outcome a solution or a pain in the rear workaround. I have been there. I do fully understand. 

    As for my credentials, I have been building working networked computer systems since I was approximately 8. I started out with a VIC20 with dual cassette tape drives.  This spin turned into a Commodore 64 with a built in screen,  and an onboard 5 1/4" floppy disk drives. It had a keyboard that attached to the front protecting the whopping 5 inch color screen and disk drive for portability.  Did I mention the fact that this was a "portable" computer.  It weighed in at a measly 23 pounds? However,  I digress and there has been enough of that in this forum already.

    I've been building PCs since my remarkable find of an "IBM  compatible" 8088 with a 128 MB HDD at a thrift store for $5. Coupled with a monitor rescued from a junk heap I was in business.  Digressing again... Sorry

    Recently,  I worked as ab counter agent with a well known and (for the most part), respectable consumer electronics and computer services brand... let us call it the Nerd Herd. I performed quick over the counter repairs or checked them in for service. One of my other duties was to set up new computers for clients purchasing new computers so when they got home all the head to do was plug it in and turn it on.  Part of the process was installing Office on these PCs.  The is no way around installing office 2013 without linking it to a MS account. Like all modern solutions,  Microsoft is pushing their cloud based, subscription service.  Part of this tactic,  is making the one time installation as convoluted as possible. Not only that,  they advertise 365 and is features while it is installing the version you just bought and paid for. There is even a video touting its superiority that cannot be skipped. So,  to fully set up a client's new PC,  we had to have the client sitting the awkwardly while this process is in progress. Then there is the joy of either signing into our creating a new ms account. This could sometimes take 20 minutes or more with 50 answers of "I don't know" in the process.  

    I changed jobs in December, and thankfully this is a position where I don't have to deal with people who don't know what Google is our how to use it (I so wish I was kidding). Ib dots have to install Office Professional 2013 on my personal laptop,  as I needed A bit more functionality than the license that my company has installed on our work laptops.  There is no way that I have found to bypass this step,  and when you setup a new computer with Windows 8/8.1, it is fairly easy to mess things up if you use two different Microsoft accounts for the login and the office activation.  My personal Office Account is attached to a mostly dead account with no way to move the activation without switching to 365.

    I hope that I'm not just another person copying and pasting irrelevant material to the question you asked. And as always,  remember Microsoft's unofficial motto: If it isn't broken, fix it until it is. 

    Thursday, June 05, 2014 1:35 PM
  • remember Microsoft's unofficial motto: If it isn't broken, fix it until it is. 

    Love the motto! Is true! 

    Just going to put myself down on this growing list. Pain in the assets this activation for 2013.
    One poster way above me had it right. If the user wants Skydrive or Onedrive and the cloud fluff then let them do it on their time. Let us builders and installers and Admins do our job! Which shouldn't be spending time setting up accounts for each bloody install of 2013.  

    Monday, July 07, 2014 6:48 PM
  • Yet more Microsoft hoops to jump through, I'm lucky I'm in the situation where I'm setting up installs for users within the same company - but that also means I need to cover the possible future reinstall as I'll be the one doing it! ;)

    Was previously a system builder so know all the headaches this will be causing, have had a look around for an activation crack and turned up a blank... Also wonder about the legalities of cracking the activation part of software you legally own? Surely that's allowed? Like making a CD/DVD backup of installation media (to use in place of the original to prevent loss/damage)?

    Back on track (nobody cares about our woe's we all want 'solutions')...

    I've setup dummy alias for these activations, 1 new one every batch of PC's, I then just forward the mail to my mailbox. Use a generic password and write the PC-name & serial no on the keycards I have (then stored with other install media and documentation for all PC's). I'll worry about 'choosing' the right code when (if) I need to reinstall/repair in future (I won't worry, reinstalls will be rare & I won't care about using the correct code too much - if anything I'll generate new installation ID's and call MS to activate).

    It's not tidy, takes time and it does require a certain number of telephone activations, but it works.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 9:34 AM
  • It's amazing to read these comments where people are talking about setting up multiple mailaccounts and going as far as creating more than a thousand mailadresses of each individual installation. This is unnecessary and a very strange approach.

    Here's what you do:

    Are you an OEM and do you ship computers to individuals?

    Install Office 2013 without any code. Do not activate.

    You can also do an offline install of Click to Run or install the OPK. The latter is prefered I presume. 

    If you do ship the computer with Office included don't activate it for them. Just provide instructions. The FPP comes with instructions but if you prefer you could write your own. 

    Are you a company which uses FPP / Retail licenses?

    If you choose not to use Volume Licensing (which makes sense financially for smaller deployments) then you can also do a complete offline install for Office 2013. You can even make the install silent by making use of config.xml.

    You do install Click to Run or the OPK but do a full offline install of Office 2013. 

    Now Office still needs to be activated with a retail key. Just like before (Office 2010, Office 2007, Office 2003). With the FPP you are provided with an installation key but not the activation key. So, as a company, what you should do is the following;

    Create one (1) Microsoft account for your company. You probably already have that. Especially if you already have any VL and / or are in the OLP.

    As an administrator, sign in at Add the purchased activation key to this one account.

    Now, in this one Microsoft Account you have an overview of all products and can retrieve all individual activationkeys. 

    So in a way this is even better than before Office 2013! Since now, as a company with retail licenses you have the benefit of being able to retrieve all productkeys from an online account. Just like what you get with Open Licenses, but not as fancy.

    You still need to activate each installation individually, just like it always has been. But you can use VAMT for that just like before.

    In short:

    • Install Office 2013 (Full installation - Silent install with config.xml if you prefer)
    • Either on a per-computer basis or create one image with Office included (mdt, sysprep, wds and such)
    • Get FPP, Enter installationkey in under one company-owned Microsoft account (
    • Export all activationkeys from
    • Either activate manually or by using VAMT

    You do need to remember which activation key you use at which computer. But that has also always been the case. So just keep this info in an Excel-sheet or other assetmanagement system you may have.


    Before Office 2013 you also had to do al this. Then you may have had 50 different OEM packages laying about on which you wrote i.e. the serialnumber for the associated computer.

    Yes, there is a difference. Yes, you do need to take a small extra step in order to retrieve the activationkey but in return for that you get one company-owned account which holds all product keys a la Volume License Center.

    The difference however is very small. People who setup hundreds of accounts (on fake mailadresses even!) should be very ashamed of themselves.  


    The company I work for provides IT services. We do ship out lots of desktops with Office OEM for smaller companies. Each company we work for has a Microsoft account. If not, we create one for them. This account is in the name of the customer (i.e.;

    On site we log on to using this account; add the installation key and retrieve the activation key.

    We maintain this information in either a document or just print it out. Whatever the customer prefers.

    We prepare the computers with a full installation of Office that just needs to be activated on site. No additional installs necessary. 

    Should we ever need to retrieve a key then we can just logon to Customers are always losing packages anyway. In a years time it's futile to ask for the original packaging associated with the computer.

    I felt that I should speak up because most of the previous comments are just plain, nonsensical Microsoft bashing without merit.

    • Proposed as answer by RolfLobker Sunday, August 10, 2014 9:22 AM
    Sunday, August 10, 2014 8:59 AM
  • I dont much like the way it is but its not that tough either.

    You will need one account to activate one or many license keys. A single ms account accepts several license key activations, so you dont need to create as many dummy accounts, catchall addresses or anything like it.

    The list of activations will grow, but is not very informative. No computer names or dates or license keys that you can identify. Of course, there is a way, this is how you can retrieve your keys:

    If... you need the product key, you can find it on your account page. Under the Account Options, click Install from a disk. On the next screen, click on I have a disk, and then click on the View your product key button to display the install product key.

    Hope this helped

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014 5:20 PM
  • I myself have installed multiple licenses under one MS account.

    The problem however, is that it was not designed to be installed this way. Under the Microsoft account that is created, it will list all the products associated/installed with the account, but it does not show the activation keys or allow for a description to be entered for the machine it was installed on. Your comment that you "can retrieve all individual activationkeys" from this one account is FALSE.

    What you get is a list of multiple "Office 2013 Home and Business", but no way of knowing which one is for which machine. What I have determined however, is that the last key entered is always associated with the top listing.

    Saturday, August 16, 2014 5:52 PM
  • I myself have installed multiple licenses under one MS account.

    .... but it does not show the activation keys or allow for a description to be entered for the machine it was installed on. Your comment that you "can retrieve all individual activationkeys" from this one account is FALSE.

    What you get is a list of multiple "Office 2013 Home and Business", but no way of knowing which one is for which machine. What I have determined however, is that the last key entered is always associated with the top listing.

    You can retrieve all individual activation keys. Just like u.jan explained; choose install from disk, I have a disc, retrieve productkey.

    It is true that there is no association-information or machine names. But you never get that. Also not with VLSC. You will need to keep your own records. 

    Yes, the last key entered is the top listing.

    If you maintain more than 10 keys in one environment (corp) then you might want to look into using VAMT. You can put all activation keys in VAMT and keep records. You can also (pre-)add all actitvation keys and user them later on to remotely activate new machines. You do need a domain though

    • Proposed as answer by u.jan Monday, August 25, 2014 11:47 AM
    Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:05 AM
  • Rolf,

    I realize that you can retrieve individual keys by choosing install from disk, but these keys do NOT match the original ones entered from the key card.

    If you look at your key cards and compare them to the keys given for the install from disk option, you will notice that they do not match. I am at a loss to understand why Microsoft assigns different keys then the ones originally entered when the product was initially installed. It makes no sense to me.

    So my comment stands, that the original activation keys can not be retrieved, which makes it difficult to track which in the list goes with which computer.

    Monday, August 25, 2014 4:58 AM
  • I wasnt aware of that VAMT can be used with retail products. I believe this is the answer from MS and not the "tricks" I found. For this, I proposed Rolf's suggestion as answer.
    Monday, August 25, 2014 11:57 AM
  • Jnimble,

    the key registered on the computer does correspond with the key you find there under the install from disk, however it is not the key you have on the keycard, that's correct.  You can get that info with "ospp.vbs /dstatus" - look for the "Last 5 characters of installed product key"

    You find OSPP.vbs in the Office15 prog folder.

    It seems like the retail key we purchase, once is registered with an online account can be thrown away. No matter what you have on the key card, that is not used for activation.

    Friday, August 29, 2014 12:28 PM
  • Activation is a pain, I have lost an afternoon because a repair of office caused it to want to acticvate again and it ill not what ever I do, Been on to Microsoft and still no solution. I have paid for it and now I cannot use it.
    Friday, September 05, 2014 6:17 PM
  • Unbelievable - This is the 1st time I have had to install office 2013 home and business. I work for a computer company, so the customer I am working on requires 15 copies on 15 new pc's to be delivered. No way to automate it, have to manually install, and had to create a dummy company live account. Then, as has been mentioned all the licences of the software are listed in the account, without any way of identifying them. What will happen when one fails and needs reloading is anybodies guess. No way would I create a live account for each copy loaded, this would be an administrative nightmare. This may work for home use - but on business machines - its a joke  - IS ANYBODY LISTENING MICROSOFT ?  -
    Thursday, September 18, 2014 2:30 PM
  • Same issues here. MS can burn in hell.
    Thursday, October 23, 2014 6:50 PM
  • It is most unfortunate, that there is no solution to this problem. I am considering advising my clients to utilize Google Docs, instead paying for OEM licensing with MS and the associated strings. 

    Unfortunately a lot of small and medium businesses cannot afford to go Volume, so have to buy OEM.

    With this fiasco, tracking and activation has become monotonous.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014 9:01 PM
  • Me too,

    It is strange that I have been activating about 20 to 25 OEM Office 2013 H&B, the past year, without having to create any MS account. There all Lenovos or Dells that came with an OEM DVD.

    But today I am trying a retail product key and, now, it is trying to force me to create an MS account to activate.

    Why did it let me before?

    I've been installing all of them from PC logged in the same AD domain but also the retail one.

    Friday, November 14, 2014 8:37 PM
  • Nah - Microsoft are as greedy as they are stupid. Soon the whole bunch of wonkers will be out of business.
    Monday, March 09, 2015 2:52 PM
  • I am not impressed with this "feature" that requires a user to provide their eMail address to use locally installed software.  It has wasted so much of my time that really should be allocated for more important things, and lately Windows 8.1 requires that all new local user accounts have a valid eMail address.  What if the user doesn't have internet access?  The answer seems to be that they can't install Microsoft Office 2013 or 365, and they can't get an account on Windows 8.1.

    I've been using for many years now, and recently I've been using as well, and both have been excellent products that also happen to be free (and open source) without requiring any registration or activation.  Granted, there are some more advanced features in Microsoft Excel that don't exist in OpenOffice's or LibreOffice's "Calc" (spreadsheet) application, but there are a lot of developers involved in these products who I suspect would love to get some feedback from Microsoft Excel users about what these advanced features do and/or some examples that can hopefully help to get these features included in future versions.

    I'm quite frustrated with the waste of time I keep encountering with Microsoft's desire to force in other products like SkyDrive and Bing as well.  As someone else pointed out earlier, these shouldn't be forced on users, and I agree because that's not the normal part of an "Office Software" applications suite.  I believe that users will put up with this for a while, but there will come a point where Microsoft will start losing a lot of business because of these intrusive practices, and then products like and will start to gain a lot more popularity in a lot less time.

    For the past few years I've been pre-installing or on new computers and re-installs of the Windows OS, and what I've found is that some clients aren't bothering to purchase Microsoft Office because all that most of them really need is word processing and spreadsheet functionality, which these free products provide very well.  And since many home users use a free web-based service like Google's gMail for their eMail, I find that I only need to install Mozilla ThunderBird for a few.

    Randolf Richardson -
    Inter-Corporate Computer & Network Services, Inc.
    Beautiful British Columbia, Canada

    Saturday, March 21, 2015 1:11 AM
  • I am trying to upgrade some computers for some students.  I was looking at using Office 2013 or 2016 on these machines, but not now it seems.  This activation headache is a barrier to entry for me in this situation.  Is there not a solution? 
    Wednesday, September 21, 2016 5:42 PM