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Unlicensed Product and activation errors in Office

If your Office apps are not opening and showing "Unlicensed Product" or "Non-commercial use/ Unlicensed Product" in the title bar, it means your Office products have been disabled. Once this occurs, you will need to take a few steps to identify the problem and then fix it to reactivate your products.

How to Resolve Unlicensed Product Activation Errors

Step 1: Sign in to the right account

Before you can access your Microsoft Office products, you need to make sure you are signed in. This means not only logging in to your Microsoft account but making sure that it is the correct account that the products were bought on.

Step 2: Check for multiple copies of office

If there is more than one copy of Microsoft Office on your device you will not be able to open your Office apps. You will need to remove any extra copies to fix this error.

Step 3: Check the current status of Microsoft Office 365 subscription

If you have a subscription for Microsoft Office 365, it is important to confirm that your subscription is current. If it isn’t you will need to renew it.

  1. Close all Office apps.
  2. Go to your Services & subscriptions page.
  3. If prompted, choose Sign in and enter the Microsoft account email and password associated with your Microsoft 365 subscription.
  4. Review the details under the Subscriptions heading or Cancelled subscriptions heading.
  5. If your subscription has expired, you will need to review it.
  6. After you renew your subscription, you can restart your Office apps as needed. If Office still won't activate, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Activate office troubleshooter

If none of the other steps have resolved the issue, you should activate your troubleshooter for additional help.

Sign In To Your Correct Account

It is important to make sure that you are not only signed into office but that it is the right account if you have more than one. The account you need to use is either the account that was used to purchase the Office products or the account that in under a license.

Try logging out and logging in again or trying another account if you have one. Once you’ve signed in you will either be able to access your Office apps, or you will see a message saying “We could not find any Office products”.

Look For More Than One Copy Of Office

While it may not be obvious, you can sometimes have more than one copy of office on your device. If you accidentally downloaded another copy of Office or forgot to delete your old one, this will make it impossible to access your Office apps.

To check this, you will need to go into the Control Panel and check how many copies of the windows you have on your device. Once the extra copy is removed you should be able to access your Office products.

  1. Different versions of Microsoft Office require different steps after accessing the Control Panel to remove you unnecessary copies.
  • For Windows 7 you will need to access your Control Panel via the Start Button. You can then select Uninstall a Program.
  • For Windows 8 or 8.1 you can select the Start Button and click on the Control Panel. Then you will need to select Programs and Features
  • For Windows 10 you can simply type Control Panel into the taskbar search box. After you submit your search you can then select Control Panel and then click on Programs and Features.

    2. In the Programs and Features window, you will have access to a search box. In that search box, you should enter the words Microsoft Office and then hit enter. All of the copies of Microsoft Office on your device will be listed in the results.

    3. If you have more than one copy of Microsoft Office on your device you will need to select the unnecessary copies and right-click on them. Once the selection menu pops up you will need to click on Uninstall.

    4. The process of Uninstalling the unneeded copies will then begin. You will need to restart your computer once prompted to finish the process. You will also need to open an Office app and log in if it prompts you.

Make Sure Your Subscription Is Current

If you have a subscription to Microsoft Office, it is important to make sure that that subscription is still active. If you let the subscription lapse it will remove your ability to access your Office products. 

You will see a message saying "We couldn't find any Office product" if the subscription is canceled. You will need to renew your Office 365 subscription to regain access.

If you want to see more specific information on the status of your subscription you should do the following:

  1. Exit out of any open Office apps
  2. Open your web browser and go to the Microsoft website
  3. Go to the Services and Subscriptions page
  4. If you are not already signed in you will need to do so. Make sure it is the account that is linked to your 365 subscription
  5. You will need to look under the Subscriptions or Cancelled Subscriptions headings
  6. This will give you the information as to whether or not your subscription is current. If it is not you will need to renew it by following the Renew Office 365 prompts.

Use Your Troubleshooter

After you have done the first three steps if you are still having difficulty you will need to access your troubleshooting function. You can do this by accessing the Microsoft website and selecting Office 365, Office 2019 and Office 2016 or Office 2013 and select Troubleshooting.

For Office 365:

  1. You will need to first find the Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 and click the Download button
  2. You will then be given a drop-down list of web browsers for you to select your preferred browser
  3. A dialog box will open that says Application Install. You will need to click on the Install button
  4. You will need to agree to the Microsoft Service Agreement and then select Yes to allow the app to make changes to your device.
  5. You can then follow the troubleshooting prompts

For Office 2019 and Office 2016:

  1. Select the download button under the Activation Troubleshooter page for 2019 and 2016
  2. Choose your preferred web browser in the drop-down list
  3. This will allow you to run the Activation Troubleshooter and look for alternative reasons for the issues you are having.

How to fix unlicensed Microsoft Office Errors by yourself

If you do not use a 365 subscription, but instead a one time purchase or you were not able to reach a solution with the above steps you can also troubleshoot manually.

Check Your Computer’s Time, Date, and Time Zone

If your settings for your date, time, and time zone are not correct on your computer, the activation of your Office software might fail. 

If you are not sure how to check if these settings are correct, you can follow these few steps below for your operating system.

How to set Date and Time in Windows 10

  1. First, close out of all the office apps.
  2. From the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, you will want to select the date or the time.
  3. A small menu will pop up and you can then select a date and time settings.
  4. From the settings menu, select "Set time automatically." If you see "set time zone automatically," you want to select that as well. If the option to set your time zone automatically does not show, you want to make sure that your local time zone is shown in the time zone area.
  5. After you have done this, you can restart any Office app.

How to set Date and time in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1

  1. Start by closing all Office apps.
  2. From the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, you will want to select the date or the time.
  3. In the small menu that pops up, select “Change date and time settings.”
  4. If you have noticed that your date or time is wrong, select “Change date and time” and correct the incorrect date and time settings.
  5. If the time zone is wrong, select “Change time zone” and select your local time zone.
  6. Once done, restart the Office apps.

How to change time and date in Windows 7

  1. Start by closing all Office apps.
  2. Once you have done that, in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, you will want to select the date or the time.
  3. In the small menu that pops up, select “Change date and time settings.
  4. If you have noticed that your date or time is wrong, select “Change date and time” and correct the incorrect date and time settings.
  5. If you noticed that your time zone is wrong, select “Change time zone” and select your local time zone.
  6. Once you have done that, you may then restart any Office app.

Running Office as an Administrator

If you are having trouble with Office activation failing, you may need to run the software as an administrator in order to fix any present permission issues. To do this, follow these quick few steps below for your operating system.

How to run programs as an administrator in Windows 10

  • First, start by closing all Office apps.
  • In the lower left-hand corner of your screen, click on the Windows Start menu

Windows start menu

  • In the search bar, type in an application name, like Word or Excel. The program icon will appear in the search results.
  • Then right-click the program icon and select the option “Run as administrator.”
  • A dialogue box will pop up and you will select “Yes” to allow Office to run with administrator permissions. 

How to run programs as an administrator in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

  1. First, start by closing all Office apps.
  2. In the lower left-hand corner of your screen, press the Start menu.
  3. In the search bar, type in an application name, like Word or Excel. The program icon will appear in the search results.
  4. Then right-click the program icon and select the option “Run as administrator.”
  5. A dialogue box will pop up and you will select “Yes” to allow Office to run with administrator permissions.

How to run programs as an administrator in Windows 7

  1. First, start by closing all Office apps.
  2. In the lower left-hand corner of your screen, press the Start button.
  3. In the search bar, type in an application name, like Word or Excel. The program icon will appear in the search results.
  4. Then right-click the program icon and select the option “Run as administrator.”
  5. A dialogue box will pop up and you will select “Yes” to allow Office to run with administrator permissions

Update Office

It is also possible that the latest version of Office you have installed might contain problems with activation. To fix this, you will need to update your version of Office.

How to Repair Office 2013 Licensing 

If you have tried all other solutions, but you are still having trouble activating Office 2013, you may need to uninstall your product key and then sign in to your account to activate Office.

  1. You will need to access the easy fix from the Microsoft website to uninstall your product key in Office 2013.
  2. Once this fix has downloaded, select “open.”
  3. After it is open, you can then open any Office application.
  4. When you are prompted, you will then sign in with the email and password that are associated with your Office account.

Check Your Firewall

If your computer is using a firewall from another manufacturer, you will need to visit the manufacturer's website in order to find the right information on how to temporarily disable the firewall protection.

If you have Windows Firewall activated, you can follow these few steps below to turn it off.

 How to temporarily disable firewall Windows 8.1 and 7

  • In order to turn off the Firewall on your Windows 8.1 or 7 OS, click here and scroll down to “Turn Windows Firewall on or off.”

Check Your Antivirus Software

For more information about how to turn off your antivirus software, you will need to check your antivirus manufacturer’s website. It may also help to uninstall your antivirus software altogether.

Obviously, you need not forget to reinstall it after the Office has completely finished installing. If you have only turned it off, you will need to be sure to turn it on again.

Check Your Proxy Settings

If the device that you are using is the device you use both at work and at home, you might need to try turning off the proxy settings in your Microsoft Edge browser before you install Office.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Select the “Start button in the lower-left hand corner of your screen and choose “Settings.”
  2. Then you will want to select “Network and Internet”. At the bottom left, click “Proxy.”
  3. Slide “Automatic proxy setup” to On or Off - depending on where it is currently set.

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