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We purchased a copy of MS Office Home & Business 2013 (from a distributor), installed it on a new PC which I built and activated Office. This all happened in June 2015. All of the sudden, the user is prompted with a window informing her that the activation has failed and is asking for a product key.

Ok -- no problem. I'll just re-enter the same product key that I originally used. I was successfully able to enter the product key and go through the online rigamarole in making sure everything is happy. Thought I was done -- hours later today....nope. Same window prompting that the license key is invalid.

Anyone else using MS 2013 and having this same issue?
Error Code: 0x4004F00C

*Edit: This has been resolved - see "best answer" for details.

Edited Jul 22, 2015 at 1:57 UTC
Tags:

@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
@R3b00t

Good news! After spending two hours on the phone with Microsoft, they were finally able to figure out what happened and how to resolve this issue. When you opened up the "Add/Remove Programs" window under Control Panel, you would see an entry for MS Office 2013 Home & Business. When you opened up any of the Office suite products such as Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. it would display Office Standard 2013.

This was an indication to MS that there were some "junk files" (their words) left behind after attempting to uninstall the office suite. The representative said that there were also some keys in the registry that were left behind for them to clean up as well. After MS cleaned up the registry and the installation directory, they proceeded with a fresh install. Once the install was complete, I was able to activate Office 2013 Home & Business - permanently.

We learn something new every day (I typically do) and glad that this nightmare is over with. Thank you everyone for your help!

Edited Jul 22, 2015 at 1:37 UTC

18 Replies

· · ·
Sean Alvis
Chipotle
OP
Sean Alvis

With some previous versions of Office, I had to run one of the programs (I usually picked Word) as admin for the activation to stick.

2
· · ·
Aaron6387
Serrano
OP
Helpful Post
Aaron6387

Check out this thread and comments.  A couple different things to try.

http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/45794-fix-unlicensed-office-2013-error

1
· · ·
@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
@R3b00t

@ Sean Alvis,

Unfortunately, that did not seem to work. I was able to activate Office Home & Business 2013 in Word. Soon after, I opened Outlook 2013 and the window immediately came back.

@ Aaron6387,

I can get to step 3 in that how-to before I start having issues. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15 is the directory where Office is installed. I am 99% sure the user is running on 32-bit version, but I'll have to come back to this later as other priorities have arisen.

Thank you both for your help, I will keep everyone posted!

Edited Jul 21, 2015 at 1:21 UTC
0
· · ·
Brianinca
Habanero
OP
Brianinca

Weirdly, I just emailed Newegg Business about Internet activation not working with 2013 H&B keys I purchased from them. I have 70 keys I've bought from them, and in the last few months the activation failure rate has gone up to 100%. The phone activation process is a pain in the butt, to say the least, but it does work (eventually). 

I just did an activation in isolation from my network, as the new Sophos UTM is extremely good at blocking anything not explicitly allowed. The same failed activation behavior just showed up with an AT&T Aircard internet connection, so that UTM variable is not the issue.

2
· · ·
@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
@R3b00t

Brianinca wrote:

Weirdly, I just emailed Newegg Business about Internet activation not working with 2013 H&B keys I purchased from them. I have 70 keys I've bought from them, and in the last few months the activation failure rate has gone up to 100%. The phone activation process is a pain in the butt, to say the least, but it does work (eventually).


Do you happen to have the telephone number that I could call for activation? Maybe I can try that while I'm working on other things.

Thanks!
0
· · ·
Brianinca
Habanero
OP
Brianinca

The prompt I get for failed activation includes the option to activate via telephone; if you go into a file (excel) and click the File tab, then Account, you should see the "Activation Required" where your account info should be. That's the start of the charade.

2
· · ·
Oldsmobile_Mike
Tabasco
OP
Oldsmobile_Mike

We have the same problem with Office 2010.  We install the software on one machine, make an image of it's hard drive onto new computers during the process of setting them up, Office comes up "need to be activated".  Should be simple, right?  Enter one of the unused product codes we've bought from a distributor (over time we've bought at least 50 license keys).  Nope!  Microsoft makes you jump through so many hoops just to *activate your legitimately purchased copy*, I swear, almost makes using a keygen/cracker/activator look like an appealing option.  ;)

1
· · ·
Chad1642
Serrano
OP
Chad1642

Are you sure there is only one copy of office installed?  A lot of new computers come with a trial version of Office and if you leave it installed and then install another copy this normally happens.

1
· · ·
@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
@R3b00t

Chad1642 wrote:

Are you sure there is only one copy of office installed?  A lot of new computers come with a trial version of Office and if you leave it installed and then install another copy this normally happens.

Yes I am 100% sure there is only one copy of office installed. I built the computer myself using all brand new parts. No software came pre-loaded on the new SSD. While I thought maybe there was a slight chance the user could have installed another copy -- I verified by checking in the add/remove programs and did not find additional copies of Office installed.


0
· · ·
Lee H
Chipotle
OP
Lee H

How did you activate them?

I've had a couple occurances where a copy wouldn't activate over the Internet and instead had to use the telephone route, generally if I've had to activate a series of copies in a row.

1
· · ·
@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
@R3b00t

Lee H wrote:

How did you activate them?

I've had a couple occurances where a copy wouldn't activate over the Internet and instead had to use the telephone route, generally if I've had to activate a series of copies in a row.

Activation was done online when you are asked to create a MS account. I have looked and looked and do not see a telephone number anywhere. So if someone could please tell me what that number is or point me in the right direction, I would love to try and activate this over the phone.

Thanks!
0
· · ·
@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
@R3b00t

Aaron6387 wrote:

Check out this thread and comments.  A couple different things to try.

http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/45794-fix-unlicensed-office-2013-error

Quick update on that link ... did not work by the way (unfortunately) - see picture.

0
· · ·
Oldsmobile_Mike
Tabasco
OP
Helpful Post
Oldsmobile_Mike

I forget the number that I've used in the past (it comes up whenever I have to reactivate anything, and I haven't had to do that in a few days), but have you tried these #'s?

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/326851

1
· · ·
@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
Best Answer
@R3b00t

Good news! After spending two hours on the phone with Microsoft, they were finally able to figure out what happened and how to resolve this issue. When you opened up the "Add/Remove Programs" window under Control Panel, you would see an entry for MS Office 2013 Home & Business. When you opened up any of the Office suite products such as Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. it would display Office Standard 2013.

This was an indication to MS that there were some "junk files" (their words) left behind after attempting to uninstall the office suite. The representative said that there were also some keys in the registry that were left behind for them to clean up as well. After MS cleaned up the registry and the installation directory, they proceeded with a fresh install. Once the install was complete, I was able to activate Office 2013 Home & Business - permanently.

We learn something new every day (I typically do) and glad that this nightmare is over with. Thank you everyone for your help!

Edited Jul 22, 2015 at 1:37 UTC
2
· · ·
Brianinca
Habanero
OP
Brianinca

I keep the "Fixit Kit" Office uninstaller in the same folder as the keys file on my software distribution server. SOP is for whomever is installing on an OEM (not reimaged) machine to run that first, so you just justified a hoop I make my people jump through. Heh!

2
· · ·
Briser_fae_the_broch
Habanero
OP
Briser_fae_the_broch

I noticed the two different versions mentioned in your screenshot.

Many new PC's tend to come with an unlicensed trial copy which we automatically uninstall - we then install our own licensed version and activate with the key as per Sean above.  Perhaps that is what was hanging around?

1
· · ·
Da_Schmoo
Ghost Chili
OP
Da_Schmoo

Your screenshot above showed both Home & Business AND a Volume License edition which is what was not activated.

1
· · ·
@R3b00t
Cayenne
OP
@R3b00t

Briser_fae_the_broch wrote:

I noticed the two different versions mentioned in your screenshot.

Many new PC's tend to come with an unlicensed trial copy which we automatically uninstall - we then install our own licensed version and activate with the key as per Sean above.  Perhaps that is what was hanging around?

I do agree that many new pc's come with pre-loaded software. However in this case, that did not apply. The reason I say that is because we purchased each part brand new and I built it here in our shop. The SSD had nothing on it what so ever. I installed a fresh copy of Win 7 x64 along with office.

The first time MS tried to uninstall office, they & myself did not notice the discrepancies until later on.

Oooops!
0

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