Article ID: 302806 - View products that this article applies to.
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INTRODUCTION

To reduce software piracy and to make sure that all Microsoft customers receive the product quality that they expect, Microsoft is now including product activation technology in several products. This article defines product activation and describes when and how to activate a Microsoft product. It also explains how to contact a Microsoft Product Activation Center and contains additional product activation resources.
Note Microsoft product activation telephone numbers are not listed in this article. There are many regional Microsoft Product Activation Centers worldwide. Use the Product Activation Wizard to make sure that you are routed to the correct regional Product Activation Center. For more information about how to contact the Microsoft Product Activation Center, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
950929 How to contact the Microsoft Product Activation Center

More information

Microsoft uses product activation to reduce a form of piracy known as "casual copying" or "softlifting." Casual copying occurs when people share software in a way that violates the Microsoft Software License Terms. For example, when a person buys Windows XP, that copy of Windows XP is primarily licensed for use on a single computer. Without the purchase of additional licenses, that copy of Windows XP may not be installed on additional computers. For example, if that copy of Windows XP were to be shared with another person and installed on that other person's computer, that would constitute casual copying. However, with most software licenses, you are allowed to reinstall and activate the software on the same computer an unlimited number of times. To make sure that you are using your Microsoft software appropriately, see the Microsoft Software License Terms or the product use rights for more information about that specific product.

Casual copying accounts for a large part of the piracy losses that the software industry experiences. If software piracy were to be reduced, the software industry could invest much more money in product development, in product quality, and in product support. This would lead to better products and more innovation for customers.

How product activation works

Product activation is a simple, straightforward process that is completely software based. It requires no hardware add-ons or any other external tool. In most cases, the only information that is needed to activate a product is an installation ID, which is created by the software itself. The information that is collected during activation will not be used to personally identify the user.

If you activate your product over the Internet, product activation takes less than a minute. When you activate your product in this way, the product itself will do most of the work. Very little user effort is required. If you would rather activate your product over the telephone, you can do this by contacting the regional Microsoft Product Activation Center. For more information about how to contact the Microsoft product activation Center, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
950929 How to contact the Microsoft product activation Center
Important Product activation does not track users of Microsoft software in any way. Its sole purpose is to activate legitimate licenses for Microsoft software.

When to activate a Microsoft product

Software that is bought in stores or as part of a new computer that is sold by an OEM must be activated. As mentioned earlier, product activation is easy, and many users only have to activate a product one time during the life of the product. However, some products may have to be activated again if the product is moved to another computer or if significant changes are made to the computer on which the product is installed.
Note OEMs may activate the software at the factory before they deliver the computer to the customer.
To make activation convenient, Microsoft products do not have to be activated immediately after they are installed. You can start Microsoft Office up to 50 times before you have to activate it. For Microsoft Windows, you have 30 days from the first time that you use the operating system before you have to activate it.

How to activate a Microsoft product

To activate a Microsoft product, select either the Internet option or the telephone option in the Product Activation Wizard.
  • With Internet-based activation, Microsoft servers process the activation and activate the product.
  • With telephone-based activation, you activate your product by contacting a Microsoft Product Activation Center and following the steps that are provided by an automated telephone system or by a customer service representative.
    Important You should have your installation ID when you speak with a customer service representative. This ID is displayed in the product activation wizard.

    For more information about how to contact the Microsoft product activation Center, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    950929 How to contact the Microsoft product activation Center

Additional information

Web sites

For more information, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
http://www.microsoft.com/piracy

http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/mpa.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/evaluation/features/activation.mspx

Microsoft Knowledge Base articles

For more information about how to contact a Microsoft Product Activation Center, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
950929 How to contact the Microsoft product activation Center
299840 How to use Sysprep with Windows product activation or Volume License media to deploy Windows XP
291997 How to activate Windows XP using an Unattend.txt file
300273 Cannot activate OEM edition more than once in Office XP
298088 How to obtain a Volume License key for Enterprise Editions of Office XP
293477 Information about the Microsoft Activation Wizard Privacy Policy for Visio
293466 Reduced functionality, missing menu commands, and unavailable features in Visio
293151 Description of the Office Activation Wizard
291983 Ports that are used by Windows product activation
299056 An error message is displayed when you run Windows product registration
289657 Out of Box Experience (OOBE) does not run after Setup completes

Properties

Article ID: 302806 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 17.0
Applies to
  • Customer Service and Support Information
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office Basic 2007
  • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
  • Microsoft Office Standard 2007
  • Microsoft Office Professional 2007
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007
  • Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007
  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Microsoft Office Visio Standard 2007
  • Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007
  • Microsoft Office Publisher 2007
  • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007
  • Microsoft Office Project Standard 2007
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
  • Microsoft Office OneNote 2007
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007
  • Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Access 2003
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003
  • Microsoft Office Publisher 2003
  • Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Basic Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office XP Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Office XP Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Office XP Proofing Tools Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office XP Small Business Edition
  • Microsoft Office XP Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Outlook 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 2002
Keywords: 
kmcustomerservice kbresolve kbmsccsearch kbpubtypekc kbenv KB302806

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