The first package, which is approximately 1.5 GB, is a full suite installation of the Volume License edition of the software. By installing this single package, you deploy Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote on a computer and activate the Volume License.
The second package, which is approximately 5 MB, is designed to run on a computer that alreadyhas Office 2016 for Mac deployed. Even if the current version that's deployed is unlicensed, not activated, or designed for Office 365, the VL Serializer will forcibly activate a Volume License.
Because of this behavior, IT departments resorted to unsupported workarounds, such as copying the licensing plist between computers.
Q & A
- Q: Can the VL Serializer be run against a computer that does not have Office 2016 deployed?
A: Yes. As the initial release of the VL Serializer did not support this configuration, version 2.0 of the tool allows the license to be created before Office 2016 is installed.
- Q: What does the VL Serializer package actually contain?
A: A binary executable that's named "Microsoft Office Setup Assistant." It's this executable that actually activates the Volume License.
- Q: Is the VL Serializer package compatible only with update 15.17?
A: No. Although the VL Serializer is included in the 15.17 package, it can be used to activate past, present, and future builds of Office 2016 for Mac.
- Q: Does each customer or organization need their own copy of the VL Serializer?
A: No. There's a single VL Serializer package that contains a single key that's shared between all VL customer installations.
- Q: Where does the Volume License actually reside on disk after activation?
A: In the /Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.licensingV2.plist directory.
- Q: Why isn’t it supported to copy the licensing plist between computers?
A: The licensing plist generated by the VL Serializer contains data that's encrypted by using the serial number of the boot drive on the computer where it was generated. Upon each Office application launch, the plist is decrypted by using the current boot drive serial number as the decryption key. If the data cannot be decrypted (for example, boot drive serial number is different), Office will go into an unlicensed state without warning.
- Q: Does the VL Serializer work for Office 2011 for Mac?
A: No, the VL Serializer is specific to Office 2016 for Mac.
- Q: If I install the Volume License edition of Office 2016 for Mac from the ISO that was downloaded from the VLSC, do I still need to run the VL Serializer?
A: No. The Volume License installer already has the VL Serializer functionality built-in.