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When you buy a new device that comes with a digital license for Office Home and Business, you must redeem this license and associate it with a Microsoft account after you activate Windows. If you reset or clone Windows before you redeem the Office license, the license is removed and you can't activate Office.

The following steps will help you reinstall Office Home and Business and restore the Office license so you can activate your Office apps. You must complete the steps in the order listed.

Step 1: Uninstall Office currently on your device

Follow the instructions to uninstall Office using the uninstall support tool in Uninstall Office from a PC.

Step 2: Install Office Home & Business using the Office Deployment Tool

Install Office Home & Business 2021 following the steps below:

Note: You can use the code below even if you're installing a version other than HomeBusiness2021Retail which is what's listed in the Product the ID section in the code below. Office will update to the correct version you're licensed for during the activation process.

  1. Download the Office Deployment Tool, and then save the file to your desktop.

  2. From your desktop, double-click OfficeDeploymentTool.exe, and then extract the files to your desktop. You will see a setup.exe file and three configuration files.

  3. Create a file named AddHB.txt as follows:

    1. Start Notepad, and then paste the following text into the new file which will install the 64-bit English-US version of the Office version you have a license for.

        <Add SourcePath="" OfficeClientEdition="64" >
          <Product ID="HomeBusiness2021Retail">
            <Language ID="en-us" />
        <Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="TRUE" />
      • If you prefer the 32-bit version, change the text in the second line that reads OfficeClientEdition="64" to OfficeClientEdition="32".

      • If you prefer a language other than English-US, change Language ID="en-us" to the appropriate value to match your language. For example changing it to, Language ID="de-de" will download the German language version of Office.

      Tip: To find the appropriate value of the <ll-cc> placeholder to match your language, see Language identifiers for a list of languages and their appropriate language tags.

    2. Save this text file to your desktop, and name it AddHB.

  4. Open a command prompt and run it as an administrator.

    1. Select Start.

    2. Type cmd, and then select Run as administrator.

    3. Select Yes on the User Account Control dialog box that appears.

  5. At the command prompt do the following:

    1. Type cd /d %userprofile%\desktop and press Enter.

    2. Type setup.exe /configure AddHB.txt and press Enter.

      This installs Office using the information in the AddHB.txt file. Don't close the Command Prompt window during the installation. When the installation is completed, a new command line appears at the command prompt signaling that the Office installation has completed. You can then move on to the next step.

      Tip: The installation occurs silently in the background and can take 20 minutes or more to complete, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

  6. Close the command prompt. You can now safely delete the following files from your desktop:

    • OfficeDeploymentTool.exe

    • Setup.exe

    • Configuration.xml

    • AddHB.txt

Step 3: Run the activation fix tool

Before trying to activate your Office apps, download and run the activation fix tool.

  1. Select the Download button below.


  2. Open the file according to your web browser. In the Fix windows that opens, follow the prompts to fix the Office activation issue.

Step 4: Activate Office

When you're ready to use Office, do the following to activate it and add it to your Microsoft account:

  1. Select Start, type the name of any Office app such as Word, and open the app to start the activation process.

  2. You'll be asked to sign in or confirm your account. Follow the prompts to accept the license agreement and privacy settings.

    Note: If you don't have an Office license (for example, an Office license wasn't included with the purchase of the device), you'll see an option to buy Office.

  3. If the Microsoft account you specified has an Office license associated with it, Office will activate automatically.

Note: If you still couldn't fix your issue after following these steps, select the option to contact support from below.

See Also

Configuration options for the Office Deployment Tool

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