How to Fix Persistent Unlicensed Product Issue in Microsoft Office? (5 Common Methods)

February 19, 2024 628 views

Frequent pop-ups can disrupt your workflow, especially when they pertain to the dreaded "Unlicensed Product" error in Microsoft tools. While this issue is prevalent, surprisingly, many individuals struggle to resolve it. However, the truth is, once you grasp the solution, you'll never feel bogged down by this problem again. And fixing it is easier than you might think. In this guide, we'll walk you through the simple steps to resolve the persistent issue of wondering, how do I fix Microsoft Office unlicensed products?

 Fix Unlicensed Product Issue in Microsoft Office

Fix Unlicensed Product Issue in Microsoft Office

Why Is Microsoft Office Shown as Unlicensed Product?

Microsoft Office may display as an unlicensed product for various reasons. Here are some common scenarios and examples to help readers understand about Microsoft Office unlicensed product status:

Microsoft Office unlicensed product

Microsoft Office unlicensed product

  • Corrupted Office Installation:

Example: If the Office installation files are damaged or incomplete, it can lead to the unlicensed product error.

  • Expired or Incorrect Product Key:

Example: If the product key used during installation is expired or entered incorrectly, Office may not recognize it as a valid license.

  • Office Installed on a Different Computer:

Example: If you're trying to use an Office product that was initially installed on a different computer, it may result in an unlicensed status.

  • Multiple Office Versions Installed:

Example: Having multiple versions of Office on the same machine can create conflicts, causing the unlicensed product error.

  • Deactivated Microsoft Office:

Example: If Microsoft Office has been intentionally deactivated on the device, it will be flagged as an unlicensed product.

  • Expired Office 365 Subscription:

Example: For Office 365 users, an expired subscription can trigger the unlicensed product error.

How to Fix Microsoft Office Unlicensed Product?

As there is no singular cause for Microsoft product activation failure, the solution to fixing the issue of Microsoft Office appearing as an unlicensed product can vary. It depends on the specific reason for the problem at your end. Let's explore a few methods to address this matter.

Method 1: Check your Product key

Before drawing any conclusions, the first thing a user should do is check their product key. It's essential to verify whether users have signed in with the registered email account. This can be done by following these steps:

Step 1: Users can check their Microsoft account status by opening a Microsoft app, such as Microsoft Word.

Step 2: After opening the Microsoft app, click on "Account" in the left-side panel to ensure that the email currently in use matches the registered Microsoft account.

Microsoft Office check account information in App

Microsoft Office check account information in App

Step 3: Users can also review the services and subscriptions by visiting the official Microsoft website and signing in.

Step 4: Navigate to your Microsoft Account and click on the "Subscriptions" tab to view your current plan.

Microsoft Subscriptions

Microsoft Subscriptions

Step 5: If you are not currently signed in with the email account linked to your Microsoft 365 subscription, log out, and sign in using the registered email account to rectify the issue.

Method 2: Check for updates

If you are using the registered email account and still encountering the issue, check for any updates, as updating your Microsoft Office might help resolve the unlicensed product error:

Step 1: To check for updates, open any Microsoft Office app, such as Microsoft Excel.

Step 2: On the left side panel, click on "Account" to access account information.

Step 3: In the Accounts window, click on the "Update Options" button and then select "Update". Microsoft Office will automatically search for updates and install any necessary files during the upgrade.

Microsoft Office Updates

Microsoft Office Updates

Note: Ensure internet connectivity, or else you might face difficulties searching for updates.

Method 3: Check for multiple copies of Office

Another problem could arise from having multiple copies installed on your system. This can cause Microsoft Office to display the unlicensed product message. This issue can be resolved by simply uninstalling any unnecessary Microsoft Office copies. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Access the Control Panel using the instructions relevant to your operating system.

  • For Windows 11 or Windows 10: Type Control Panel in the search box on the taskbar, select “Control Panel” in the results, and then click on Programs and Features.

  • For Windows 8.1 or Windows 8: Right-click the Start button (lower-left corner), choose Control Panel, and then click on “Programs and Features”.

  • For Windows 7: Navigate to “Control Panel” and select “Uninstall a program”.

Step 2: In the Search Programs and Features box (upper-right corner), search for the term "office" or “Microsoft”.

Step 3: If multiple versions are listed, right-click on the version you don't use and select “Uninstall”.

Windows 11 Uninstall a Program

Windows 11 Uninstall a Program

Step 4: Once the uninstallation is complete, restart your computer.

Step 5: Open any Office application in your system, and sign-in to access Office applications.

Step 6: If Office activation issues persist, consider performing an online repair to fix any remaining Office installations.

Method 4: Check your subscription status

Have you checked your Microsoft subscription? Often, your subscription period may expire, and you're not billed for the next cycle. In this case, you may encounter activation issues. Let's check the subscription status by following these steps:

Step 1: Open your browser and go to the Microsoft Office Services & Subscriptions page.

Step 2: If you haven't signed in, log in using the email registered with your Microsoft subscription.

Step 3: Check the details of your Office subscription; it will be under the heading "Subscription" or may appear under "Cancel Subscription".

Microsoft Office Subscription

Microsoft Office Subscription

Step 4: If your subscription has ended, simply go to Renew Microsoft 365 Family and renew your subscription.

Step 5: Now, restart your Office application, and the activation message will disappear.

Method 5: Reinstall Microsoft Office

If nothing seems to work, the last resort to fix the problem on your own is by attempting to reinstall it. While it might be a bit time-consuming, it can help you get your Office application up and running without the activation message:

Step 1: Go to the search bar and search for the Control Panel.

Step 2: Open Control Panel, and under the Programs heading, click on "Uninstall".

Note: This may vary depending on the Windows version you're using.

Step 3: Search for your Office program, right-click, and then select "Uninstall" to remove the program from your system.

Windows 11 Uninstall Microsoft Office

Windows 11 Uninstall Microsoft Office

Step 4: Once uninstalled, open your browser and visit the Microsoft website.

Step 5: Now, simply sign in and download the Office application according to your Windows version.

Step 6: Once downloaded and installed, open any app, sign in, and use the Office application.

Comprehensive Solutions for Office Activation Issues

Now, all these methods are entirely different, and one of them might be the solution for you depending on what's causing Microsoft Office activation failure. Let's look at an overview of these methods to summarize:


When to Use

Difficulty Level

Check your Product key

If activation issues persist


Check for updates

If using the registered email but still facing issues


Check for multiple copies of Office

If Office displays unlicensed product due to multiple installations


Check your subscription status

If activation issues persist, and subscription renewal may be a factor


Reinstall Microsoft Office

If all else fails, and previous methods haven't resolved the issue


Microsoft Office Activation failure solutions

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WPS Office open file

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WPS Office save file

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WPS PDF Fill & Sign

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Q1. What should I do if I have forgotten the product key?

If you’ve forgotten your product key, follow these steps:

Step 1: Visit the Microsoft website and sign in to your account.

Step 2: Click on the “Products & Services” tab.

Step 3: Choose the specific product for which you require the product key.

Step 4: You should then be able to see and copy the product key from your account.

If you can not find the product key, consider reaching out to the manufacturer or purchasing a new one.

Q2. How can I check if my Microsoft Word is licensed?

You can check the licensing status of your Microsoft Word using the step-by-step guide below:

Step 1: Launch Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Access the File tab and choose Account.

Step 3: Look on the right side of the page for “Product information.”

Step 4: Check the license status of your Microsoft Word. If it says Unlicensed Product, you need to take action to fix it.

Q3. Can changes in hardware cause an "Unlicensed Product" status?

Yes, significant hardware changes, such as installing a new motherboard, can lead to activation issues. In these situations, you should reactivate Office using your product key.

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15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.