How to transfer Microsoft Office Suite to a different PC or user?

By ivan.diskin | October 10, 2018 |

greater than 9 minutes

Users have always had genuine reasons to move an old Office installation to another PC. Microsoft did not always see things this way. The operating system maker once blocked the transfer of Office 2013 licenses to other devices but had to retrace its steps after a barrage of negative feedbacks.

The transfer process is not as straightforward or fluid as it should be, but it works fine for the most part. We believe Microsoft has simplified the operations involved for the most recent Office releases. Therefore, if you came here to find out how to transfer Microsoft Office 2016 to a new computer, then you will find things considerably easier.

Can I transfer my Microsoft Office suite to a new device?

Of course, you can, but certain conditions must be met, or specific variables must be in play already. Here are some of them:

  • The 25-character Product key you got when you purchased your license must belong to you, and to you only.
  • Your license type must be transferable. If you purchased a retail or FPP license, then you are good to go. Unfortunately, Microsoft does not offer the transfer privileges to all license types.
  • One last thing you need: An installation media (usually in the form of a disk or file) for Office that corresponds with your Product Key.

If you purchased a new Office 365 subscription recently, then these conditions most likely do not apply in your case. The same thing goes for users with Office 2016 licenses. Fortunately, in recent times, Microsoft has moved to link licenses to the emails of the users who purchased them. Previously, the operating system maker associated licenses with hardware or device configurations.

If you are on the new setup train, then you can quickly move your license by accessing your MyAccount page and going through the instructions there to get the job done. You could also skip most of the procedures below and move to the last one.

If you purchased a license for Microsoft Office 2010 or Microsoft Office 2013, then you will need to go through the steps below to identify what type of license you have. Otherwise (if you purchase a license for Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Office 2016), you need not trouble yourself with them because your license is definitely transferable through a straightforward procedure.

How to identify what type of Microsoft Office license you have?

There is a common misconception about Microsoft Office licenses. A good number of users believe that since they paid a fee to purchase it, the license is theirs to do as they please with it; they could not be more wrong.

If you have similar thoughts, then you will do well to go through the license terms. You will see some wording that indicates that you are leasing the software. Well, developers often set restrictions for programs they rent to users. Or perhaps, Microsoft had solid arguments for opting to use the lease package, and the limits are not a consequence of the setup they chose. It is not our place to tell.

Anyway, you can go through this list of licenses:

  1. FPP (Full Product Pack):

This license type is the most popular of the lot (probably because it can be bought online easily).

  1. HUP (Home Use Program):

This one is more or less a variation of the Full Product Pack license, but it is rarer in distribution.

  1. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer):

This license type would be the one you have if the Office running on your system came preinstalled with your computer when you bought it. Most times, it is installed by default by the manufacturer of devices. You cannot find or obtain this license type on an installation medium (CD, for example).

  1. PKC (Product Key Card):

Users tend to purchase this class of license online or in stores. It is usually available in a card-like format. It is not purchasable through a CD.

  1. POSA (Point of Sale Activation):

If the license you bought came with a product key but no installation media, then it is probably this one. You most likely purchased it from an online or retail store.


This license type is unique in that Microsoft specifically made it available for secondary education students. As far as we know, the program that introduced such licenses has been discontinued.

  1. ESD (Electronic Software Download):

This form of license can only be gotten from online stores or retail shops. If you have a license like this, then your product key exists while you lack an installation medium.

  1. NFR (Not For Resale):

Different license types make up this category if we are to be honest. Generally, any license that is given away for promotional reasons or not-for-profit purposes falls under Not For Resale licenses.

Well, in case you are yet to figure it all out, we have to tell that, from the list above, only FPP, HUP, PKC, POSA, and ESD licenses can be transferred from one device to another. You can go a step further to find out if or verify that your license is movable.

Follow these instructions:

  • First, you must open an elevated Command Prompt window. On almost all recent builds of Windows, this method works fine: press the Windows button on your keyboard (or click on the Windows Start icon) to see the text field where you must inputcmdto search for this keyword

From the results that appear, you should see Command Prompt (Desktop app). Right-click on it, then select Run as administrator from the short menu list. Confirm this operation.

  • Once you have the Administrator: Command Prompt window up and running, you must use its platform to get to the installation folder for the Office package. Do this by inputting the following code and hitting the Enter key to run it:cd {Office location path}

Here is an example of what we mean: cd \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office13

  • After you execute the inputted code to arrive at the required location, you must type in the following command to continue: cscript ospp.vbs /dstatus

Tap the Enter key to run this code too

  • Be patient. Windows might need some time to work before it displays what you need. Finally, you are free to go through the result; you must check License Name and License Description. If you see terms like “Retail” or “FFP”, then your license is transferable.

Other things you have to check and do

  • Besides you identifying what license type you have, you might be interested in finding out how many installations Microsoft affords to that license at any point in time. We remember the times when Microsoft allowed users who purchased retail licenses to install and activate Microsoft Office apps on two computers simultaneously, but things have changed considerably.
  • Well, for example, if you have a license for Microsoft Office 2010, then you might be able to install and activate the required package on another computer without you having to transfer or move the license. This way, you get to use the product key on 2 PCs simultaneously (as crazy as it might seem) these days.
  • However, if you purchased a license for Microsoft Office 2013, then you might be sad to know that the number of concurrent installations allowed in your case is one for all Retail bundles. By this, we mean you can only transfer your license. The previous installation will become void.

To be fair, Retail license even have it better than others. Microsoft does not allow users with other license types for Office to move their installation to another device. The license in such scenarios is bound strictly to the hardware it is on and can only remain there.

  • In general, we recommend you check out the Microsoft page detailing transfer rights for different license types and related issues.

How to transfer a Microsoft Office 2010 or 2013 license from one computer to another?

At this point, we expect you to have confirmed the license type you have and verified the rights that come with it. Now, to move the license, you first have to go through the configuration setup to install the Office apps.

After all, to prove to Microsoft that you own a license and that it is a genuine one, the program in view must be running on your system already, and finally, you must move on to enter the Product key to activate the installed Office suite.

Before you begin, you have to retrieve your Product Key and keep it close. Most times, you can quickly view the Product Key by checking the container that holds the installation medium through which you purchased your license. Users who bought their license online will do well to check their purchase record to see if the needed information is there.

If you are struggling to find your Product Key, then you might be interested in running some third-party applications that are capable of extracting the Product Key from specific apps for reuse.

Once you have everything ready, follow these instructions:

  • First, you must uninstall the Office package currently on your computer. We recommend you carry out the installation through the Program and Features menu in the Control Panel app. We know that you can also uninstall programs through the Apps menu accessible through the Settings program, but the method here might not cut it.

Ideally, we need your system to be ridden entirely of anything that has something to do with Office 2010 or Office 2013. The removal of the installation folder alone is most likely not enough to free up the activation count.

  • Once you complete the uninstallation of the Office package on your computer, it is time you moved to the other device to verify that there is no copy of Office on it. If you find a limited free trial of Office or a different version there, you must uninstall it to avoid complications.

Most users experience issues when they have to activate Office on a system where one or more Office installations already exist.

  • If you have verified that there is no Office app or installation on the device, then you can install a fresh copy of Office, using the CD or installation medium available. After Windows finishes installing the Office apps, you must open any one of them (Word, Excel, for example) and continue with the instruction below.
  • After the required program window shows up, click on File, then select Account. Click on Activate Product (Change Product Key). In the field provided, you must input your Product Key correctly. Follow any instruction that appears to ensure the success of this operation.

If you see the error message stating too many installations, then you have no choice but to do the activation through a phone call. Check Microsoft page to find the number you are supposed to call. It varies per country.

After you get in contact with Microsoft agents, you must tell them that you are trying to transfer your license from one PC to another. They will guide you through the process and provide help where it is needed.

How to transfer an Office 365 license to a new computer (same procedure for Office 2016 licenses)?

Office 365 or Office 2016 make up some of the most recent Microsoft releases, so the transfer process is a whole lot more straightforward. These instructions will guide you through everything:

  • Open your web browser, log into Microsoft Office, then access the MyAccount page for your profile. Input your login information as required
  • Go through the Microsoft products you see, locate the section for Office 365 or Office 2016, then click on the Install button for the packages you are on now

If you are accessing Microsoft site through an Admin account, then you must click on Settings (usually at the top-right corner of the page), then click on Office 365 settings.

  • Now you should see the Deactivate Install link (under Install information), which you must click on to continue. You will be prompted to confirm the operation. Click on the Deactivate button once more
  • After you deactivate the license successfully, you must move on to uninstall the Office package through the Programs and Features menu in Control Panel on the computer where the old installation exists
  • Now, you must work on the new computer where you want to bring the license. Perform the first and second steps there again. This time, once you arrive at the Install Information section under My account, you will see the Install button. Click on it
  • Your browser will soon move to download a setup file, which you must click or double-click on to open and run. Follow the instructions as they appear on your screen to install Office on your new computer
  • In the final stages, Windows will present a screen where you have to sign in with your Microsoft account credentials. After this, some additional files will be downloaded in the background, and everything should go smoothly.


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