Product Key issues with Office 2008 on the MAC

Posted by Admin on November 02, 2010
IT, Personal

So if you know me, you know that I’m a fan of the MAC operating system and I’ve moved my entire professional and personal lives to this platform.  I’m also a big fan of Open Office.  Unfortunately, in order exchange documents with people standardized on Microsoft Office, I’ve found that I actually need to use Office on MAC.  *sigh*  There is actually no substitute for template integration and collaborative document editing.

I recently had problems installing MS Office 2008 on a MAC due to a serial # issue… I had to re-enter my product key.  There are many documents available on the internet that explain the process; however, I found the most usable rundown at this blog, and of course I wrote this post to fit that bill as well 🙂

See, here’s the catch – if you buy MS Office for MAC, the software will regularly talk to the network in the background.  It basically calls home to the Microsoft mother ship all the time.  In all fairness, Microsoft does this is to protect its revenue stream.  If someone on the internet has Office with your product key, then the key will be red-flagged and instances will be disabled when you check for updates.  To be honest, MS it well within its rights because the above is piracy.  However, if you have a laptop and a desktop and you run the same MS Office install on both, technically, you’re supposed to buy two licenses.  Yup, that’s right, you thought you bought the software, and you thought you could use it on all your computers, but no.  You bought a license to use the software on one single machine; you’ll have to pay again if you expect to use it concurrently on two machines.  I, for one, think that’s ridiculous.

If I haven’t already made myself clear: don’t steal software.  If you use it, pay for it.  There are ways to get discounts… google it.

Now, if you’ve got the software on your home machine and you’re having issues, the solution is preventing Office from talking to the network: consider software called The Little Snitch.  This is like a firewall that controls what software can and cannot speak to the network.  Initially it can be annoying because every time some software wants to connect to the internet, you’ll be prompted to allow or deny this action.  Every time you check your e-mail or visit a web page, or software looks for updates… This will settle down once you train it to permanently allow this and permanently deny that. You’ll want to configure the Little Snitch to permanently prevent MS Office from talking to the network and this will solve the issue of your license key being disabled.

If you’ve messed up and MS Office 2008 for MAC has already spoken to the Redmond Mothership, it may have disabled your product key.  You’ll need to reset it, here’s how:

  1. In the Finder, select /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/Office/OfficePID.plist, and then on the File menu, click Move to Trash.
  2. Select /Users/yourusername/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office 2008/Microsoft Office 2008 settings.plist, and then on the File menu, click Move to Trash.
  3. Reboot your MAC.
  4. After your computer restarts, open any Office 2008 application.
  5. The Office Setup Assistant opens.
  6. Accept the software license agreement, and then enter your valid product key.

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