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The motherboard of my laptop recently gave the ghost and since the laptop was still under warranty, the manufacturer replaced it for free and all seemed well, except that my copy of Ms Office gives me a warning that it isn't genuine anymore. (previous authenticity checks went fine).

It's all the more disappointing considering that, since I live in Thailand, I actually am one of the very rare few people in the whole country to have actually purchased a valid copy of Ms Office Pro. Software piracy is so prevalent that whenever you buy a computer here, the shop will install pirated copies of just about everything for free, or you could buy a CD for a couple bucks.

And so here I am with one of the only genuine copies in town, or even in the whole country, stuck with shameful "not genuine" message every time I run Outlook or Word.

Is there anything that can be done about it? I had a look on Microsoft's Website, clicking through on the various messages, but the only recommended "solution" is to buy it again, something I am not exactly keen on.


EDIT: This is not an OEM version. It's a retail version.

Also, it was already activated properly and it reports it is still activated, so I can't do that step again.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you read Microsoft's license agreements you will see that they do indeed bind to the motherboard, however, if the computer is still under warranty and the new motherboard was supplied by the original manufacturer Microsoft will re-validate your software if you contact them.

You may run into a problem if the Office software was not supplied by the manufacturer of the computer, but I think the fine people at Microsoft will be nice enough to assist you even in this situation.

How to obtain a replacement product key:

To replace a Microsoft product key, you must contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support. To locate the appropriate telephone number, visit the following Microsoft Web site:;EN-US;CNTACTMS

Note When you contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support for a replacement product key, you may have to pay a fee. You may also have to provide information from your computer or from the product CD or DVD when you are speaking to the customer service representative.

How to identify, locate, and replace a product key

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I have read the EULA for my retail version and clause 15 clearly specifies that I am allowed to transfer the license to a different piece of hardware, providing I remove it from the previous one. Thanks for the contact page, though. I sent them a message, and we will see, I guess. – Sylverdrag Oct 6 '09 at 16:43
Is the "piece of hardware" specifically mentioned as the mother board, sounds to me like they are referring to the hard drive. – Tester101 Oct 20 '09 at 20:47

Sounds like Microsoft ties their software to your hardware. Since you're hardware changed, they assume that it is pirated.

You'll need to call Microsoft and explain your situation, they should straighten it out for you.

Note: This type of verification is common.

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The software is already activated. I can't reactivate it as it says it is properly activated. – Sylverdrag Oct 6 '09 at 16:45

Unfortunately, you're probably going to have to give Microsoft a call to straighten it out. If your copy is legit, then it should work out. But, I agree, it is a pain.

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You can sometimes call Microsoft customer service and tell them your situation. Sometimes they will give you a new registration key. Sometimes not. It's worth a shot though.

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Phone Microsoft and tell them the story. I know windows binds to the mobo... If you replace the mobo, windows will no longer pass the Genuine advantage. I assume Office is the same.

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I've had the same issue with Office 2007 when I changed the motherboard. I reactivated Office by calling a special phone number (in my country) and following several steps. After that, it was reactivated again. The procedure is described here.

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This might be an opportunity to explore the alternatives, such as No purchase costs and no licensing issues. But, as others have said, with enough time on the phone to Microsoft support they will probably allow you use the software you paid for on your computer again.

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I am a long term user of OOo, and I like it, but it doesn't replace Ms Office (I use a rather intricate set of macros which I can't port to OOo - several thousand lines of code. Don't ask ;-). Anyway, I have paid for Ms Office, there should be a way for me to use it without a nag screen. – Sylverdrag Oct 6 '09 at 16:54

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