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I have a slew of MS office versions and key types that range from 2007, 2010 to 2013. I have a computer that has a failing hard drive and recovery is impossible, but I can see the MS Office key. The problem is, I do not know if it is full retail version or a key card version.

Windows has stipulations (as I have researched) in that key card installations die when the computer dies - non transferable and single computer use. In contrast, the full retail version may be transferable and usable on one PC and one mobile device.

This all being said: How can I tell what the installation version is on this failing computer? One of the retail or one of the Key card types?

All of my searches thus far talk more about the confusion of the new 2013 key card and reuse in the event of computer failure WHILE the computer is under warrantee...but no explanations to see what has already been installed.

I should note that I do not have access to the boxes that Office came in.

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  • there are PID checker tools, which check Windows and Office keys and tell you which version/edition the key is for. Jan 16 '15 at 6:14
  • @magicandre1981 - I used magical Jellybean to get the key and what version of office, like 2007 home and business. It does not state key card or retail. Your saying there is software that can identify that?
    – Carl B
    Jan 16 '15 at 6:22
  • yes, those PID tool detect also the key type. Jan 16 '15 at 16:19
  • @magicandre1981 - seems Magical JB does not do that. I cannot see the type.
    – Carl B
    Jan 23 '15 at 20:26
  • this is the wrong tool. Google for PID checker tool, which use the pidgenx.dll to decode the key. Jan 24 '15 at 7:06
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I would reach the Microsoft activation hotline for help.

Either go to Support section at Microsoft site to get the contact or proceed like described in related activation help article:

  1. In any Office application, click File > Account > Activate Product.

  2. In the Activation Wizard, click I want to activate the software by telephone > Next.

  3. Select your country/region.

  4. Call the Product Activation Center phone number that’s under Step 1.

I called them on several occassions when I had similar (not the same) questions about activation and I can say it was one of the fastest ways to progress.

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  • Can they answer if I will violate the EULA on the key types? That is the reason I am asking. Piracy is no good and for company situations, I do not want to get tangled up in EULA violations.
    – Carl B
    Jan 2 '16 at 6:15
  • @CarlB – From my previous interactions, they were quite informed and were able to point me in direction which worked.The key can be to provide all necessary information – e.g.there is broken computer;it is difficult/impossible for me to get to the original package; I have the key but I'm afraid of entering it; what can I do? (etc.) Maybe they will ask you for key etc. I don't know. My situation was different, I did not have the Windows key at all, but they told me it is in the motherboard and that I need customized installation CD from PC manuf. to re-install without a key.Got the CD–worked.
    – miroxlav
    Jan 2 '16 at 6:34

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