How to backup and restore activation for Office 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003 and XP

Ever since Microsoft introduced product activation in Office XP, there has been a need to back up the activation so you can restore it later should you need to format your disk drive and reinstall Windows and Office again on the same hardware. Unfortunately, it's not easy to do this manually although not impossible. Plus, with some Office releases, Microsoft has made some changes to the licensing and activation technology to thwart piracy. Let us see how to backup your Office activation. This is perfectly legal as long as you have a valid activated license.


Note: See this article if you wish to back up Windows activation.

Microsoft allows only a single online/internet-based activation of Office within a certain time period. If you try to re-activate again over the web, you must activate over the phone using the automatic system. This is not convenient as you have to dial several digits on your phone to send the installation ID to Microsoft and then type the activation numbers back on your device.

There is a free, third party app called OPA-Backup, which lets you easily back up the activation of Microsoft Office and restore it. It is a legit and clean way to restore your activation.
OPABackupWhen restoring the activation using OPA-Backup, there are important considerations:

  • You must not start any Office application before you restore it. The sequence must be: Install Windows -> Install Office -> Restore activation -> Restart Windows -> Start an Office program for the first time after the clean install.
  • Before restoring the backup, it is recommended that you disable your internet access to prevent an automatic online activation.

As long as have installed the same edition of Office, with the same product key, on the same edition of Windows, it can restore the activation. Backing up the activation from an edition of Office on Windows 7 and restoring that same backup on Windows 8 is not supported, even if the version and edition of Office is the same.

OPABackupCompleteOPA-Backup is a highly recommended tool for every Microsoft Office user. It supports Office 2013, Office 2010, Office 2007, Office 2003 and Office XP as of this writing. The program requires at least .NET Framework 3.0.

Activation backup and restore is supported for the App-V (streaming) version of Office 2013 too.

Download OPA-Backup

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Author: Gaurav Kale

Gaurav is a software enthusiast from India and Classic Shell tester & UX consultant. He started with Windows 95 and is good at software usability testing. He firmly believes that user experience is just as important as software code quality and architecture for software to be successful.

2 thoughts on “How to backup and restore activation for Office 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003 and XP”

  1. Doesn’t work. Followed the backup and activation process to a “T”, and Office is still asking for my product key. Waste of time.

    1. It may not work on Windows 10. It was written when Windows 8.1 and 7 were the current OSes. Also has restrictions, as in, must be same Windows edition, same hardware, same Office edition. Has your hardware changed before the backup and before restore? Are you trying to restore it on another PC?

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