Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity tools often comes pre-installed on Windows computers in trial form. While this is convenient for users looking to immediately get started with their new PCs, it can create trouble for those attempting to fix damage that occurred in a hard drive crash. Since there’s no reason to include an install disc when the software comes packaged into the operating system, re-installing the Office suite requires an alternative approach than simply sticking discs in the tray and following on-screen instructions.
Locate your Microsoft Office product key. If Office came with your PC, you’ll find the product key printed on a small sticker somewhere on the PC’s case. Write down the product key on a notepad so you’ll be able to access it with ease.
Navigate to the Microsoft Office backup download website (see Resources). Click “Go to My Account.”
Enter your Microsoft account details (or create a new account). The “Office Products” portion of your Microsoft account provides access to all activated Office licenses. If you haven’t activated your license previously, you’ll need to do so now. On the “Office Products” screen, select “Activate Office Now.”
Enter the product key you found on your PC case. Click “Get Started” and follow the on-screen instructions to complete registration.
Return to the “Office Products” screen. If you have successfully added your Office license to your account, you’ll see an “Install” button next to your current version of Office. Click this button to start the download process.
Double-click the downloaded Office install file to start your re-installation. Once the installer finishes, you’ll be able to use Office just as you did before your hard drive failure.
Tips & Warnings
- If you’re unable to locate your Office product key, contact Microsoft’s “Accounts and Billing” support experts (see Resources). They can walk you through locating a key or provide you with a new one if you have proof of purchase.
- Each Microsoft Office license allows for installations on up to five separate computers. If you have used your key too many times due to multiple installs and crashes, a Microsoft support expert can assist you in transferring your license to the new hard drive.
- Information in this article applies to Microsoft Office 2013 and Windows 8. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
- Photo Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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