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Chapter 1. An Overview of Office 2003 > Activating Your Copy of Office

Activating Your Copy of Office

After you complete the Setup process from a retail or OEM version of Office 2003, you can begin using Office programs immediately. However, you may be required to complete one final step before you can continue using Office past an initial trial period. For these copies, you must activate the product by contacting Microsoft over the Internet or by phone. This measure is intended to stop piracy by refusing to activate a copy of Office 2003 that has already been installed on another computer already.

For most users with an Internet connection, product activation happens automatically and takes only a few seconds. The activation process generates a “fingerprint” based on the hardware in your system and then associates that ID code with your 25-character Product ID. If you reinstall the software on the same system (after reformatting the hard drive, for instance), reactivation should be automatic. If you try to install the software on another machine with substantially different hardware, however, you may have to call Microsoft to get a new activation code.


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