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What are troubleshooting steps for activating Office 2016 on Windows 10?

There have been reported issues with some users attempting to activate their copies of Office 2016 which they have downloaded via their Office 365 licenses. If the user had a copy of Office 2016 installed before upgrading to the Office 365 download, it is possible that the original license did not get properly deleted and is now causing issues.  Once that is deleted, the user should be able to log in and get a license key.

Below is a checklist of the different locations to clear out possible licenses that may have been left behind.  We do not suggest having a user edit the registry themselves.

Please, do not skip or omit any steps.

  • Sign out of the Office applications
    • Launch any application(say Word or Excel): File -> Account -> Sign out -> Yes
  • Remove the credentials from the Credential Manager
    • (Control Panel\User Accounts\Credential Manager)
    • Search for Credential Manager in the control panel -> Windows credentials -> Microsoft Office 16 -> Remove the credentials
  • Edit Registry and Remove the Identities folder
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Identity\Identities and delete the “Identities” folder
  • Edit Registry and remove Shared Computer Activation 
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration
    • (string) “SharedComputerLicensing”=”1”
  • Use CSCRIPT.EXE to remove the license key.
    • As Administrator, run cscript.exe with the “/dstatus” switch to see if a product key is found.  If so, it will report the last few characters of the installed product key.  Use that as the XXXX of the “/unpkey” switch.

When both Office and Windows are both either 32 bit or 64 bit, use the following two commands.

cscript.exe “%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office16\ospp.vbs” /dstatus

cscript.exe “%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office16\ospp.vbs” /unpkey:XXXX


Use the following commands when Windows is 64 bit and Office is 32 bit, or visa versa.

cscript.exe “%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Office\Office16\ospp.vbs” /dstatus

cscript.exe “%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Office\Office16\ospp.vbs” /unpkey:XXXX

Upon launching the Office 365 Suite, it should now greet you as if it’s a fresh install and ask for an account to log into.  This should allow you to fetch a new license from the cloud and grant the user full functionality.Once all activation methods have been removed, reboot the machine to make sure all caches have been cleared.

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