How To Transfer Microsoft Office To Another Computer: Two Simple Ways

So, you just bought a brand new computer with all the latest hardware. Or you’re stuck with a PC that isn’t yours. You are looking to transfer all your work files and software to get up and running.

Unfortunately, the process can be quite difficult. While the latest iterations of the software have simplified the transfer process, older versions like Office 2010 or 2013 don’t have that convenience.

Hence, it is important to have the technical know-how when transferring Windows Office so you can smoothly transition to your new computer and crank out those pages.

How To Transfer Microsoft Office 2013 or Older to Another computer

This is the trickiest method of the two as it involves finding your product key and using Command Prompt to figure out your type of license and if it’s transferable or not.  

Step 1: Identifying the type of your Office License 

Every edition of Microsoft Office older than 2013 comes with a unique license type which gives you the right to lease the software for your personal use. There is a myriad of license types and not all of them grant you the ability to transfer your Office software to another system.

Out of them, only FPP (Full Product Pack), HUP (Home Use Program), PKC (Product Key Card), POSA (Point of Sale Activation), and ESD (Electronic Software Download) allows you to transfer the software. Follow these steps to determine your license type: 

  1. Navigate to Windows Start or open Run using “Windows Key + R”. Once you’re in the start menu, search for “cmd”, right-click on the icon, and select “Run as Administrator”. If you open Run, you can just type “cmd” and press “Control + Shift + Enter”. Both of these methods will open Command Prompt with Administrator privileges. This is called the elevated command prompt and will allow you to access added functionality. You’ll know it’s the right one if it opens with the “System32” directory instead of “User Profile”.
  2. Type the “cd /” command followed by the directory of your Microsoft Office Installation. It might be easier for you to copy the location beforehand and just paste it next to the command.
  3. After you’ve arrived at the correct location, input this command into the software: “cscript ospp.vbs /dstatus”.
  4. Wait as the software extracts the necessary information. Once it is displayed, check your “LICENSE NAME” and “LICENSE DESCRIPTION”. If you find the words “Retail” or “FPP”, then you have permission to move the software.

Step 2: Confirm the Number of Allowed Installations

The majority of Office bundles will only allow you to install the software on one computer. Microsoft, in their bid to push Office software to most computer systems for a larger market share, has made it possible for most retail licenses to be transferable to another computer.

However, this is limited to one transfer only. If you only have a single installation of Office on a computer, then you are probably eligible for the transfer. It is good practice to confirm whether you have the right to transfer the software or not as it saves a lot of legal hassle.

You can consult this blog that has a comprehensive guide on the issue of rights. Note that Office 2013 generally does not allow transferability so you might have to request Microsoft directly for an exemption to this rule. Once you have secured the rights, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Moving the Software to Another Computer

Every installation of Office usually happens in two stages. The first is where you install the programs on your disk drive and the second is where you verify ownership of the software using your unique Product Key.

Each purchase of Office comes with its Product Key that is unique to you that you can use to prove your ownership. You will typically find this on the box, the CD that holds the setup files, or directly on your Microsoft account. Once you’ve found your product key, follow these steps: 

  1. Uninstall Office from your current computer completely using “Programs and Features”. Note that removing the folders on the directories won’t remove your activation key. 
  2. Install the same version of Office from your CD or setup files on the new computer. This is important as installing a different version will not work. Make sure that the new computer doesn’t already have a version of Office pre-installed. If it does, uninstall it before proceeding.
  3. Once the installation is complete, you can open up any program from the Office Suite. Navigate to File, then Account, and click on “Activate Product (Change Product Key)”. Then, type in the product key that came with your purchase of Office. 

If all goes well, you’ve done it! If not, then you should call Microsoft’s Activation Center numbers and seek their support.

How To Transfer Microsoft Office 2016 or 365

Thankfully, if you have a newer version of Office the process is much more simplified. You just need to deactivate your activation of Office and uninstall it on your current computer. Here are the steps: 

  1. Open up the Microsoft Office website, log into your account, and navigate to your MyAccount page. You’ll be asked to provide your sign-in credentials. 
  2. Once you’re in, you’ll see a list of all your purchased Microsoft products and services. Look for an install option next to or under each product. Click on it and select “Deactivate Install” under “Install Information”. You’ll be asked to confirm your decision again. 
  3. Once your activation is deactivated, simply uninstall Office from your current computer. 
  4. On your new computer, repeat Steps 1-2 and click on the install button once you reach “Install Information” again. This will re-install your version of Office on the new computer, you can simply go through the on-screen prompts. After installation, sign in with your account, type in your credentials and you are good to go!


Microsoft Office is one of the most essential software. It may be daunting to move older versions of Office but with these techniques in your arsenal, the task can be made significantly easier.