Office 2013 Unlicensed error message

If Office 2013 reports at some point that it is unlicensed, it will display a red unlicensed message at the top of the Office application. Reactivating Office 2013 isn’t as intuitive as I expected. To reactivate your license for Office 2013, do the following:

  1. Log into the Office 365 portal
  2. Select the Settings icon (Gear icon) and choose Office 365 settings.
  3. Choose Software.  The computers you have installed Office 2013 will be listed here.
  4. Find the computer name that is displaying the unlicensed message and deactivate the software. reactivateOffice2013_01
  5. Answer Yes confirm deactivation. reactivateOffice2013_02
  6. Close and re-open the Office application using Run as Administrator. This step is important because the activation process requires elevated permissions. I suggest using Word for this procedure.
  7. Office should prompt you to activate, requesting you to either enter a key or sign in. Choose Sign In.
  8. Enter your Office 365 account details.  A message should confirm that Office has been activated, requesting you to restart the application.
  9. After restarting the Office application, it should be reactivated.

The key part about this process is running the Office 2013 application as administrator. At the time of installation, Office Click-to-Run requests to be run as administrator. Activation is part of the installation process.  It would be helpful if the reactivation process triggered a User Access Control prompt, to run as administrator.

Another method for reactivation was posted at

  1. Make sure all Office programs are closed.

    This will ensure the script runs properly.

  2. Open the Command Prompt as Administrator

    Click Start and in the search field type “Command” and right click the Command Prompt to Run as Administrator.

  3. Navigate to the Office Installation folder %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office15\

    Depending on whether the install is 32bit or 64bit will determine its location.

  4. Run “cscript ospp.vbs /act”.

    The output should end with “Product Activation Successful”.

Let us know if you’ve come across the Office 2013 unlicensed message before, and what you did to resolve it.

- Darrell Webster | | @DarrellCWebster


Managing Office 365 ProPlus installations: activating, deactivating, and reactivating - TechNet Blogs > Office IT Pro Blog.

Fix Unlicensed Office 2013 Error –