Installing MSO 2010 on a new computer

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Thread Starter
Oct 26, 2001
I don't have a problem. . . at least I don't have one now, so this post is intended to be an unofficial "sticky" that might help users who buy MS Office 2010.

I purchased a new Toshiba laptop mid-November. As do most computers, it came with Microsoft Office 2010 "Starter" on the HD. The Starter version of MSO includes only Word and Excel. But because I design database applications for several clients, I also need MS Access. The only way to get that integrated with the rest of MSO is to purchase the Professional version. Because the latter is expensive and Xmas was coming up, I hinted to my family that MSO 2010 Professional is something I'd like to have. Lo and behold, Santa delivered it on Xmas day.

Having used various Office versions for 15 years, I knew two facts:

  • One cannot have more than one version of MSO on the same drive partition.
  • New MS programs require activation.
I also made an assumption (based on the first bullet above) that the installation of MSO 2010 Pro would recognize the presence of the Starter version and uninstall or upgrade it. Base on the 2nd bullet, immediately after installing MSO 2010 Pro, I clicked All Programs and found an icon named "Microsoft Office" with the MSO logo next to it. Clicked it, and sure enough, up popped an activation dialog box. One of the buttons in the box was "I have already purchased Office". Click it and it opened a box into which I was supposed to enter the product key, which I did. After hitting "Continue", it churned for a few seconds, then said, in effect, "The product key is invalid." Checked the key for errors; there were none. Erased the key and entered it again. Same result.

I then decided to check to see if Office Starter was still on the HD and might be causing the "invalid key" problem. To my surprise (shock is more like it), it was still there. I uninstalled it, then tried again to activate the new Office Pro. Still no go; "product key is invalid". Worse, the box provides no additional information about how to remedy the problem. I looked for a phone number and could find none in the program or on the Office website, which keeps telling you to click the "Activate by Phone" button on the "activation wizard". There was no such button and the website does not provide any numbers.

Shortly thereafter I noticed that All Programs had TWO listings for "Microsoft Office". One had the Office logo next to it and it was the one that opened the activation window. The other had NO logo, and clicking it just displayed links for all the modules (Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, OneNote, etc.). The latter appeared to be the "real" Office, so I opened Word from that listing and (after trying a lot of tabs and functions. . . remember I'm completely new to the 2010 format) clicked Help under the File tab. And there it was: To the right side of the screen were two notes, one showing the version, license terms, etc. and the other saying "Product Activated" (!!). So despite the install process never saying that the product had been activated (or my old eyes missed it), it had automatically been activated.

But now the question: What is the other Office entry on the All Programs list? I deduced that despite having uninstalled Office Starter, not all of it uninstalled; the link to purchase or activate was left behind. It is the FIRST and most "official" looking listing for Office (because of the logo), so is the one I picked to try to activate the new Office Pro. Needless to say, I deleted it from the All Programs listing. And why it did not detect the activated Office Pro on the HD is a mystery that I will chalk up to poor programming on Microsoft's part.

So. . . if you have a new computer with Office Starter on it and buy any version of Office 2010, I suggest you do two things before installing the Office 2010 you bought: (1) Uninstall Office Starter, and (2) remove the reference to Microsoft Office that's left behind on the All Programs list. And just be aware that you do NOT have to separately validate your new Office installation if you have an always-on broadband connection; validation occurs automatically during the install process. . . unless, of course, you got a pirated (usually Chinese) version of the program.
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