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Microsoft Office 2007 - Product Keys, Activation, Registration, and Privacy

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/5/2011

When you install Microsoft Office 2007 you are prompted to input a product key. Once Office is installed, you’re prompted to activate and register the product. Find out what is required and what isn’t and how each of these tasks affects your privacy.

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    After installation is complete you’ll be prompted to activate your copy of Microsoft Office 2007. Microsoft wants to verify that you have a lawful and valid copy of Office, and they perform this verification through the activation process. If you don’t activate Office, it will go into reduced mode after 50 launches and you won’t be able to use the product effectively.Activation also restricts you from installing Office 2007 on multiple PCs and protects the product from being shared with others. Activation takes place over the Internet, but you can activate over the phone if necessary. You’ll be prompted with a phone number if no Internet connection is found during the activation process.

    Regarding activation and privacy: During activation, no personally identifiable information is sent to Microsoft. Microsoft does know a little about your computer configuration but not who you are, what your e-mail address is, or where you live. Activation is completely anonymous too, and Microsoft cannot remotely access your machine, places no cookies on your machine during activation, and your activation cannot be rescinded.

    While activation is required, registration is not. If you do decide to register though, you will be providing Microsoft with personally identifiable information. Registering allows you to immediately download and install any updates though, and you’ll get occasional e-mail that contains information regarding usage. I think registering is a good idea, and, Microsoft goes to great lengths to protect the information you offer. Make sure if and when you register that you opt out of getting e-mail from Microsoft Partners. It can end up being too much mail, and it’s a pain to remove yourself from these lists once you’re on them.

    Regarding privacy, as noted in Microsoft’s Online PrivacyNotice Highlights page, the information you offer Microsoft is only used to make your online experience more personalized. Cookies are used personalize websites you visit, information you offer is used to send targeted e-mails if you’ve signed up for them, and Microsoft does not sell, rent, or lease your information to anyone. You can also stop e-mail at any time by changing your preferences on Microsoft’s Web site.