Backup Office Product Activation With OPA-Backup

OPA-Backup is a small free program which can backup the product activation of Microsoft Office XP, 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013.

If you subsequently reinstall Windows (e.g. after virus infection or failed hard drive) you can restore the backup so you don’t have to activate Office again.

The program is a simple backup and restore tool – it is not a piracy tool and it can not ‘crack’ (make legit) a pirated version of Office.

To activate Office you usually need the 25 character license key code and the computer needs to have internet access. It can therefore be helpful to backup the Office product activation and restore it if:

  • The computer does not have internet access
  • You have lost the license key code
  • Office was already installed when you bought the computer (so you never had the license key code)

Backup Office Product Activation – Office has to have been already activated in order to backup the product activation. The program won’t work if it hasn’t.

1.  Download OPA-Backup from the developer here.

Note: you must have .NET Framework version 3 (or higher) installed on your computer before using OPA-Backup. Vista, Windows 7 and 8 already include this but XP users can download .NET 4 from Microsoft here if they don’t already have it.

2.  Extract (unzip) the opabackup342.zip file into a folder and run the opabackup342.exe program to begin.

3.  Select your version of Office from the drop down menu then press Next:

OPAbackup

4.  Select ‘Make a backup’ then press Next.

5.  Choose the path – location where you would like to save the backup – then press Next.

Tip: Save it to (or copy it afterwards to) an external device e.g. flash drive so the backup is not lost if you have to reinstall Windows.

6.  Finally, a status report appears showing if the process was completed successfully.

Restore Office Product Activation

The restore process should be done in the following order:

1.  Install Windows if not already installed

2.  Install Office but do not run/open Office after installation

3.  Restore the backup – the restore process is basically the same as the backup:

– open OPA-Backup and choose your version of Office but this time select ‘Restore a backup’ and browse to the location where your backup is stored

4.  Once the backup is restored successfully, run Office for the first time.

Conclusion

OPA-Backup is a good way to backup and restore Office product activation – especially if you don’t have the product key.

The reliance on .NET Framework may be annoying for a few XP users but Vista/W7/W8 include it by default and it’s not a big deal to install.

9 Responses to: "Backup Office Product Activation With OPA-Backup"

  1. Wallace says:

    But to reinstall office I need the product key at the very start of the installation.

    • Roy says:

      @Wallace – I guess you have Office 2010? Previous versions let you install the paid version without the product key.

      There are some (very) technical ways to get around this but the easiest might be to download and install the matching trial version from Microsoft instead (don’t run/open it after) and then restore the backup to convert it into the previously purchased version.

      2010 trials available from MS at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/try/

      • Wallace says:

        @Roy: Thanks for the fast reponse. Actually it’s 2007 but the installer that I have asks immediately for the product key. Do you know where I can find an installer for Office 2007 Enterprise which allows installation first and activation afterwards (yes, a “trial” version sounds ideal). MS’s download site is only offering newer versions.

        Alternatively, I’m happy to try a “technical” solution if you can point me in the right direction. If I’d been more careful, I would also have saved the product key for Office using another utility (like MagicJellyBean) but it’s too late now as I’ve already reinstalled windows using the laptop’s recovery partition. All I have is the opa backup file. It seems likely to me that the product key must be in there somewhere (but I’m not very fluent in machine code!)

        Look forward to your reply, and looking forward to staying legal without spending money unnecessarily.

  2. Wallace says:

    I found a trial version of Office Enterprise 2007 here:

    http://www.heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/51-office-2007-direct-download-links

    I installed it, without entering a key, and ran opa (before starting any office components). Opa found the non-activated installtion and thought that it had sucessfully restored the activation from the backup. But the product key is still requested when starting any Office program. Just to confirm, the version of Office is correct (Enterprise 2007), it was previously activated, and the hardware is unchanged.

    Any suggestions?

    • Roy says:

      Hi, as you may know, Enterprise is for large businesses and uses a volume license key (VLK) – if genuine, your employer/corporation will be able to tell you that key.

      If it’s a pirated copy (never seen a home user buy a genuine one) you may have been a victim of software fraud – it’s likely that OPA doesn’t work because the original activation process was not standard i.e. had been hacked by the pirate with an illegal VLK to bypass validation.

      Obviously we can’t help at all with such copies, sorry. If you feel you were a victim of software piracy you could report it to MS. To be legal you could buy Office 2010 or 2013 which are more up to date anyway and the Home&Student edition is quite cheap if you can live without Outlook/Access

    • Wallace says:

      Thanks very much for the explanation Roy. I wasn’t aware of the significance of “Enterprise”. The laptop in question belongs to my mother-in-law, and the presence of Access and Outlook on the original installation suggests that it wasn’t provided legally to her. A bit disappointing. I’ve installed OpenOffice now. One last question though – how can I tell in future if someone has (knowingly or otherwise) used a VLK, so that I might not waste time trying to backup and restore an illegal activation?

      • Roy says:

        Hi, Enterprise is basically the same as Professional (but using VLK) – both have Outlook/Access etc so it’s very hard to tell them apart, you can only really go by where it came from. If you weren’t given an authentic MS hologram CD (or at least a genuine license key sticker) then it’s unlikely to be be legit.

        Professional costs several hundred dollars – if someone sells it (e.g. auction site) for $40 it will likely be a pirated Enterprise version… I’ve even seen dodgy PC repair companies throw it in as a ‘favor’ for customers who won’t know any better!

        You could also Google for e.g. the first 20 characters of the license key – if it’s a pirated VLK it will probably show up on some dodgy list.

        Not sure how you know you have Enterprise (not Professional) but genuine 2007 does not “force” you to enter the product key at the start – it does ask for it but you can just ignore it and install anyway. If you think you had genuine Professional with proper MS CD it might be worth trying again if you didn’t realize you could continue past the key input at the start?

        PS OpenOffice is still pretty good but about a year behind LibreOffice in development/features – more details here https://techlogon.com/2012/05/08/open-office-returns-with-apache-open-office-3-4/

  3. Wallace says:

    I found out that the previous installation was Enterprise through the Office program menus (e.g. > file > Word Options > Resources > About … “Microsoft Office Word … part of Office Enterprise”. And, yes the installation files files from heidoc.net allowed me to install by ignoring the Product Key but as I mentioned the activation with opa didn’t prevent the Product Key window opening when starting an Office program.

    That’s a good tip to google the Product Key to check if it’s a VKL, but obviously on this occasion, I don’t have the Product Key. I agree that it’s probably been a pirate installation by a dodgy PC repair shop. Is there no possiblity though that reputable PC repairers or retailers can sell Enterprise Office using a VKL to customers, i.e. they have special retailer conditions to offer customers more competitive prices?

    In the meantime, I expect LibreOffice will suffice – thanks for that tip also.

    • Roy says:

      As far as I know, it is only sold to enterprises as part of a volume license agreement so each enterprise has its own key – important for rolling out pre-activated images across 1000s of computers so they don’t have to remember 1000s of different keys.

      There are special schemes for academics/students/charities e.g. cheap Office Professional in some countries which are good if you’re eligible