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Brian
Brian, Certified Apple Consultant
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 117
Experience:  I've been supporting Mac users and business professionally for 14 years.
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I have a genuinely purchased cd of office 2011 for mac but

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I have a genuinely purchased cd of office 2011 for mac but have changed to another mac and transferred everything via time machine. I cannot find the original discs so have lost the activation key. Is there any way I can retrieve it from the older machine?

Brian :

Hello. If you transferred it from a Time Machine backup, the registration data lives in your preferences. It's encrypted however, so you can't just open the prefs file and read it directly. You'll want to browse on Time Machine for these files:


In username/Library/Preferences, look for "com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist"
In username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Preferences/Office 2011
"Office Registration Cache" and "OLE Registration Database"

Brian :

In username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Preferences/Office 2011, look for:
"Office Registration Cache" and "OLE Registration Database"

Brian :

If you'll move those files from Time Machine to your new Mac, and reboot, that should take care of it.

If not, you'll need to contact Microsoft directly, to recover your key. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2279109

Customer:

I have already read that post on the internet. The problem is I cannot find the file "/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Preferences/Office 2011
"Office Registration Cache" and "OLE Registration Database" In Application Support there are just a font collection. I still have all the information on the old iMac

Customer:

Are you still there?

Brian :

Your user Library folder may be hidden. Newer versions of OS X obscure this folder.

In the Finder, if you click on the Go menu and hold down the "option" key, you'll see your Library folder.

Customer:

NO All I get is a list of stuff but no library

Brian :

When you click the Go menu, you should see a list of Documents, Desktop, Downloads, Home, etc. In older versions of OS X, the Library is in that list.

If you don't see it, press the Option key while the menu is displayed, and that will cause Library to appear in the menu.

Customer:

OK Found it

Brian :

Good. So in /Library/Preferences, look for "com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist"

Then in /Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office, look for "Office Registration Cache" and "OLE Registration Database"

These are the files you will need to copy to your new Mac, into their respective folders.

Customer:

I am slowly finding it Hang on for a minute

Customer:

OK I have copied each of these to a USB disk. So now I need to copy these in to the same areas as the original?

Customer:

And if that does not work then can only order a new key from Microsoft.. right?

Brian :

Great. Yes, you'll copy those files into the same folders on your new Mac. If you get a message saying, "a newer file already exists", just click "replace". After you copy those, reboot your Mac and try opening one of the Office apps.

Brian :

Correct. If that doesn't work, your only other option is to contact Microsoft for a replacement key.

Customer:

OK THanks I will try all that but do not need to keep you online. Can I email you to let you know how it has gone? I am happy with your service.

Brian :

Thank you. Sure, I'll leave this thread open. Just come back here and reply to this question and I'll be notified. When you're happy with everything, click "Accept" to close the thread.

Brian :

You can bookmark this page and return to it, that's usually easiest.

Customer:

OK I have completed the procedure as directed and it is like nothing has changed. I still get asked for the activation key. Any more suggestions or have microsoft cleverly engineered some other blocking process.

Brian :

Did you go to your username/Library on the new computer, by holding down Option key?

Brian :

Just making sure. Apple hiding that folder means I have to follow up more often with users.

Brian :

The only other thing I might ask is if you have an office demo on the new Mac. A lot of new Macs come with a trial of Office, and it's confusing to work around it, for these kinds of problems.

Customer:

NO I will do it all again and no I do not have a trial copy.

Brian :

And yes, Microsoft is notoriously strict on registration.

Customer:

I notice there is a com.microsoft.office.plist.lockfile in the copied version of Office. Could that be blocking something?

Brian :

That may very well be related. Delete the .lockfile and try opening one of the Office apps.

Customer:

Has zero bytes

Brian :

Did deleting the .lockfile have any effect?

Customer:

NO. No effect. I think I am doomed in this venture. I would stop using it if there was a better alternative but I have tried most of the others.

Brian :

Sorry none of that worked. Apple makes something called Pages. It's similar to Word, but, in my opinion, far better. It's an excellent app for laying out a document. It's available on the Mac App Store for $20. Apple also makes Keynote (also $20) that's similar to PowerPoint, but better. Another app called Numbers tries to be a spreadsheet app, but I'm not as partial to that one.

That said, I don't own, nor have I run, Microsoft Office for several years. Pages creates documents that can be opened and edited by Word, and vice versa. Keynote works with PowerPoint, but the transitions are just different enough that they don't always translate as well. Keynote will still open (or export) PowerPoint files. If you create a Keynote file that needs to be run later in PowerPoint, just stick to the more basic slide transitions.

Customer:

Yes I have Pages but most of the documents I work with still use Word and the Excel does not come close to Numbers

Customer:

Tanks anyway

Brian and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you. You could open your Word documents with Pages and resave them, as you go along. You can also change the app assignment. Right-click on the icon for any Word document and choose "Get Info". In the Info window that opens, you can assign Pages in the "Open with" section, and click the "Change all" button. That will open Pages anytime you double-click a Word document.

Thank you again. Have a good evening.