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How do I move pre-loaded software between computers

Dec 19, 2005 6:04AM PST

I have two systems running windows XP. One is a several year old Dell desktop. The other is a newly purchased Toshiba laptop. I'd like to get rid of the desktop, but my laptop does not have MS Office which came preloaded on the desktop. After a browser, Office is the program I use the most. Since, I assume, I paid for the license to use MS Office with the purchase of my old desktop, I'd like to move it from my old computer to my new computer and save the $150.00 to get a new copy.

The problem is that because the product came pre-loaded, I don't have discs. Is there a way to copy the program files and move it between computers? Is this as simple as copying the office file onto media and moving the files between computers? Is there another way around this? Am I totally ignorant and will MS just give me hard copies of the disks if I still have the software documentation that came with the desktop? If I were to do this is it illegal (of course I could wade through my user agreement...but if you know). Thanks for any help

Discussion is locked

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You'll Need To Read Through The EULA..
Dec 19, 2005 6:51AM PST

Some Microsoft Office versions allow for an installation on one work desktop and another on a laptop for home use..But the version number and the EULA are important..For most Office 2002 and later versions, they require "validation" much like Windows XP does and as such, it won't be legal to do as you ask..It's one installation on one computer and the validation will identify such..

Despite all this, for Microsoft Office, you'll need the installation CD to install it on another computer. It can't simply be transfered over by moving some files. Although the OEM Recovery CD's that came with the original computer will allow you to reinstall on the original computer, it won't allow to install anything on a different computer with different hardware, etc.

Hope this helps.


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As I figued
Dec 20, 2005 1:03AM PST

I only want to run it on one computer...the new one...I'd be happy to remove it from the old one before donating it. The lack of discs is indeed the problem I face.

I think I'm SOL.

Thanks everybody.

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Dead end...
Dec 19, 2005 6:58AM PST

As is the case with most software, Microsoft Office cannot simply be moved from one computer to another. Whenn it is installed it places the bulk of the program in the central folder in c:\windows\program files, but scatters others throughout the system, modifies existing files, and makes hundreds, if not thousands, of modifications to the system registry. this enables the program to be integrated with the operating system and other software installed, as well as help combate piracy. (Think of what would happen if simply copying one folder to another computer made the program usable by another person.)

Even if this were not the case, most software bundled with a new computer comes on the system recovery system and is integrated with the operating system. In that situation, Office is locked to the operating system, which is, in turn, locked to the computer's hardware. Thus, it is usually not possible to install such software on another computer.

What you have to remember in cases like this is that you bought the computer, not the software, despite the fact it was part of a packaged deal and the cost would be lower without any software. Dell is the one that purchased a massive bulk license from Microsoft, then entitled you to use the software on the computer you purchased. Since you didn't purchase the license you are not entitled to Microsoft technical support (you must go to Dell for support, even though their knowledge of Windows and Office is considerably less than that of Microsoft's, which can be an obvious problem), or the ability to transfer the software from one computer to another unless the EULA states you can.


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I figured
Dec 20, 2005 1:05AM PST


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Try OpenOffice?
Dec 19, 2005 7:20AM PST

It's free and it's compatible with MS Office for normal use (but don't try integration with Microsoft Server products, and don't expect macro compatibility). But you can read and write MS Office Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations.

Hope this helps.


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Open Office
Mar 15, 2007 3:33AM PDT

This is after a year and a half of using Open Office. Generally it works great for a free program. Occasionally I have trouble with some commands (eg. I simply cannot figure out how to make the envelope format work with my printer) but it usually works great. It also allows me to save pretty much everything in MS Word format for transfer to non-Open Office users

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NONE of the Microsoft licenses allow...
Mar 15, 2007 5:21AM PDT

OEM software (pre-loaded software) to be moved to or used on any but the original computer which is the only one actually licensed for its use. The software lives and dies with the computer (that is why it is cheaper to buy OEM).

You can locate and purchase new OEM software to install on the new computer (cheaper) or you can invest in retail software that you can actually legally transfer.

Open Office is free for the download and is a pretty decent replacement for MS Office if you are not having to open and/or create really complex documents created in MS Office that rely on the full suite through macro or VBA programming.