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Many descriptions you find on the web about rearming Office are now inaccurate. In the course of this article, I will discuss some of the things that have changed. I wasn’t able to find any official documentation that covers all the things you have to know about Office 2013 rearming; I discovered many of the things you will read in this article during my tests.
If you intend to rearm Office 2013 SP1, you first have to check whether you have a retail edition or a volume edition. You can buy the retail edition in shops, and you can download it from various online stores. The evaluation edition you can download from Microsoft is also a retail version. Even MSDN subscribers can only download the retail edition. The volume edition is only available for volume customers through the Volume Licensing Service Center.
You can find tools on the web that allow you to convert a retail edition to a volume edition. The most prominent one is probably the Microsoft Toolkit. Contrary to its name, this toolset is NOT from Microsoft. I always advise against using such tools. Even if they work (and some do), you never know what else they are doing to your computers. Extending your activation period, or even using Office for an unlimited time without paying for it, is not worth the risk. You not only commit a theft but you also risk doing your company severe harm. In the most harmless case, the hacking tool might just steal your product key, or your machines might end up in a botnet; in the worst case, you become the victim of a ransom attack.
Retail vs. volume edition
If you are unsure what edition you have, you can run the following command after you navigate to C:\Windows\system32:
cscript slmgr.vbs /dlv all
Search for Office 15 entries in the result list. If one of the description fields contains “RETAIL,” you will notice that the remaining rearm count for the app is set to 1.
Rearm count is 1 with Office retail edition
On the other hand, if you are dealing with an Office 2013 volume edition, the description field should tell you so.
Rearm count is 3 with Office 15 volume edition
As you can see in the screenshot, the remaining rearm count is 3, and the time remaining until activation is required is 30 days.
Volume edition activation
Since you can rearm the Office volume edition three times, you have 30 days + 3×30 days = 120 days until you should activate Office. As long as you always rearm in time, your users won’t notice that the deployment is incomplete. If you don’t activate or rearm within the grace period, your users will get a message when they open an Office application indicating that their Office installation is not activated.
This copy of Microsoft Office is not activated
After they close the message, they can continue working without any restriction. However, the title bar will remind users that the product activation failed.
Product activation failed
Note that, previously, you could rearm Office five times. This gave you an activation grace period of 180 days. I think the 120 days should be enough to activate your Office installations in a couple of days with the various methods (KMS, MAK, Active Directory activation).
The main purpose of the rearm feature is to ensure that a freshly deployed OS image that contains Office has the full 30 days before activation is required. If you deploy your image a few days after you install Office, without rearming it, the grace period will be shortened accordingly.
Retail edition activation
The Office retail edition works differently. After you install Office, you have five days to enter a product key. After you enter the evaluation product key (FGN4G-V4WQX-42FTB-QCCT2-3YF3F), 60 days remain before Office switches to Reduced Functionality Mode, which means that editing of Office files will be disabled.
Office 2013 SP1 Reduced Functionality Mode
However, you can rearm your Office 2013 SP1 trial once, which gives you 90 days in all to evaluate Office. When I rearmed an expired Office evaluation version, I had another 30 days to test Office, and the rearm count was set to 0.
Extended trial period after rearm
Just in case you think you can extend your trial period by setting the Windows installation date to an earlier date, know that this will not work.
If you have an Office 365 subscription, Office will enter Reduced Functionality Mode if it can’t verify the subscription status online once a month.
How to rearm Office 2013 SP1
Two ways exist to rearm Office. You can run the rearm tool OSPPREARM.EXE, which comes with the Office installation, or you can use slmgr.vbs, Microsoft’s Software Licensing Management Tool. You’ll need a command prompt with administrator privileges.
If you want to use slmgr.vbs, you must first navigate to C:\Windows\system32. This is the syntax:
cscript slmgr.vbs /rearm-app <Application ID>
Office rearm with slmgr.vbs
You can find the application ID with cscript slmgr.vbs /dlv all.
Note that the cscript slmgr.vbs /rearm command is only for rearming Windows.
It is easier to rearm with OSPPREARM.EXE because you don’t need the application ID. Navigate to \Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15 if you installed the 32-bit version of Office. The 64-bit version is in \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15. Then, enter:
Rearm with OSPPREARM.EXE
To verify that rearming Office was successful, navigate to C:\Windows\system32 and enter:
cscript slmgr.vbs /dlv all
Then, search for “Office 15” and “Remaining App rearm count.”
Remaining App rearm count
I rearmed a volume edition, so the remaining rearm count is 2. The rearm count should be 0 after you rearm a trial of a retail edition.
If you try to rearm an Office installation with a rearm count of 0, you will receive Error: 0xc004d307.
Rearm count exceeded
As you can see in the screenshot, you can’t just rearm multiple times in one go to get the 120-day activation period. You always have to rearm shortly before the grace period expires.