How to Upgrade from Office 2013 to Office 2016 and fix Activation Error

Have you heard the exciting news?  Office 2016 is now passing Google Apps providing real-time co-authoring in their desktop apps!  Read more about it in this great write-up from The Verge. Excited as I was, I immediately began the download process and waited “in just a moment” (more like couple hours) for the download to complete. It finished, installed and kept all my previous settings, awesome! BUT (there is always a “but”, right?) I got stuck with a stupid activation screen request. That is where this article comes in.  In this article, I will walk through the upgrade process and how we (thanks to Microsoft support) fixed the activation error. Let me set the stage first:

  • OS: Windows 10 Pro (current PUBLIC release)
  • Current Office installed: Office 2013, 15.0.4753.1003
  • Type of Licensing: Office 365 Home

To start, we need actually to download and upgrade our office application. You can see the official KB here from Office.com. The upgrade is not automatic which I think disappointing, why not drive Office updates through the Windows Update mechanism? Instead, you need to go to your My Account in Office.com and then select Install to initiate the upgrade process.

Step 1: Select My Account

Myaccount

Step 2: Login if not already (no visual as I am already logged in)

Step 3: Select Install

Install2016

Step 3: Select Install again. NOTE: this will install the 32-bit English version. If you want the 64-bit or different language, make sure you select Language and install options to change up options. I will not go further on this route b in visuals but when you click on it, you can select a language. If you REALLY want 64-bit, then click another link Additional install options to choose 64-bit.

Install2

Step 4: A download will kick off which is the installation shell, about 2MB in size. When finished the download, launch it, and full download and installation will begin.  DO NOT BELIEVE the “in just a moment” message, it took hours for mine to download and install but you can still use Office during this process.

Step 5: When done it will let you know in a dialog (sorry forgot to get a screenshot 😦 )

Woohoo, all installed and ready to go, or so I thought. Excitedly I opened Word and immediately received a prompt: (sorry image below is not from my computer, grabbed from Google Images, but only difference is software is just Office 365, not Office 365 ProPlus)

ActivationOffice

When I say Next, it failed with message

We’re sorry, something went wrong and we can’t do this for you right now. Please try again later. (0x8004FC12)

If I click cancel (many times though) the window goes away, and I can use the application, but it always comes back randomly.

I did some quick searching on Web and could not find other reports, so I turned to Microsoft Chat Support. After trying a couple things, they fixed it! I asked him what was actually issue and he only said “when you upgrade to 2016 there are just some few settings that has changed”, followed by “The settings are on the Windows 10, so we just changed it”.

Weird…. anyway, it is fixed 🙂

So here is what he changed using remote access, maybe someone more technically sound can help clarify what is going on:

In Regedit:

HKEY_Local_Machine -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Policies -> ActiveDesktop

  • Changed key NoAddingComponents from 1 to 0

HKEY_Local_Machine -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Policies -> Explorer

  • Changed key NoActiveDesktop from 1 to 0
  • Changed key NoActiveDesktopChanges from 1 to 0

In Command Prompt, run the following commands

  • net localgroup Adminisrators localservice /add
    • should see message “The command completed successfully”
  • fsutil resource setautoreset true C:/
    • should see message “The command completed successfully”
  • Tried to run, but failed netsh int reset resetlog.txt
    • again this failed, with message “The following command was not found: int reset resetlog.txt”
  • netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt
    • Receive series of messages as shown below
Resetting Global, OK!
Resetting Interface, OK!
Resetting Neighbor, OK!
Resetting Path, OK!
Resetting , failed. (yes there was a blank after the word Resetting in this line)
access is denied

Resetting , OK! (yes there was a blank after the word Resetting in this line)

We then restarted the computer.

After Restart, the support technician relaunched the Office application Word 2016 BUT as Run as Administrator. This time, the activation prompt does not appear.

So there you have it. That is how we solved the activation error in my case.  Again, I am not clear what the registry and CMD changes did, or maybe it all was fixed by simply running the application as Administrator for the first time.  I suggest if you see the same issue, try to run one of the Office applications first as an Administrator –

RunasAdmin

Sound off in comments below as to your experience in the Office 2016 upgrade!

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2 thoughts on “How to Upgrade from Office 2013 to Office 2016 and fix Activation Error

  1. Anonymous

    What an insane process! What the F is MS thinking when they do this stupid stuff?

    I know what I am thinking… No more stupid MS Office. I will use something else. It might not work as well, but I won’t have to pay to be aggravated by their stupid policies either.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      I hear people cry about this all the time… This sort of thing happens to all vendors, not just MS. People like you seem to complain, just to hear themselves complain… Get over yourself.

      Like

      Reply

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