How to Activate a Microsoft Product Key

By Kristy King

Microsoft product keys allow you to validate software program licenses.
i portable pc image by Albo from

Many new desktop PCs and laptop computers come pre-loaded with free trials of Microsoft software programs, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. However, once a free trial expires, you must purchase a Microsoft product key in order to continue using these software programs. Product activation through a Microsoft product key validates software licenses and helps to protect consumers' privacy. Activate your Microsoft product key online or by phone to validate your Microsoft program.

Activate Online

Click on the Windows "Start" button at the bottom left-hand side of your computer screen.

Navigate to the "Programs" tab to locate the Microsoft software product you need to activate. Click on the product to open up the software program.

Select the "Activate Product" option from your software program's "Help" menu. This opens up an Activation Wizard that walks you through the activation process.

Type in your 25 character product key, a mix of unique numbers and letters used to identify licensing information, when prompted by the Activation Wizard.

Provide your country/region when prompted. The Activation Wizard sends your information to Microsoft licensing servers over the Internet and will activate your software immediately, as long as you have provided a valid product key.

Activate By Phone

Select the "Activate Product" option from your software program's "Help" menu to open up the Activation Wizard.

Click on your country/region when prompted. The Activation Wizard will provide a list of phone numbers to call for Microsoft product activation.

Keep the Microsoft Activation Wizard open and have your Microsoft product key and Installation ID information ready when you call for activation.

Call the customer service representative and provide her with your Microsoft product key, Installation ID and other information required for the activation process.

Type in the Confirmation ID you receive from the Microsoft customer service representative in the spaces at the bottom of the screen.