Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Office is a popular pre-install on many new computers. If you didn't also get a CD, you should. Installing or reinstalling is a problem without it.

I just bought a computer with Microsoft Office 2007 installed so I do not have the installation disc. I recently wanted to install Office 2007 into my the other computer but how can I do it when I do not have the installation disc?

You may not be able to.

In part, it depends on if you're moving the installation from one machine to another, versus copying to make a second installation.

It also depends on the manufacturer you purchased your computer from, and their willingness to help.

First, in my opinion, there's no reason not to have installation media for any software that's preinstalled on your machine. I say that for no other reason than the ramifications of a hard disk failure. If your disk dies and you need to reinstall everything from scratch you must have the original installation media.

So step one is to contact the manufacturer from which you purchased your machine. Get them to provide the CDs or DVDs for everything that was installed on your machine. Sadly, sometimes they'll charge for this. Even worse, some will simply refuse which in my mind is unacceptable.

"If your disk dies and you need to reinstall everything from scratch you must have the original installation media."

And next time you purchase a machine, make sure to request or order the installation media with it. Always. And avoid manufacturers that won't provide it.

If you cannot get the original CDs, then your options are limited. There are tools you can purchase that advertise they can move an installation of a software installation from one machine to another. I've not tried any of them, but depending on your budget, they may be worth some investigation. Of course depending on your budget, it may also be as easy to just purchase another copy of Office.

Which brings us to the non-technical ramifications of what you're attempting to do.

You may need to purchase another copy anyway.

It is very possible, even likely, that the copy of Office you have preinstalled is licensed to exactly one installation. By that I mean that if you are trying to copy the installation to a second machine and then use Office on both machines, you're breaking the terms of the license. Effectively that's piracy, as you've made an illegal copy of the software.

Unfortunately, particularly with pre-installed software, it's also very possible that the software is licensed to that specific machine only. That means that even moving it to a second machine and uninstalling it from the first might technically be in violation of the license. Seems silly, I know, but that's the way some of these are written.

So, what should you do?

First, get installation media if you can at all. Not necessarily so you can install it on another machine, but so that you can reinstall it on your own machine after a hard disk crash.

Second, read the licensing agreement that came with the software to find out if what you're attempting to do is even legal. My guess is you're trying to make a second copy, and that likely is not.

Finally, research application moving tools to move pre-installed programs from one machine to another. I don't (yet) have a recommendation here, but perhaps my readers do, and of course some internet research will also turn up lots of ideas.

But start by getting the CDs.

Article C3712 - April 26, 2009 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

April 26, 2009 8:49 PM

You can always attempt to download the particular media you have a license for. Of course, you should always go for a trusted source which has the original media, but downloading is always a valid option.. Especially if you know what you're doing.

April 27, 2009 1:15 AM

If you have the license key, isn't there a way to obtain a copy of office from, lets say Microsoft, without having to buy one? Even if they charge for the price of the media and shipping it would still be a lit cheaper. And you do have a valid license, you just "lost" the original installation disk...
This of course for hard drive failure scenarios and not for installing on a 2nd machine!

Not that I'm aware of. In most cases your pre-installed copy of Office is an OEM copy from the computer manufacturer, not Microsoft direct. If you ask Microsoft for help, they'll likely send you to the manufacturer for support.
- Leo

April 27, 2009 1:18 AM

This microsoft support page has some interesting information. Hope it helps!

Gary Ransome
April 28, 2009 4:10 PM

There are disk imaging applications such as PowerQuest Drive Image Pro or Symantec Ghost. Imaging provides a fast "Image" of everything from the 1st computer to 2nd computer very fast. I have used the Symantec Ghost application and it worked for me.

Brian Nicholas
April 28, 2009 5:01 PM

Best insurance is to buy "HDClone" from Mirway software and clone your hard drive to a spare drive. If a HD crash happens just swap the hard drives.
The programme worked fine and I have a spare HD in my safe. Cost me A$34.91. cheaper than buying program discs.

April 28, 2009 6:16 PM

Then again, you could use Open Office and load it legally on to as many computers as you wish.

April 28, 2009 6:42 PM

I agree with David (posted April 28, 1009), especially if the MS Office is 2007. You have to go up a learning curve for that application even if you have used a previous MS Office edition. Go to Open Office ( it free and legally. It is a great alternative to MS Office.

April 29, 2009 12:30 AM

Actually it's very easy: all you need is to download it from Microsoft (the trial version is just the installer without the serial) and an app to read the serial from your installed Office - i use

Nina Barnhart
April 29, 2009 9:37 PM

I lost my C drive with it there went my microsoft office 2003 so I cannot open files stored on my second drive F, which is now my C drive. Any Ideas? Are these files lost even the files stored on my new Ebook I cannot open.

I really don't understand what you're describing. If you install Office, Office Viewers, or OpenOffice, you should be able to open those documents - unless it's some other kind of problem I'm not understanding.
- Leo

October 3, 2011 10:10 PM

Hi. Thanks for the article, but I've found it inaccurate. I had a pre-installed, no media Office H&S 2007. PC died & I just reinstalled Office 2007 on an older PC that was running Linux (so I successfully moved over both my Win7 and my office licenses to different HW). Could not have been easier. Go to:; enter your 25-dig license, download 311 MB file, install & then enter the license again. You are done. It was a Dell machine, maybe Dell has better licenses??? thanks

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