Activation helps reduce software counterfeiting, which helps ensure that customers receive the software quality they expect.
Activation means that a specific product key becomes associated with the hardware it is installed on. Once you have used the product key for the specified number of times on the same or different computers, that product key can no longer be used for activation on other computers. Activation is mandatory. After any grace period expires, you must activate the software to be able to continue using it.
During activation, product key information is sent to the Activation Server, such as:
- The product code, which is a five-digit code that identifies the product you are activating.
- The date of installation.
- Information that helps confirm that the product key information has not been altered.
- Activation also sends a number generated from the computer’s hardware configuration to the Activation Server. This number does not represent any personal information or information about the software. It cannot be used to determine the make or model of the computer and it cannot be calculated to determine any additional information about your computer.
The software can detect and accept changes to your PC configuration. Minor upgrades do not require re-activation. If you uninstall the product you might be required to activate your product again. Some changes to your computer components or the software might require you to reactivate the software.
If you are unable to complete activation, you might receive a message with a link to a Web site where you can learn more about why activation failed. If you choose to follow that link, information about why you failed activation is sent to the Activation Server. This information might include information normally sent during activation.
You might also be asked to reactivate your copy of the software. If this happens, an Activation Wizard might allow you to obtain more information online about your licensing state and how to resolve activation issues. Choosing to obtain information online about your licensing state sends information normally sent during activation.
If you do not activate or reactivate your copy of the software, you might not be able to use it or it might be marked as not properly licensed. For example, there might be a visual indication in the title bar that your copy is not properly licensed.
None of the information collected through activation or reactivation is used to personally identify you. In certain cases, such as where activation is done by using a volume licensing key or when your product is being checked to see if it is genuine, none of the information related to activation is sent to the Activation Server.