I purchased a Mac Office license through my college, and I recently backed up and restored my Mac using Time Machine. I did not RESTORE from the Time Machine backup as a whole, but rather hand-picked files and directories. I am not willing to do a FULL restore, as I would end up with the same problems that caused me to reformat in the first place.

I've been dicked around by Microsoft, and they cannot help me. "You have not paid enough for the license ($40 through my college) so you must contact them for support. Can I do anything else for you?"

Problem is, my college does not keep copies of the keys. I don't know if their partner agreement even allows them to. It'd be a liability.

How can I pry the key from the time machine backup? Can I copy a few directories back and get it to work? Copying "Microsoft Office" in the "Applications" folder will not work.

It is going from the backup directly onto the same physical machine. Any hardware locks will validate.


That actual License file is /Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist Moving this file from the backup back into place may fix the problem.

You may also want to try coping the files from ~/Library specifically ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/ ~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/ and all the ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.* files.

  • sdmeyers's answer is right -- copying that .plist file may fix the problem. I've played around with this issue myself and have found that I cannot reliably restore MS Office to a working state -- even when rebuilding an entire machine.
    – mnewell
    Feb 27 '13 at 20:25

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