Lost Product Key for MS Word, am I SOL?

I did a reformat & reinstall on my computer last week, but when I went to reinstall MS Works Suite 2003 the product key didn’t work. I’ve tried 3 times and the computer keeps telling me it’s not the right product key.

Is there a legitimated way around this or am I just SOL?

If I can’t use MS Word, is there a good, free alternative that is compatible with the word documents?

Thank You.

I assume you don’t have a bill/PO from Microsoft or and e-mail confirmation?
I’d try customer service, I bet they have a record of the purchase and just may help you out.
Other than that, I’ve found Open Office to be very capable.

Do you have any other versions of word on your computer. For example trial versions of software that you have no intention of using because you have a legitimate version? These could prevent an older version of Works installing.

Relevant MS knowledge-base article.

Otherwise, I would +1 Open Office. It’s become my default office package, despite having a legitimate MS office package.

No. I should have mention that the computer & software that came with it, was purchased 11 years ago as a gift for my ex by his sister. He gave it to me when I moved out.

There are no trial version on the computer.

I will check out Open Office.


There is no MS WORKS Suite 2003
Works Word is not MS Word - 2 different versions.

Are the files you presumable backed up in wps or doc files?

MS Works, usually does not ask for a serial, if it’s an OEM version shipped with the PC.

The product code for MS Office 2003 is not the one that’s on the sticker on the PC or Laptop that says Windows XP Home. However, the sticker might look similar and is printed on the CD sleeve.

Free versions: Open Office It’s compatible with Word - if you save the files as *.doc files.

I ran into trouble reinstalling Office 2003. It had been installed on an old pc long since trashed. The MS validation rejected my key and gave a number to call. A automated system guided me through getting a new key and my Office validated.

tried magicjellybean?

its to check whether the product key is indeed correct

I’d be surprised if something so old would still run well with a modern OS like Win 7 or 8 anyway.

I’d just use OpenOffice- it seems to open up my old ca. 2002 files just fine.

If you are running Windows 7 or earlier, you can install MS Office Starter. It’s a cut down version of Word and Excel, but it does the job for most people.

This page has a download link (MS don’t make it obvious where to get it on their site)


Open Office isn’t being maintained any more, but a fork of it Libre Office is http://www.libreoffice.org/

Actually, it is being maintained very actively. Officially it is called Apache Open Office. The latest version is 4.0.1 and information can be found at https://www.openoffice.org/

Another fork of Open Office.

Just a suggestion. In the future take a sharpie and write the key on the CD. It’s harder to lose that way.

Office Starter does not work on Windows XP

Shit yes, you are right. It only officially works for Vista SP1 up to any 64-bit Windows 7

I was using Office 2003 on Windows 7 for quite a while. It ran fine, same as it did on XP.

I’ve used OpenOffice and LibreOffice both with great success. I’d recommend either one of them. This computer is running Windows 8.1. I’ve got LibreOffice installed on it, and I use it daily, including saving files into Word format. I used to use OpenOffice on my old computer. It had Windows 7 on it. My mom still does. Her computer also has Windows 7. I haven’t really noticed a difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

Win8 has sometimes weird problems with Office 2003 - indexing, finding and saving the files - but works fine for the most part.

I wonder (if you really meant Word everywhere and no Works), could you run data recovery on your harddisk to recover the old Word configuration files and find the key in there? You’d need the files to be recoverable, though.