If Office 365 won’t activate on your Windows 7 device, the program will soon become unlicensed, and you will be unable to make use of Microsoft’s features.

Have you perhaps downloaded Microsoft Office on more than one occasion? Multiple copies installed can cause conflict on your device when you attempt to activate O365.

Ensuring the date and time on Windows is correct is an important factor to make sure the activation of Microsoft Office is successful.

With this easy to follow guide, we will help you understand why Office 365 won’t activate on Windows 7, and provide you with simple steps you can action on your computer so you can get your Microsoft programs up and running.

Why can I not activate Office 365 on Windows 7?

Office 365 Won't Activate Windows 7

Why is my Microsoft 365 not activated?

Office 365 will not activate on Windows 7 if TLS 1.2 is not turned on in the operating system of your device. TLS stands for ‘Transport Layer Security’ which is used to keep data safe when it is being transferred over a network, eg; downloading O365 onto your computer. For Office 365 to be successfully installed and activated on Windows 7, TLS 1.1 must be updated to the 1.2 version.

There are a few error messages that will appear on your screen when there is an issue with Office 365 being activated on Windows 7;

  1. ‘We’re having trouble activating Office’
  2. ‘Sorry, but we’re having trouble signing you in’
  3. ‘Sorry, we are having temporary server issues’

Besides your TLS version being out of date on your computer, you can experience these error messages for a few other reasons;

Reason 1. Internet connection

When downloading Office 365 onto your Windows desktop, you need to be connected to a stable internet connection that will not disconnect during the install phase.

O365 will have trouble activating if there is no network connection, however, Microsoft will automatically try and enable Office 365 as soon as your network is working again.

Reason 2. Microsoft service issue

If Microsoft’s server is experiencing issues while you are trying to activate Office 365, this will cause interference because your request will not be processed successfully.

You can check the Microsoft server status to confirm if the activation issue is due to a problem on Microsoft’s side, or yours.

Reason 3. Multiple Office copies installed

Office 365 will not activate if you have multiple copies of the program installed onto your device.

This will cause conflict during the activation process because there will be duplicated data downloaded on Windows.

Reason 4. Office 365 subscription status

If your Microsoft Office subscription has expired, this can stop Office 365 from activating successfully.

A cancelled subscription will prevent any activation on Windows 7.

Reason 5. Windows incorrect date and time

If the date and time on your Windows 7 PC is incorrect, this will cause conflict when you attempt to install and activate Office 365.

How to activate Office 365 on Windows 7

Office 365 Won't Activate Windows 7

How to activate Microsoft Office on Windows 7

For Office 365 to be successfully activated on your Windows 7 PC, you will need to update the TLS to version 1.2 for O365 to be compatible with the Windows 7 operating system. You can complete this update by installing the Microsoft Easy Fix program. Once this has been installed, and you have completed the necessary steps, you can restart your PC and proceed with activating Office 365.

Other steps you can take to ensure Office 365 activates on Windows 7 are;

Fix 1. Check internet connection

If your internet connection keeps disconnecting, or there is a problem with your network service provider, your internet will need to be reconnected. This will ensure you receive a stable connection during the activation process.

Check your internet speed to make sure it is not lagging.

To refresh your connection, reboot your Wifi router.

Fix 2. Uninstall other downloaded copies of Office 365

Office 365 will not activate if there is more than one downloaded copy of the software on your device.

Step 1. Open the ‘Control Panel’ from the Start Menu

Step 2. Click on ‘Uninstall a Program’

Step 3. In the search box, type in ‘Microsoft 365’

Step 4. Right-click on all the duplicated copies and choose ‘Uninstall’

Office 365 Won't Activate Windows 7Once the uninstall process has finished, you can restart your PC.

Note, if you only had one Office 365 installed onto your device, you can uninstall and reinstall Office.

Fix 3. Check Microsoft subscription status

You may need to renew your Microsoft subscription status for Office 365 to be successfully activated if you already had an account.

Step 1. Make sure you exit out of all Office applications

Step 2. Access your current subscriptions

Step 3. You may be requested to sign in with your Microsoft 365 credentials

Step 4. If your subscriptions have expired, renew them

Once it has been re-activated, you should be able to restart your applications.

Fix 4. Check Windows 7 date and time

If the date and time are incorrect on Windows, this can sometimes cause conflict when it comes to activating your Office 365 programs.

Step 1. Press the ‘Windows’ icon button and select ‘Settings’

Step 2. Choose ‘Time & Language’ followed by ‘Date and Time’

Step 3. Turn off ‘Set the time automatically’

Office 365 Won't Activate Windows 7You will now be able to set this to the correct date and time. Save your changes and restart your device.

(Did you know; Bill Gates reached his first billion when he was 31 years old, in 1987. The company was founded in 1975).

What happens if Office 365 is not activated?

Office 365 Won't Activate Windows 7

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If Office 365 does not get activated, the program will become unlicensed and all features within Office will become unavailable. This will include all applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. Once this happens, you will only have ‘viewer’ rights where you will be unable to perform any edits on documents or create new ones.

Whether you were making use of the 30-day free trial, or your subscription has ended, you will need to reactivate your O365 if you want to carry on making use of all its features.

Once Microsoft Office has become unlicensed, you will be prompted to sign in, or a request will appear for you to input a product key.

If you try to edit a document, you will receive an error message stating; ‘You can’t make this change because the selection is locked.’

So, if you want to be able to make use of Microsoft’s features, we suggest you ensure that you activate your Office 365.

Is Windows 7 still supported by Microsoft?

Office 365 Won't Activate Windows 7

Does Office work with Windows 7?

The support from Microsoft for Windows 7 has ended. This means Microsoft will no longer provide software updates for Windows 7 that includes additional security measures. This means, without the support for Windows 7, your device will be more at risk to incur viruses and malicious software.

Windows 7 will still function, however, you will not receive the following from Microsoft;

  1. Technical support
  2. Software updates
  3. Security update
  4. Improved functions and features

If you want to ensure your desktop stays safe from any potential software threats, it is advised to upgrade from Windows 7.


With this comprehensive guide, we hope you were able to get your Office 365 activated on your Windows 7 PC, and that you now understand why you were experiencing this setback.

If you are still having a problem trying to activate O365 onto Windows 7, there may be an underlying issue with your computer, or the operating system installed on your PC.

You can contact Microsoft’s Office support by filling out their online form explaining what your issue is.

(Quiz Time; How long did it take Bill Gates to reach his first billion from when Microsoft was first founded? Fill out our contact form with your details, and answer).