Office Professional Plus for Office 365 – Activation Process

Office 365 combines the Microsoft Office Professional Plus client suite with cloud versions of the following products and services: Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Lync Online. The Office Professional Plus offering provides the complete Office client suite as a monthly subscription service.

The Office Professional Plus subscription allows customers to purchase monthly licenses for each of their users. Each user license allows five concurrent installations. Both 32- and 64-bit versions of Office Professional Plus are available in Office 365. However, Microsoft recommends that you install the 32-bit version. You download and manage Office Professional Plus for Office 365 from the Office 365 portal. After you download Office Professional Plus for Office 365, you can make the Office suite available to users in your organization, based on the number of user licenses that you sign up for.

Office Professional Plus for Office 365 and volume licensed product comparison

Office Professional Plus for   Office 365 Volume licensed products
Download   location Office 365 portal Volume Licensing Service Center
Software Office   Professional Plus Office   Standard 2010Office   Professional Plus 2010
Product   key and activation Subscription-based   activationTerms:   monthly per user license Volume   licensing technologies:Key   Management Service (KMS): 180 daysMultiple   Activation Key (MAK): perpetual activation
When   Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) starts In 60   days from last activation MAK:   not applicableKMS:   in 180 daysNotification   mode
Deployment   options Office   365 portalUnmanaged   and managed options Unmanaged   and managed optionsMicrosoft   Application Virtualization (App-V)Remote   Desktop Services (Terminal Services)
Allowed   number of copies 5 active installations on different devices per user One device   per license\activation

Office Professional Plus components and interactions

Office Professional Plus for Office 365 includes new activation technology that enables a monthly subscription model. Every month, Office Professional Plus automatically verifies the status of a user’s subscription. The validation process requires Internet access.

  • If a user has a valid subscription, Office Professional Plus is activated for another 30 days.
  • If the user’s subscription cannot be verified, Office Professional Plus enters a 30 day grace period.

During the 30 day grace period, Office Professional Plus tries to verify a user’s subscription every 24 hours. If, by the end of the 30 grace period, Office Professional Plus still has not been able to verify the status of a user’s subscription, Office Professional Plus will enter Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM)

Activation Components and Process

Office Professional Plus for Office 365 includes activation components that automatically obtain a product key and activate it. Office Professional Plus includes the following client components and services:

  • Office Professional Plus client suite
  • Subscription activation components:
    • Office Subscription Agent
    • OSA Notifier
    • Office Software Protection Platform (OSPP)
    • Office Subscription Service (OSS)

Office Professional Plus for Office 365 also uses Microsoft Office 365 Desktop Setup, an additional component that is downloaded from the Office 365 Portal. Microsoft Office Desktop Setup is an installer service that checks for and provides important software updates for Office 365.

Subscription activation components

Office Subscription Agent (OSA) is part of the Office Professional Plus for Office 365 download. OSA manages the client-side subscription experience and performs the following tasks:

  • Completes initial subscription provisioning.
  • Interacts with the Office Subscription Service that is described later in this article and the Office Software Protection Platform to manage subscription status and license state, and provides state messages to the subscription notification applications.
  • Manages all licensing actions by using the Office Software Protection Platform.

Office Subscription Agent coordinates with Office Subscription Service and Office Software Protection Platform to apply business rules on the client computer for activation, renewal, deprovision, and reprovision of user subscriptions. OSA also notifies users about important subscription states and prompts for any input required for user account validation.

Office Subscription Agent includes two components:

  • OSA core service: runs on the client computer as a network service. This service enforces business rules for the user subscription.
  • OSA Notifier: runs in user context, notifies users about error conditions, and authenticates the user ID account. The OSA Notifier uses Microsoft Identity Client Runtime Library (IDCRL), a dynamic link library (DLL) file that is used by applications such as smart clients to authenticate user ID credentials.

Office also uses Office Software Protection Platform (osppsvc), which is a system service on the client that brokers the license state for installed Office software.

Office Subscription Service is a cloud-based service that manages subscriptions, users, and computers for use with Office Subscription Agent. In addition to interfacing with OSA, OSS obtains computer-specific product keys from the Sell keys service and manages Time Based Licensing parameters through the Activation Verification System (AVS), an Office Software Protection Platform system that manages activation licenses that are based on Time Based Licensing (TBL) parameters set by OSS.

There are four Office license states:

OOB_GRACE Office was installed within the last 30 days but is not yet activated. Office is fully functional. During this state, Office prompts the user to enter user ID credentials to provision Office.
LICENSED Office is in full-functionality mode and a key was successfully installed and activated.
EXTENDED_GRACE Office is in full-functionality mode but is in risk of falling into RFM. This state lasts for 30 days and indicates that the key has not been successfully re-activated. This could be caused by the computer being “bumped” to make space on the license for another computer or by a user being de-provisioned. This can also be caused by an extended time without Internet connectivity, which prevents OSA from validating the user’s license.
NOTIFICATIONS State indicates that Office is in RFM mode.

Activation process

Office Professional Plus for Office 365 offers a pay-as-you-go, per user licensing model. When a user’s Office Professional Plus subscription is canceled, Office enters reduced-functionality mode (RFM or read-only mode). In contrast to the traditional Office 2010 client activation, which requires that the user enter the 25 character product key, Office Professional Plus for Office 365 includes Office Subscription Agent. It is an add-on component that automatically obtains a product key and activates it. The user only has to enter a user ID and password one time to validate the subscription. A user can have up to 5 concurrent installations by using the same user ID and password.

OSA is installed during the Office Professional Plus for Office 365 installation. OSA is the mechanism through which Office Professional Plus full functionality is enabled or disabled, depending on the status of the user’s subscription. When installation is complete, the OSA system service and the OSA Notifier are started. These two processes are necessary for the correct functioning of an Office Professional Plus for Office 365 subscription.

The following graphic shows how OSA takes a user ID and password as input, contacts OSS to retrieve a 30-day product key, and then loads the key into OSPP. The key only licenses Office for 30 days. OSA contacts OSS once every 30 days to revalidate the subscription and extend the license period for an additional 30 days.


To verify the licensing state of the Office 365 clients, the clients must have reliable Internet access every 30 days.

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