The importance of setting the PC name

B Poot

Bronze Level Poster
[Forum moderators, please feel free to move this to a different forum area if this thread is not in the right place]

Thought that I would share something that happened to me recently so that other might learn from it. I bought Microsoft Office 2019 (standalone onetime purchase) when I ordered my computer from PCS. Recently, I decided to do a clean reinstall of Windows (10). Afterwards, I reinstalled MSOffice 2019, but when I came to open it, it claimed that I couldn't activate it because I had already reached the number of installs allowed for this product. It seemed to think that my computer was a different machine after the clean reinstall, despite the hardware remaining the same and me logging in with the same Windows account.

I tried the help option, but it is an automated service that reached the same conclusion - that I couldn't activate MSOffice because it had already been installed on 'another' computer. There was an option to get a real human to call me back, but that failed with an error every time that I tried to use it!

By coincendence, I was looking at some of my settings and noticed that the computer name had changed when I did a clean reinstall of Windows. Fortunately, I had written down the computer name that my computer came with when it was delivered from PCS. Changing it back to this value allowed MSOffice to activate immediately and automatically.

TL;DR: Before doing a clean reinstall of windows, note down the Computer Name that your computer came with. After the reinstall, change it back to this original value and standalone versions of MSOffice should be able to activate without any issues.


We love you Ukraine
This is something that a lot of people aren't aware of, PC Name is one of the unique identifiers that any piece of software refers to.

It's a standard part of a windows installation that you set the PC name. If you're always on the same device, always use the same PC name, saves so many issues.


Behold The Ford Mondeo
I don't think you're asked now unfortunately, I certainly don't recall being asked for input on the PC name at the last few reformats/installs.

I tend to name my systems though, just for convenience in the network. I've never named my tablet though and so it has the standard "Desktop-VX1234" type thing going on.

Surprised that it caused issues with M$ office, well I'm not I suppose...... but it shouldn't happen.