Fix: Microsoft Office can’t Find your License for this Application

The error “Microsoft Office can’t Find your License for this Application” occurs when the Microsoft application is unable to verify the license of your Office software. Each Microsoft Office application has a unique Product ID key which you have to subscribe to or purchase in order to use it. Some users may also get the Product ID through their institute or company.

The reason why Windows is unable to authenticate the license is mostly due to the service “sppsvc.exe” unable to execute and run successfully on your computer. This service has the job to fetch your Product ID and authenticate it with Microsoft servers. If it fails, you get the error message. For resolving this issue, we will try to launch the process by force so it can authenticate your application.

Note: This solution will only work for people who have already activated their version of the office and are not running any pirated product. Pirated products don’t have any Product ID and are usually running through a crack. If you are running the pirated software, it is advised to purchase a proper license for the application for the error message to go away.

Solution 1: Restarting sppsvc.exe

The service “sppsvc.exe” can be easily found in your listed services. We will navigate there, make sure the startup type is “automatic” and force the service to start immediately.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “services.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Once in the services tab, navigate through the list until you find the process. Right-click it and select “Properties”.

  1. If the process is stopped, the option to start it will be enabled. Click on “Start” underneath the heading of Service Status.

  1. Make sure you have an active internet connection. Close all the open windows and try launching the Office product again. If you have a valid office key entered, the process will automatically verify it and you will be able to use the software.

There will be many cases where you will be unable to start the process as the option to start will be greyed out. In this case, we will change the ownership of the process using the Registry and then try again.

Note: A registry editor is a powerful tool. Changing keys which you have no knowledge about can damage your computer and even render it unusable. Proceed with caution. It is always wise to back up your registry before you make any changes.

  1. Make sure you are logged in with an administrator account. Press Windows + R, type “regedit” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Once in the Registry Editor, navigate to the following file path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SoftwareProtectionPlatform
  1. Right-click on the key and select “Permissions..”.

  1. Select the user “sppsvc” from the list. After it has been highlighted, check “Full Control” from the permissions window. Press Apply to save changes and exit.

  1. Restart your computer, make sure you have an active internet connection, start the process from the services as shown above, and check if the problem got solved.

Solution 2: Starting the Process Using Registry Editor

If starting the process using the conventional method as described above fails, we can try editing the registry values and start the service forcefully. We change the start state of the process as well as the running state.

Note: A registry editor is a powerful tool. Changing keys which you have no knowledge about can damage your computer and even render it unusable. Proceed with caution. It is always wise to back up your registry before you make any changes. You can always revert the changes if this doesn’t work for you.

  1. Press Windows + R, type “regedit” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Navigate to the following file path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\sppsvc
  1. Find the key “DelayedAutoStart” from the navigation pane at the right. Double-click it, set its value from “1” to “0”. Press OK to save changes. The zero value in the key means that there will be no delay when starting the process and it will start without any delay whenever you boot your computer.

  1. Find the key “Start”, double-click it and change its value to “2”. Press OK to save changes and exit.

  1. Find the key “Type”, double-click it, set its value to “20” and press OK. This value means that this service can share a process with other Win32 services.

  1. After applying the changes, restart your computer. After booting again, make sure that you have an active internet connection. Wait for a little while and try launching the office application again. If it doesn’t work, restart your computer.

Solution 3: Contacting Microsoft Support

If you are unable to activate Office product even if you have officially purchased the license in the past, you can contact a Microsoft Live agent to solve the problem for you. There are numerous cases where due to some technical errors, the product cannot be validated properly. You should over to Microsoft’s official support website and click on “Get started” to start the process to talk to a live agent. Keep talking to the virtual agent until it asks you in the end if your problem is solved. Respond with a “No” and you will be given an option to talk to a live agent. Log in to your Microsoft account and then correspond with the official.

Note: Make sure you have the order ID or reference number giving proof of purchase of your official version of the Office product. If you are using the software key given to you by your institution or company, make sure to contact the administrator there first.

Solution 4: Disabling Compatibility Mode

In some cases, the compatibility mode might be preventing Office from being able to verify the license. Therefore, in this step, we will be disabling the compatibility mode for Office and then check if that fixes the issue with it. For that:

  1. Navigate to the main installation folder of Office and right-click on the executable of the Office program that you want to use.
  2. Click on “Properties” and then click on the “Compatibility” tab.
    Compatibility Mode
  3. Uncheck the “Run this program in Compatibility mode for” option.
  4. Click on “Apply” and then on “OK”.
  5. Check to see if the issue persists.

Note: It has also been seen that going back to a different restore point fixes the issue for some users.

Solution 5: Updating Office

It is important that Office be updated to the latest version either by using the conventional method or by using the repair tool. In order to do so, follow the steps below.

  1. Restart your computer and start the office.
  2. It should now get past the error, Go to “File>Account>Update Options” and then select the “Update Now” option in Office to initiate the updating process.
  3. If the program doesn’t stay open long enough, try to do this through Microsoft Outlook.
    Selecting “Update Now” button
  4. If the error doesn’t let you get past the screen, right-click on the “Start menu” button and select “Apps and Features“.
    Clicking on the “Apps and Features” button
  5. In Apps and Features, click on “Office” and then select “Modify”.
  6. Let the setup run and click on the “Repair” option.
  7. Furthermore, click on the “Online Repair” and then on “Repair” or if you see the “Change your Installation”  button, click on “Repair”.
  8. This should update your office, check to see if the issue persists.
  9. If it doesn’t update Office, Press “Windows” + “R” to open the Run prompt.
    Press the Windows Logo key + R
  10. Type in the following address and press “Enter” to execute it.
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ClickToRun\OfficeC2RClient.exe /update user
    Typing in the command
  11. Let the setup run in the background and check to see if the issue persists.

For KMS (or other cracking software) Users:

After the 1709 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has probably caught up with the service. KMS can no longer properly activate your Windows products. The software protection will start giving you high CPU usage along with the error message under discussion. It is recommended that you properly buy the software to stop the inconvenience caused.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Microsoft Office can’t Find your License for this Application

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