Users can try out Office 2010 for 180 days instead of the usual 30, thanks to a little-known trick designed for corporate users.
The tool enables systems administrators to ‘re-arm’ the product’s 30-day grace period up to five times before they need to enter the product's activation key. Home users can take advantage of the same trick to get themselves a free six-month trial.
Microsoft confirmed that a short command documented on its TechNet support pages (opens in new tab), enables users to reset Office 2010’s activation timer before they need to enter the 25-character product key.
All they need to do is run a file called ospprearm.exe at the command prompt. By default, the file is found in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform.
The file can be run up to five times. If users reset the activation counter each time their 30-day trial period is about to elapse, they can extend their trial to a maximum of 180 days before they have to supply an activation key.
The reset feature isn’t a bug. Microsoft says it’s aimed at enterprise administrators, enabling them to create software images that they can use to deploy the operating system to a number of systems over a period of months.
The reset technique must be used on a full copy of Office 2010, rather than a time-limited trial, which comes with its own time-limited activation code which must be entered when first the software is first installed.
You'll find our in-depth review of Office 2010 here (opens in new tab).