Home Use Program, part 3

More Q & A about the program that gives employees Office for a few bucks.

Questions and problems with the Home Use Program continue to reach Office-Watch.com

The Home Use Program (HUP) is part of the corporate licensing of Microsoft Office which gives employees a home use copy of Office for a fraction of the usual price see Get Office 2007 from your boss for $30.

After that article we received a lot of messages from readers.  With help from Microsoft we covered some common myths; Home Use Program myths debunked.

Now some more Q&A:

The HUP users must also use Office at work

TRUE, probably

In several places in the Office 2007 license , it sets these three rules for home use:

“To be a Home Use Rights User, you must be both:

· an employee of an organization that has a Microsoft Volume License agreement with Software Assurance, and

· the user of a licensed copy of the software, or a product that includes the software, with active Software Assurance. “

That second point seems to mean that a Home Use Program user must also use Office at work. Though it’s not really clear where ‘the user of a licensed copy‘ is using the software in this context.

The third rule is elsewhere in the license:

“If you licensed a Home Use Rights edition, the licensed device must be used primarily within your home.”

HUP version of Office only works on one computer


The HUP license for Office is the same as the retail purchase, which means the software can be installed on two computers. A desktop computer (at home in the case of an HUP license) and a portable computer.

If HUP software is pirated, Microsoft will involve the company

Possible, but very unlikely

If any Office 2007 product key (retail or HUP) is misused or overused it is of very limited use. A standard issue Product Key will only activate on a small number of computers before it won’t work anymore.

In theory, Microsoft could investigate and track down misuse of a particular Office 2007 Product Key but it never happens. It’s not worth anyone’s time chasing such a tiny matter especially when the product activation technology will stop misuse of a single Product Key automatically. See What happens if your product key is stolen?

Even if Microsoft did choose to chase misuse of a single Product Key there’s little a MS Office software licensed company can say. Microsoft already has details of the HUP purchase and the product key issued to a particular employee. All the company can be expected to do is confirm the person’s employment status and the Software Assurance status. Beyond that just point Microsoft to its own HUP rules and let Microsoft deal with the employee directly. However, as we’ve said, this scenario is so unlikely that it’s not worth considering.

Microsoft would come down hard if a company was suspected of allowing non-employees access to the HUP benefit. That’s a clear breach of the HUP arrangements.

Allowing staff HUP access means more IT support calls


It’s true that staff tend to call the IT help desk for non-work matters. That’s going to happen whether staff have HUP or regular versions of Office. Each IT department has its own methods of dealing with the problem.

On the flip-side, if employees have Microsoft Office at home they are learning more about the software (on their own time) which means less support calls in the long run and more efficient staff.

HUP isn’t worth it


The small amount of corporate arrangements necessary has to be balanced against the great benefit to employees.

HUP means that employees get around $500 worth of Microsoft Office for around $30 – that has to be worth something.

HUP can help in a small way with staff retention – not that keeping staff is the problem it was even a year ago .

We’ve paid for HUP, why not use it?


Perhaps part of the problem is that the Home Use Program is considered an ‘extra’ when it is really an integral part of Microsoft Software Assurance.

Each Office, Sharepoint Designer, Visio or Project license that a company pays for is really two licenses – one for the company and an equivalent Home Use Program license.

If a company chooses not to make HUP available to staff then the company is throwing away a significant part of the license / Software Assurance fees they pay.

My company has Microsoft Office – why can’t I get the Home Use Program?

Getting multiple departments in a company to allow Home Use Program access can be difficult. There’s little incentive to make it happen and often plenty of objections, real and fanciful. The sad fact is that any large organization will have difficulty getting the Legal, Human Resources and IT departments to agree on most anything – let alone something like the Home Use Program. The phrase ‘herding cats’ springs to mind.


We’ve heard a lot from people who can’t get their company to make the Home Use Program available to them. It would be great to hear from people who have bought Office through their employer or IT managers who’ve setup HUP for employees.  How easy was it to setup, do staff make use of the scheme, any problems?

Join Office for Mere Mortals today

Office for Mere Mortals is where thousands pick up useful tips and tricks for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.  We've never spammed or sold addresses since we started over twenty years ago.
Invalid email address