The Microsoft Office 365 offline grace period explained

Here’s how to check how many days are left before Microsoft 365 needs an online ‘licence check’ to confirm your licence.  Microsoft calls this a ‘grace period’. Also what’s the maximum possible offline access period.

See Restart or renew Microsoft 365 licence before going offline

Office 365 / Microsoft 365 software and apps check the validity of the linked plan at least every 30 days.  That happens regardless of how long before your Microsoft 365 plan expires.  It doesn’t matter if your plan has a year or more to run, the software checks with Microsoft’s servers at least every 30 days.

Disclaimer: the info below has not been confirmed by Microsoft.  All the information available suggests that the ‘Grace Period’ is the time before another licence check is required.

Microsoft calls this a ‘grace period’ or ‘remaining grace’, the number of days (even minutes) before Office software will block editing of documents and drop to Reduced Functionality mode

There is a way to find how long your Office software can run without an online licence check. That’s important information if you’re going somewhere with limited or no Internet access.

The vast majority of Microsoft 365 users don’t have to worry about licence checks because their computers/devices are connected to the Internet at least every few weeks.  This detail is only useful for people going offline for three weeks or more.

Remaining Grace period

In a Command Prompt window, you can see more licence details including the ‘Remaining Grace’ period for your Microsoft 365/Office 365 licence.

In this case, Office will work offline for another 26 days (37,697 minutes) before it’ll drop to Reduced Functionality mode.

View Licence status

Open a Windows Command Prompt. Start, type ‘Command’ or ‘CMD’ to see the Command Prompt option.

Change to the Office program folder either:

For 64-bit Office

CD C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16

For 32-bit Office

CD C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16

If you’re not sure, try the 64-bit folder, if that doesn’t exist try the 32-bit (x86) option.

In the main Office program folder use this command:

cscript ospp.vbs /dstatus

The result will look somewhat like this.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16>cscript ospp.vbs /dstatus
Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.812
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
—Processing————————–
—————————————
PRODUCT ID: 00201-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
SKU ID: xxxxxxxxxx-16ea-420f-a611-xxxxxxxx
LICENSE NAME: Office 16, Office16O365HomePremR_Subscription4 edition
LICENSE DESCRIPTION: Office 16, TIMEBASED_SUB channel
LICENSE STATUS:  —LICENSED—
ERROR CODE: 0x4004FC04 (for information purposes only as the status is licensed)
ERROR DESCRIPTION: The Software Licensing Service reported that the application is running within the timebased validity period.
REMAINING GRACE: 22 days (32263 minute(s) before expiring)
Last 5 characters of installed product key: XXXXX

Let’s break down some of these elements:

Licence Name & Description

‘Office 16’ is confusing but that’s what even Microsoft 365 / Office software is labelled internally.

“O365HomePremR_Subscription”  or similar, is the bit to look for.

Naturally, that line will vary if you have a Personal or corporate plan,

Presumably at some stage the ‘O365’ will change to ‘M365’ or ‘MS365’.  References to ‘Home’ will change to the new name ‘Family’.

The description confirms this is a “timebased validity period” in other words a ‘subscription’ or software rental.

Licence Status

The magic word ‘LICENSED’ is all you need here.

Error code and description

As the extra text says, ignore the ‘ERROR CODE’ if the product is licensed.

Remaining Grace

The amount of time before another Microsoft 365 licence check is necessary.

If that time drops to zero minutes, Office programs drop to non-editing Reduced Functionality mode.

In the above example, the 22 days grace is on a computer that runs 24/7. Even after logging out and into both Office and the computer, the licence hasn’t been rechecked as Microsoft says it should be.

It seems that Office checks it’s licence status every week or ten days. We’ve never seen a regularly online computer with a grace period less than 22 days.

Maximum Grace Period

A grace period of 32 days/46,080 minutes seems common. That appears to be Microsoft’s stated ’30 days offline’ plus a little extra.

The common maximum Office 365 license grace period is 32 days.

But we’ve once seen a Grace Period of 45 days or 65,908 minutes but for no reason we can explain.

Product ID, SKU ID and Product Key

There can be more than one Office licence registered on the computer, it can be confusing. The Licence Name and Description entries, mentioned above, as a better guide to what the licence is for.

The Product ID and SKU ID’s aren’t a lot of help because there’s no reference to those ID’s on Microsoft’s own web site.

The “Last 5 characters of installed product key:” helps for perpetual licence products like Office 2019.  The command to remove a licence needs those characters. For subscription products the ‘product key’ is visible to customers.

Restart or renew Microsoft 365 licence before going offline
How to get Microsoft 365 extended offline time
See the license rules for Office 2019 and Office 2021
Solving Unlicensed Product errors in Microsoft Office
Offline Grace Period for Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
Does an Office licence work for two users on a computer
Microsoft 365 licences, are you paying too much and for too many?
The new Office 365 licence system starts today
Fixing extra licence problems in Office
Check your Microsoft 365 licence ‘grace’ or offline period

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