If you are running a volume licensed edition of Office 2010 and it needs to be activated, you may see this message when you open any Office 2010 application:

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This message means Office is failing to activate against a KMS host on your network. KMS activation is the default activation type when you install a volume license edition of Office 2010. There are two ways of getting Office 2010 activated:

  • Enter a MAK key and activate over the internet or phone
  • Setup an Office 2010 KMS host and activate using it.

Option 1: Enter a MAK key and activate over the internet or phone

To enter a MAK key, click the “Change Product "Key” button and enter your key when prompted:
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Click “Continue”, then “Install Now”.

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Office will configure itself. Close any open Office 2010 applications. The next time you launch an Office application you will see a screen like this:

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Go through the activation wizard. Once it is done you will be activated and should not see any of these messages again.

Option 2: Setup an Office 2010 KMS host and activate using it.

See this blog post for a very detailed guide on how to setup an Office 2010 KMS Host: http://blogs.technet.com/b/odsupport/archive/2010/06/01/office-2010-kms-installation-and-troubleshooting.aspx