Office 365 "The fine print" popup message - is it legitimate?

Occasional Visitor



I have been happily using Office 365 (mostly Word) for many years, and I have never had any problems with any of the products. This morning when I loaded Word I was confronted by a pop-up message called "The fine print" asking me to accept terms of use in order to continue. I have been using Word for several years on this computer and I have never seen anything like this, I just want to confirm that this pop-up message is in fact legitimate and not some form of spyware or adware impersonating Microsoft.


Any assistance would be greatly appreciated,



Here is a screenshot of the pop-up:MSWord-TheFinePrintv2.png

122 Replies

"My suggestion would be to go with Office 2016 rather than the Office 365 cloud version as you did with Office 2010. That would mean the software is yours for as long as you want to use (or until you upgrade) it whereas Office 365 will evolve over time giving you the feature updates as part of your subscription."



This is not just happening to Office 365 cloud subscribers. We are an Office 2016 Professional install base in my office. We are locked out of our programs. We have no subscriptions to Microsoft at all. We just want to launch our applications as we did on Friday. 


Thank you for your insight.



Your suggestion to use Office 2016 instead of Office 365 to eliminate "The Fine Print" pop-up is null.  We have multiple Office 2016 products running in our shop and I am seeing the pop-up on about half of them.  It seems the more current the user's MS updates to the OS and Office product are, the more prevalent the message.  I think your idea about the update to the license agreement and the forced acceptance of the new terms, is probably correct.  It would be nice of MS to alert us to this fact, based on the realities of the world we live in.  I instructed my users to not accept the message until we got an answer.  I scanned the machines and did not find malware.  Next step is to accept the message and see what happens.

I had the same thing this morning - I have Office 2016 Professional installed locally (personal install rather than tied to my Office 365 account) however I sign into my work Office 365 account and this popped up ...

For Office 2016, I have accepted the pop-up message on a user's desktop and I regained access to the Office 2016 programs and all documents and worksheets.  I did not get any downloads and the machine scanned clean.  It looks as if your assessment was correct.  I will monitor that machine for a bit and if nothing happens, I will accept the message on the rest of the shop.  However, I do understand the drama, in fact, I was recommending that our users not accept the message.

I work out of my home and I don't have a network or use 365.  I use a single copy of Home / Student.  I have lost DAYS of work and pay due to this.  DAYS.  If I don't work, I don't get paid. 

I'm going to file a consumer complaint with my State's Attorney General over this.  I've had it with Microsoft hijacking my time when I have purchased a product from them legitimately and they have yanked it back from me. 

And - where is their support on this?  Where is the group moderator?  How can they let this go on like this? 

Anna - why aren't you responsive to the initial problem?

Microsoft support is totally unhelpful!  The agent repeatedly refused to answer my question of whether this is a legitimate Microsoft popup.  He had me go through a bunch of steps that disabled my internet security and eventually just led back to accepting the new EULA.


It seems that Microsoft just wants to change the terms of the EULA and if we don't like it we can no longer use the Office software that we bought from them.  


This is totally unacceptable!

Did you read the new EULA? 

Did you knowingly agree to allow Microsoft gather data on you? 

Was that part of the EULA that you originally accepted?  

Do you think it is acceptable for Microsoft to change the terms of the EULA retroactively?

Do you think it acceptable for Microsoft to deny you access to the software you bought from them if you object to this retroactive change?

I have the same pop-up. I have not downloaded any updates, and I have my computer set to not auto-update so I can control when it shuts down. Now it appears that Microsoft is holding me hostage - but wait, maybe it's not Microsoft? Maybe it's a virus? Any answers on this? My 365 subscription is good for another several months, yet I cannot use the program. Why?


In the future, Microsoft -- if this is you -- please allow a reasonable period of time to respond to EULA changes, and allow me to continue using the product!

I asked support repeatedly and they seemed to equivocate.
I am in the process of reading the new EULA but I don't have a copy of the EULA I originally signed to compare it to.
I do notice that you have to agree to allow Microsoft to gather data on you.

I am adding myself so I can be kept up to date on this issue. 


I am not about to agree to something I know nothing about that is supposedly coming MicroSoft without confirmation.

Yes, I often actually read (or at least quickly scan) EULA's before accepting, and it's astonishing what we agree to, but there's not a lot of choice, realistically. I sometimes download them, so I may have a copy of the original somewhere -- but I'm not really objecting to their changing the terms of the EULA. They have that right, and we have the right to accept or reject. And I'd be surprised if Microsoft *doesn't* have the legal right to change the terms unilaterally at any time despite the fact that we've paid for a year. I think it's called a contract of adhesion - which basically means they have all the power.

What I'm objecting to is the heavy handed approach (and it's effect on my productivity.) A reasonable approach would be to announce the change and give us EUs notice that the product will cease to function after two weeks (or whatever period of time) if the terms are not accepted. Their decision to take the product hostage is a scene right out of Homeland or Mr. Robot - makes everyone think it's a virus, when it's probably just Microsoft being Microsoft.


Btw, Microsoft's virtual agent has been "connecting me to a live agent" for over an hour now. And the wait time was zero . . .

Maybe the virtual agent didn't accept the EULA update and has been locked out of ... err ... Skype ...

Hello Anna - it would be nice if we could also count on you to be responsive to the original issue - is this pop-up actually from Microsoft? I think most of the people here are very unhappy with the way that Microsoft has handled this, but almost everyone would be happy to click on 'accept' and get back to work if we can get a confirmation that it is legitimate.

We are escalating this - Sorry that I haven't responded, but Eric is in my team and we're both working to get someone from Microsoft to respond officially.

I don't have Office 365 and I'm still getting this message! I bought the programs outright.
Are other folks who bought the programs having this issue?

Very annoying that there was no advance warning from Microsoft about this. It's causing a lot of disturbance for people who don't just click any old box that pops up on their screen.

Where are you Microsoft??

Really?  You think it's perfectly acceptable for Microsoft to retroactively change the terms of the agreement and if you don't like it you can no longer use the software you purchased?

I can kind of understand it if it was Office 365.  That is something you knowingly lease and pay for on a monthly basis.  It's about $8.25 per month, so you're not out a lot of money if you decide not to continue.  Microsoft Office 2016, however, retails for around $400.  It is not supposed to be some monthly rental type arrangement.  We should be able to use this software in perpetuity without having to submit to some revised terms at a later date.  

I feel like I have been robbed!


I do not agree with Microsoft's coercive behavior.  I loathe the way they just do whatever they want and push out sub-standard software and then leave us without support.  My personal philosophy is that Mr. Gates was never an OS genius but a marketing genius.  However, being responsible for a company full of desktops and just wanting the users to continue working means that I have to accept things the way they are.  I guess we could all explore alternative software but it might be a little late for that.  I am just grateful that this time, at least, it wasn't some malware trying to destroy us.  I am also grateful for one resource left to us, namely blogs like this one.

I was on a chat with Microsoft support, and he repeatedly refused to answer my question of whether this was a legitimate Microsoft popup. I asked 4 times and even resorted to all caps, but he simply would not answer.
We refused to accept this revised agreement and just downloaded LibreOffice. Fortunately, only one user was affected and she seems more than happy to simply use webmail and LibreOffice. All our other computers are on Office 2010 and 2013. They continue to work just fine.