If I have 64bit Windows 7 does that mean I should install 64bit Office?

If I have 64bit Windows 7 does that mean I should install 64bit Office?

We have been telling clients for years that 32bit Windows can only see about 3.3GB (on average) of memory and there is a slow but steady move to 64bit Windows for people that need more memory for CAD and photo editing. The downside is that some applications will not work properly, or at all.

So you have 64bit Windows successfully running so how about 64 bit Microsoft Office? That should be fine surely? Well yes and no.

As Microsoft says: Running Office 2010 64-bit provides the following advantages:

•    Ability to use additional memory.

•    Excel 2010 can load much larger workbooks. Excel 2010 made updates to use 64-bit memory addressing to move beyond the 2-GB addressable memory boundary that limits 32-bit applications.

•    Microsoft Project 2010 provides improved capacity, especially when you are dealing with many subprojects to a large project.

•    Enhanced default security protections through Hardware Data Execution Prevention (DEP).

The downside is some stuff under the hood made for 32 bit Office just wont work, including 32bit Access database files, ActiveX and COM controls and visual basic for applications. Since a lot of vendors who write plug-ins for Outlook use these tools there is a danger that 64bit Office may break integration with telephony, CRM and other applications (including Windows Mobile device centre synchronisation) - so consider a move carefully.

The advice from Microsoft at the moment is only consider 64bit office if you use very large (over 2GB) Excel spread sheets or have in house software developers. For all other users 32 bit Office installs by default and runs fine on 64 bit Windows.


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Ben Seymour
Allpress Espresso
30-50 users, Think I.T. client since 2000

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