FAQ: What to Consider before Deciding to Deploy Microsoft Office 2010 64-bit or 32-bit

Here are four things you need to consider when you decide whether to deploy a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Office 2010.

Q1. What Operating System are your users running?

Ans: The 64-bit version of Office 2010 can only be installed on a 64-bit version of Windows, whereas the 32-bit version of Office 2010 will run on either Windows architecture. Here’s a breakdown of the operating system requirements:

The 32-bit version of Office 2010 requires one of these operating systems:

* Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
* Windows Vista SP1 (32-bit or 64-bit)
* Windows XP SP3 (32-bit)
* Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)
* Windows Server 2008 (32-bit or 64-bit)
* Windows Server 2003 R2 with MSXML 6.0 (32-bit or 64-bit)

The 64-bit version of Office 2010 requires one of these operating systems:

* Windows 7 (64-bit)
* Windows Vista SP1 (64-bit)
* Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)
* Windows Server 2008 (64-bit)

Q2. What type of documents are people working with throughout your organization?

Ans: Since a 64-bit architecture offers access to more memory, a 64-bit version of Office 2010 supports much larger files. (For example, Excel can handle files that are larger than 2 GB.) Otherwise, the 64-bit version offers little advantage over the 32-bit version of Office 2010, functionality is the same on both architectures, and the 64-bit version has some potential disadvantages (mentioned below in point number 4).

Q3. Are you upgrading Office or performing a fresh installation?

Ans: With the release of Office 2010, Microsoft introduced for the first time native 64-bit versions of the Office applications. This means that even if you’re running the 2007 Office system on a 64-bit version of Windows, the Office applications themselves are not native 64-bit apps. In a 64-bit Windows/2007 Office system scenario, you can upgrade to the 32-bit version of Office 2010 running on 64-bit Windows, but cannot perform an upgrade from the 2007 Office system to a native 64-bit version Office 2010.

Q4. Does your organization rely on Office add-ins or VBA macros?

Ans: If you do rely on add-ins and VBA macros, the 64-bit version of Office 2010 is likely to introduce some compatibility issues. Many add-ins for Office simply are not compatible with the 64-bit version. If you are planning on deploying a 64-bit version of Office, be sure to survey your environment to find out what issues you might encounter. Click here for tools that can help you find and resolve potential issues before you deploy Office 2010.

Note: Microsoft recommends the 32-bit version for most users, and in most cases the default installation is 32-bit.

This article Tools to Customize Your Office 2010 Deployment from Microsoft might also interest you!

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