I give up

I absolutely give up on writing about the Technical Preview for Office 2010. I’ve simply had way too many problems with it over the past two months of testing. Word’s typographic features are admirable, but I’ve seen a TON of the issues; anything from Word taking the content from a text box and showing/printing it in a different text box, and random crashes that occur when moving shapes around. Strangely, too, a Word 2010 document with an embedded font loses about 30% of its file size when re-saved in Word 2007.

There is reasonable hype about Office 2010, but I don’t recommend using pre-release versions — at least until a new one comes out — and I will also be uninstalling and going back to Office 2007. (I’ll note, of course, that I’m usually a bleeding edge software user who ignores the warnings that “pre-release software is unsafe for production use”. Windows 7 RC is my main machine’s operating system, I’m using the dev channel of Google Chrome, and I use pre-release versions of Firefox.)

In short, I’m not going to write any more about my experiences with the Technical Preview.

Office 2010 Technical Preview: Part 2

Office 2010 Technical Preview: Part 1

This is the first part of my posts about Office 2010. Last night, I received an invitation to the Office 2010 Technical Preview, and today, I am attempting to install it on my Windows 7 RC machine.

Legal notice: since this isn’t a private beta, I am allowed to discuss the preview and my experiences with it. However, I am not allowed to share product keys, installer files, and documents to which I have access by virtue of the invitation. The contract that binds me with reference to the technical documentation quotes as follows:

You […] agree: (a) to refrain from disclosing or distributing the Confidential Information to any third party for five (5) years from the date of disclosure of the Confidential Information by Microsoft to Company/You; (b) to refrain from reproducing or summarizing the Confidential Information…

Thankfully, there’s a public pressroom for Office 2010 information, from which I was able to get equivalents of the stuff in the confidential documents. Here’s some information for you.

System Requirements

Office 2010 is designed to work on computers with very limited resources; after all, many businesses were concerned that they would once again need to upgrade their hardware. Office hasn’t really necessitated hardware upgrades in the past; Office 2003 ran very well on old Dell OptiPlex machines on Windows 2000, and Office 2007 ran quite well on older XP laptops.

The specific details are in the FAQs document.

Office 2010 System Requirements; click to see full image
Office 2010 System Requirements; click to see full image

The installers are rather compact; the Technical Preview 32-bit/64-bit installers for Office 2010 Professional are no more than 600 MB each.

64-bit editions

I’m currently on Windows 7 RC 64-bit edition, but I resolved ultimately to install the 32-bit edition of Office 2010. This is due to the following reasons:

  • The 64-bit edition of Office 2010 does not support most add-ins.
    Users of software with add-ins in Office programs will find that most of them do not work with the 64-bit edition of Office 2010. Software vendors are expected to release newer 64-bit add-ins, but users must use the 32-bit edition for compatibility with older add-ins.
  • One cannot upgrade Office 2007 to Office 2010 64-bit.
    According to the technical documentation, “2007 Office system cannot be upgraded to native Office 2010 64-bit.
  • I don’t work with spreadsheets greater than 2 GB in size.
    The documentation listed a number of benefits of using the 64-bit edition. The central point was being able to open large Excel spreadsheets. Since I don’t do this, the benefits of the 64-bit architecture are insignificant when it comes to Office 2010.

Screenshots of my installation will come in the next installment of these posts. That is, after I manage to install it. At the moment I’m getting the following error with the 32-bit installer, after customizing the install and even going through a few minutes of the installation progress bar.

The error I'm getting with the installer
The error I'm getting with the installer

If this persists with the 32-bit installer, I may have no choice but to try the 64-bit installation.

Update: the installer has now succeeded. More will be coming!

Finally, I've managed to install it.
Finally, I've managed to install it.

Update: Part 2 is here, with screenshots and commentary on interface improvements!