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Install Office 2010 32-bit or 64-bit?

Posted on 2010-09-18
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
I need to decide between installing the 32-bit versus 64-bit version of Office 2010 Professional.

Two computers involved. One Dell desktop workstation (Precision Workstation T7500, xeon processors, 8 cores) runs Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. One Dell laptop (Latitude E4200, Core 2 Duo , 2 cores) runs Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. The workstation is being upgraded from Office 2003. The laptop is new.

I do quite a bit of work with large Excel files (some over 50,000 rows / 50 columns) and with Pivot Tables on the workstation which is my primary computer. The laptop is for travel and mostly for doing presentations / briefings with some Excel/PowerPoint/Word work while traveling.

Microsoft seems to urge NOT using their 64-bit version as on this page:
Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Office 2010.
It is almost as if they put out the 64-bit version and then did nothing to ensure that add-ins (theirs or others) will work with it.

I suppose I could always go with the 32-bit version for now and change to the 64-bit version later.

I am looking for your practical experience, perspectives, and recommendations about pro's and con's of going with the 64-bit version.

Question by:Peter Bye
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LVL 10

Accepted Solution

t_hungate earned 1200 total points
ID: 33709502
I would suggest that you go with the 32 bit version.  For a few reasons. I know you say that you work with some very large Excel files, but are any of them over 2GB in size.  That is the main advantage of a 64 bit systems and software, it allows us to work with larger data sets. As you have already pointed out, Microsoft is not truly backing the 64 bit version either, it seems that they are not making the push for 64 bit extensions, and add-ins.  Developers are also struggling with this dilemma, do you write something that will only work on a 64 bit systems and takes advantage of its large data set, or do you write something that can be used on both 32 and 64 bit.

I can tell you know the easy answer is the later.  That is the main reason that we are not seeing many new add-ins or even a VBE that allows for the construct of 64 bit based solutions.

I think you will find some really good info here, and considering the source I think will make your choice easy.

Go with 32 bit, you will not see the benefits that are offered by a 64 bit Office product for some time.  You may also want to look at the following links for some more in depth information.

You can find a lot more info out there but they pretty much all say the same thing.

I hope this helps you make an informed decision.



Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 33709723

Thanks for these excellent references and your points about developers. Very helpful. You certainly make a very strong case for installing 32-bit for the near term.

While my spreadsheets can get large they do not approach 2 GB. There is also the factor of whether the 64-bit versions can make more-effective use of multiple processor cores. Microsoft does not address this in their tech notes, so I assume that capability is the same for 32 and 64 versions.

I'll leave this open for another day or so to see if other folks add new insights.
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

JSRWilson earned 400 total points
ID: 33711033
I would definitely go for 32 bit. I create AddIns and have had to pull out all the stops to get some to work in 64 bit. 64 bit is only really an advantage if your workbooks are over 2Gb or you need more that say a million rows 0r 15000 columns! I try to convince my clients not to go for 64 bit unless they have a good reason but some just seem to want to say my office has more bits than your office!
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Assisted Solution

msheskey earned 400 total points
ID: 33711526
blackberry desktop software does not work with Outlook 64-bit.  64-bit is definitely the way of the future, windows definitely pushing ahead with 64-bit development in the corporate products, writing add-ins that work with 32 bit and 64-bit is not that difficult, you have to explicitly tell your add-in to run as 32-bit not 64-bit, this is why 32-bit office can run on 64-bit windows

Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 33711996
Excellent insights, all. Thanks. I had not thought of the potential BlackBerry issue. I'll definitely install 32-bit at this point.


Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 33712007
Just so you are all aware: I am trying to accept all three solutions and award 300/100/100 points to TLH/JSRWilson/msheskey. EE seems to be responding improperly saying that I am trying to close the question and asking for my reason. I am going to request attention to see if there is a problem.

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 33712100
EE has been having an issue with questions where the points are split the last few days.  It has been reported and they are working to fix the issue.  You can still submit it as normal, just put in you reason for closing, that you have a solution and wish to split the points and the point break down.  A moderator will look it over and take care of the points.

Glad we could be of some assistance.

LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 33712459

Isn't one of the most important factors is that if you do install the  64-bit version of Excel 2010 it's the only version you can have on that machine?

As for code running on 32-bit and 64-bit I think there's a fix for that.

I've only seen it being used when API functions are being used but it involves using a compiler directive to decide which version (64 or 32) to use.

My current machine is 64-bit and I don't (as far as I know anyway) run anything in a 64-bit version.

I've got 2 versions of IE installed mind you but the 64-bit version doesn't currently support some things - actually maybe I should check if that's been fixed.

Author Comment

by:Peter Bye
ID: 33712597
Yes, indeed. It seems this is the case for the entire core Office suite - install either 32-bit or 64-bit but not both. I have seen one comment from a Microsoft support engineer that earlier versions of Visio can coexist with Office 2010.

I have experienced the same compatibility problems with IE64. In particular, at the time flash would not work with it. Then again, I use Firefox most of the time.

Video imaging software such as Sony Vegas Pro operates much faster with the 64-bit version that also makes full use of multiple processors.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 33712645
Yep, that was the problem I was having with IE64.

I suppose I could try it again but I'm happy with IE32 and don't want to go through the trauma I did last week with the IE9 beta.

I downloaded and installed it, seemed quite impressive but not convincing so decide to uninstall.

Control Panel>Programs and Features I thought, should be listed there right? Quick double-click and I'm sorted.

It wasn't there, now beginning to worry so thought I'd do a search on IE9, just a general search.

Got quite a few results, most of which were concerned with uninstalling it.:)

By the way, it's apparently an update so that's what you need to remove.

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