office & windows upgrade impact on access/docm

With Windows 7 and Office 2010 coming relatively close their support life-cycle end dates, our company are planning to move to supported releases, e.g. windows 10 and latest version of Office. We have a number of word macro enabled documents (docm) for workflows, as well as an Access Database application with front end purely built upon 2010. I am not a developer myself, but I suspect major upgrades such as completely new OS and Office versions may have adverse effects on these systems. Are there any general best practice guidelines on making the transition as smooth as possible specific to access databases to ensure they work as expected in the new releases, any specific tools that can be used in the testing etc. Or any general tips on such an exercise based on experience most welcome.

As a general observation, have you encountered many issues with word docm/access database applications when they were developed in a previous version of word/access, when you upgraded to a completely new version of word/access? Can you provide some examples of the scale of the issue, or was it relatively 'painless'.
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
Can you provide some examples of the scale of the issue, or was it relatively 'painless'.

 Well, like most answers "it depends".    In general for most Access applications, going from 2010 to 2019 would be pretty painless.   BUT it depends on what's in your app.   If for example you used Window API calls, active-x controls, OLE automation, etc, then it can be quite a different story.

 Access 2010 was also the last "full" version of Access feature wise going backwards....ADP's, command bar's, DBF support, all were dropped starting with A2013 (dbf support though has been added back in).

Are there any general best practice guidelines on making the transition as smooth as possible specific to access databases to ensure they work as expected in the new releases, any specific tools that can be used in the testing etc.

 Your first step is to do any conversion required on the database file itself, then make sure the app compiles.   After that, it's just test, test, test.    Get one station configured with what you'll be migrating to and test the heck out of it.  That really is the only way to check tings out when it comes to a custom app.

Jim.

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Daniel PineaultPresident / Owner CARDA Consultants Inc.Commented:
I agree with Jim, no one can tell the pains you may face as it all depends on how well they were originally created.

I have taken client db and tried to update them and spent hour fixing all sorts of errors.  Real nightmares at times.  Yet, yesterday I upgraded one of my clients' 2000 access database to 2016 (took me about 10 minutes).

As stated, the first thing to do is ensure you aren't reliant on any deprecated features, ActiveX controls.

Then you need to validate if you are staying with 32-bit version (which I highly recommend).  If you are switching to 64-bit then you need to rework all your APIs.

Then best thing to do is Test everything out.  I know that a huge undertaking, but it is the only way to ensure your transition goes smoothly.

I'll also add that both Win10 and Office365/Office2016/Office2019 have been very unstable, lots and lots of bugs!  I am personally recommending to my user to not use these version, but if you must, update to a relatively stable version and then disable automatic updates and manually apply them only once you are certain they don't cause more issues than they solve.
Eric FletcherCommented:
I haven't encountered any serious issues with upgrades related to Word. I'm currently using Word 365 on Windows 10 with the latest upgrades.

The November Win10 update caused a major problem for my system: apparently one of the security "fixes" prevented the update from restarting properly because it was unable to find my drive C after I'd upgraded to an SSD incorrectly earlier in the year. (I had to reformat the SSD and reinstall Win10 + all my applications. It was a hassle, but I'm very happy with the dramatically-improved performance.)

I am still able to open and use Word documents going back to the early 1990s. I do see warnings about potential incompatibilities: in most cases it is due to formatting differences that can be overcome by changing compatibility options. Opening older Word docm documents will cause security warnings, but I have not encountered any limitations with them (and a couple still even have some WordBasic macros that work just fine).

For operating in a corporate environment, I guess my main recommendation would be to educate your users about the security and incompatibility warnings they will be seeing with the newer versions — and have some very clear guidelines about how they need to deal with the differences. For example,
  • When is it okay to bypass the security warning? Is it a file you created and know is safe? If it isn't what are the corporate policies?
  • What should a user do when they see a message telling them that a document will be converted to a newer format when they attempt to save an older document? Is there a corporate policy about file naming? Should the user go in to alter the compatibility options? (And if so, how do they do it and what compatibility should they choose?
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nobusCommented:
Daniel,   you posted " I'll also add that both Win10 and Office365/Office2016/Office2019 have been very unstable, lots and lots of bugs!  I am personally recommending to my user to not use these version, but if you must, update to a relatively stable version"   what would you say are stable versions?
Daniel PineaultPresident / Owner CARDA Consultants Inc.Commented:
Windows 7, Office 2010, 2013.
Linux, LibreOffice, ...

If you must Office 2016/365 build 1805 (1806 introduced a major Access bug which still hasn't been addressed so I would wait any further updates until it is fixed).
nobusCommented:
ah isee - the oldies
Daniel PineaultPresident / Owner CARDA Consultants Inc.Commented:
It all depends on which applications you use, but almost every update released for O365 has caused some issue with Access so it's a question of finding the build with the least evil elements to it.  It's all very sad and doesn't say much for Microsoft.  I've also seen quite a few Excel issues.  I don't really use Word/PPT very much, so I can't comment on those.
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