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Martin Liss
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Windows 10 32 bit or 64 bit?

I have the choice of downloading Windows 10 32 bit or 64 bit. I'm also going to purchase some version of Excel to use in Windows 10. 


I do a lot of Excel macro work. What are the pros and cons for the versions of Windows 10 and which version of Excel should I purchase?

Windows 10Windows OSMicrosoft OfficeMicrosoft Excel

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Roy Cox

8/22/2022 - Mon
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Martin Liss

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Thanks all.
byundt

I strongly recommend 64-bit Windows and 64-bit Microsoft 365 for you as an Excel power user and MVP. That's what I have been using (on an E-3 license) since 2016.
  • Microsoft 365 will always be the most full featured and up to date version. Ultra-fast table lookups, dynamic arrays, lambda functions, stock price history, and Wolfram data types are some of the new features I particularly enjoy using.
  • The initial release of Excel 2016 was less "stable" than previous versions (hangs, freezes, crashes). Microsoft made large investments in improving robustness, and the results are manifest in Microsoft 365. I think it is noticeably better and faster than Excel 2010 and 2013.
  • A number of Excel features now require a OneDrive account, which comes free with Microsoft 365. These include web-enabled features like Stocks and Wolfram Data types, auto-save, co-authoring, Office Scripts (recording and sharing Office-js macros).
  • If you have corporate clients, some of the Power Query and Power BI features are exclusive to Microsoft 365 customers with E-3 or E-5 license. These include database connectors that may be important to your clients.
  • An E-3 or E-5 license to Microsoft 365 allows you to create up to five user names, each with up to five computers/virtual machines. This feature affords a considerable savings compared to purchasing perpetual licenses for each machine and family member.
  • Office 2019 made 64-bit the default installation. If the computer had a previous 32-bit version installed, the installer will offer 32-bit Office 2019--but you can override that choice and install 64-bit.
  • 64-bit Office allows Excel to use as much memory is installed on the computer. 32-bit Office 2013 or later is restricted to 4 GB on 64-bit Windows, and 3 GB on 32-bit Windows.
  • The Excel application, add-ins and open workbooks all share the same memory pool. Power Query, Power Pivot and Power Map are integral parts of Office 2016 and later, and consume part of the memory pool. If you work on large workbooks or use Power Pivot in 32-bit Excel, you will likely run into "not enough memory to complete this operation" error messages. 64-bit Office fixes that problem.
  • Most Excel MVPs are primarily using 64-bit Microsoft 365 (subscription version) on 64-bit Windows computers. Microsoft strongly encourages Excel MVPs to install the Beta Channel version (available to Office Insiders members), which I have found to be robust enough for production work since 2016. This lets you already be familiar with new features before your clients start asking questions about them.
Microsoft allows you to install multiple versions of Office on the same computer provided that you do the installs & updates in chronological order (Office 2010, then Office 2013, etc.). All installs must share the same "bitness" (32-bit or 64-bit), including Visio and Project if you use them. You may have more than one version of Office installed by a .msi installer (Office 2010 & 2013), and in those you may only have one version of Outlook. You may only have one version installed by a click-to-run installer (most Office 2016 SKUs, Office 2019 and Microsoft 365). Following these rules, I have Office 2010, Office 2013 and Microsoft 365 installed on my computer.
Martin Liss

ASKER
Thanks byundt. I currently have Excel 2010 but since it's running in Windows XP it can't be 64 bit so what version of Excel other than 365 would you suggest?
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byundt

Excel 2010 was the gold standard for stability until Microsoft 365 surpassed it a few years back.

That said, I'd upgrade the Windows XP if the computer will support it. And if I had legacy programs that required Windows XP, I'd install those on a virtual machine.

Microsoft 365 can be installed on a computer running Windows 8.1 or later. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/microsoft-365-and-office-resources#coreui-heading-5dcqxz4 
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Martin Liss

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My Excel 2010 is already running in a Windows XP VM on my mac and I just added a Windows 10 VM. What version of Excel do you use?
byundt

I am running Parallels on my Mac, with a Windows 10 VM. It has 64-bit Office 2010, 2013 and Microsoft 365. For the most part, I use the Windows Excel in Microsoft 365.

Because the computer is a Mac, I also have the Mac version of Microsoft 365. I do not run older Mac versions because Big Sur doesn't support 32-bit apps.
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byundt

Are you getting one of the computers with an M1 CPU? If so, I'd like to hear your experience with it, both in the VM and native Mac Excel.
Martin Liss

ASKER
So are you saying that 365 in your Windows 10 VM doesn't give you any problems?

Are you getting one of the computers with an M1 CPU?
It's on my wish list.
byundt

I've got a 15" late 2016 MBP. Windows 10 VM on Parallels with Microsoft 365 runs fine since day 1.

I previously used a 15" mid-2008 MBP. It ran Windows XP on Parallels VM with 32-bit Excel 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013. I then upgraded to 64-bit with Windows 7 (and later Windows 8) on a different VM, and ran Excel 2010, 2013 and 2016.
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Martin Liss

ASKER
Thanks.
Roy Cox

Hunt around for deals, I purchased Office 365, now MicroSoft 365 at a good price from a Dutch company. I have both versions installed on different computers,.

Choose between the 64-bit or 32-bit version of Office

The only downside is that you always have the latest version so you have to be careful which Functions you recommend.