Office Watch

Office 2013

Office Mobile / iPad

Office 2010

Office 2007

Office 2003

Office XP

Office for Mere Mortals



Buying Office

Office 365


Office News Wire

Join us!

Our Ebooks

Mobile | PDA



Command Finder

Microsoft Office Bookshop



Office 2010 under-stated system requirements

Microsoft plays their usual self-serving game with Office 2010 hardware needs.

View this page on the new web site - click here

by Office Watch

Bookmark and Share

  | Mobile | click for more article services     

View this page on the new web site - click here

Microsoft has announced the Office 2010 hardware and system requirements and, as usual, they are self-serving and unrealistic.

When looking a Microsoft system requirements for any of their products you need to keep in mind that the specs are not designed to be a real guideline for customers. 

The published hardware specs are intended to drive sales – ie give the impression that as many computers as possible will work with the software.

The idea being that a prospective customer looks at the system requirements and says ‘Great, my 5 year old computer will work with this software”.    The software is purchased and later the customer isn’t happy because while the software runs, it’s very slow.

For a while Microsoft published both minimum and recommended requirements.  The ‘recommended’ specifications where still on the low side but better than nothing.  That idea appears to have been dropped in favor of risably low requirements.

Here at Office Watch we’ve usually given our own broad recommended specs for each edition of Office based on what people need to run Office (especially Outlook) in more realistic conditions than Microsoft presumes.

Office 2010 specifications

Here are Microsoft’s base requirements for Office 2010, please try to restrain your guffaws if not outright laughter:

·         Processor: Intel Pentium III 500mhz

·         Memory: 256MB  PC100 SDRAM

·         OS: Windows XP Professional with SP3

·         Hard Drive: 1GB

·         DirectX® 9.0c compliant graphics processor with 64 MB video memory

Sure, Office will run on such a computer but unless you’re only doing small documents and not Outlook at all you’ll spend most of your time waiting around for the computer to catch up.

Outlook with even a modest amount of use would virtually grind to a halt on such a relatively slow computer.

Graphics Processor

The graphics processor requirement is new for Office 2010.  Microsoft Office 2010 is finally making use of the powerful graphics capabilities in modern computers (graphics driven by the needs of gamers but available to all).

These graphics enhancements are used by Word, Excel and Powerpoint to draw images and video on the screen much faster than before.

Microsoft’s base graphics card requirement isn’t onerous, most computers made in the last 3 years or more will meet the spec.

However netbooks, many laptops, and some cheaper desktop machines don’t have their own separate graphics memory.  Instead some of the main RAM is ‘borrowed’ for display use and called ‘integrated graphics’.  For example a 1GB netbook may only use 960MB of RAM with 64MB taken by the graphics chip.

Microsoft does not say if their ‘256MB’ minimum memory requirement takes the 64MB graphics memory into account, we suspect not. 

If you have a low specification computer (maybe a few years old) you need to look at the available RAM after any graphics processor use. That’s easily done from the Windows ‘Computer/My Computer’ desktop icon – right-click and choose Properties.  The memory available to Windows is shown below the processor type.

Microsoft’s recommendations don’t mention screen size, but that’s certainly something we’re looking at in considering the suitability of Office 2010 on those small netbook screens.

Microsoft ‘average’ machine for Office

In stark contrast to the above minimum requirements, here’s what the Office developers consider an ‘average’ computer for Office 2010:

·         Processor:  2.1Ghz dual-core

·         Memory: 2GB

With the same specs for OS, drive space and graphics.


Closer to the public release of Office 2010, Office Watch will decide on some recommended hardware specs.   Those suggestions will probably come in two sections; suggestions for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Publisher only, additional requirements for Outlook and maybe also Access developers.

Article posted: Monday, 01 February 2010

View this page on the new web site - click here

there's more ...

If you liked this article you'll LOVE our new ebooks.

Office 2013: the real startup guide

OFFICE 2013: the real startup guide Everything you need to know about Office 2013 but Microsoft won't tell you.

How to save money, install, configure and use the new features in Office 2013.  Get it today - click here.

Windows 8 for Microsoft Office users

Windows 8 for Microsoft Office users A practical guide the new, changed and unfamiliar in Windows 8

A focused and unvarnished look at Windows 8, especially written for the many people who use Microsoft Office  Get it today - click here.

ORGANIZING OUTLOOK EMAIL - tame your Outlook 2010 Inbox

100+ pages of practical tips and help to streamline, automate and search your Inbox.  Get more than you ever thought possible from Outlook.  Read it today - click here.

More from Office Watch:

Article Services sponsored by: Office Watch Ebooks - available now to download and read today.
RSS feed for this category Subscribe

Translate | Mobile | Links
 Add to: Bookmarks | | DiggThis | Yahoo! My Web

New & Popular
» New web site
» Two ways for sorting by Number
» Office for iPad, September updates
» Why is Gene Cernan ignored in Word?
» DropBox prices drop but is it enough?
» Sort by hidden column in Word

Office Watch, Office for Mere Mortals, Access Watch and all titles used within the publications are Copyright © 1996-2014 Office Watch.
Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Powerpoint and doubtless many other names are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

Search  |  Sitemap |  Popular Topics | Privacy Statement |  Advertising |  Twitter |  Feedback / Contact Us
Office Watch is definitely not affiliated with Microsoft - and that's just one reason why we are so useful to Microsoft Office users around the world J (Erko).