How can you run Office 2010 32-bit and 64-bit on the one machine?
The two versions of Office 2010 cannot be installed on the one computer but you might want to run 32-bit Office for some compatibility purpose while running 64-bit Office most of the time.
Enter the virtual machine – if you haven’t discovered the wonders of virtual machines (VM) then this is a good reason. VM’s run really well on 64-bit systems because they are faster and more memory can be made available.
Microsoft has its own ‘Virtual PC’ available as a free download for desktop users. Premium editions of Windows 7 come with the so-called ‘XP Mode’ which is really Virtual PC plus a supplied VM of Windows XP. On a server there is either Virtual Server or the more recent Hyper/V.
The gold standard for virtual machine operation, especially for developers, is VMware Workstation.
Whichever system you use, on the virtual machine install Office 32-bit edition plus whatever add-ins etc you need. Start the VM when you need it while using 64-bit Office 2010 on the main computer for regular use.
You could install Office 2010 64-bit in the virtual machine but that would lose the speed advantage compared to running 64-bit software on the main computer. Testing Office 2010 64-bit compatibility is possible in a 64-bit Windows based VM.
Another benefit of the virtual machine approach is portability. Once setup you can copy the Office 32-bit VM to another machine in a few minutes without all the hassles of uninstalling and re-installing plus re-configuring the Windows/Office system.
In an organization, the virtual machine with 32-bit Office can be installed on a VM server with Virtual Server or Hyper/V. Then staff can access that virtual machine from their desktops via a browser interface (Virtual Server) or Remote Desktop (Hyper/V).
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