Wordpad on Windows 7 reads docx files!!

22 12 2009

If you were needing another reason to switch to Windows 7, here is another. Wordpad on Windows 7 *can* read and modify MS Word 2007/2010 docx files.

Click on image to enlarge

I found this out when using my Netbook that does not have Office installed (frankly it’s not capable of running Office). I opened a docx file without thinking and saw a warning that all document features may not be supported. On the screen I notice that the top margin was absent, but when I printed the document it came out looking great. Wordpad does use a ribbon interface and appears to support the basic features one would expect from a word processor.

If you are using a budget computer or are operating on a small budget then Wordpad can work as your wordprocesor. It is the poor man’s word processor!!


Microsoft Releases short Office 2010 videos

6 12 2009

Microsoft have released some short videos showing the latest features in Office 2010.

They could have used professional presenters for a better result, but the message is the same.

Office 2010 Installation Woes

4 12 2009

My first two installations of Office 2010 went very smoothly, however the third was definitely not a  charm. During the installation I ran into two errors.

Error 1310. Error writing to file: C:\Windows\Installer\21c0d0.msi.    Verify that you have access to that directory.’

Error 1935. An error occurred during the installation of assembly component {4FB1241B-9730-4DF1-B83B-1E9CFB73AAE4}. HRESULT: 0x80070005.

The second error caused the installation to fail and abort. Even running the install as administrator did not result in success, though the first error was resolved by doing so. Each time I ran the install it would fail at a different place in the install.

Eventually after rebooting many times and disabling various applications such as Carbonite and retrying it finally succeeded. I subsequently found some blogs complaining about similar problems during install of the 2010 office beta. The applications that seem to come up on the blogs are Panda AV and Microsoft Security Essentials. I do run Security essentials on all the three computers I installed Office 2010 on, so the problem would appear to be somewhat random, but I suspect security essentials contributed to the problems.

My advice to those installing office 2010 is disable security essentials (and other applications) and be sure to run the installer as administrator.

Update 2010-05-01

The final version of Office 2010 also suffers from touchy installation problems. The best course of action for office 2010 installs is to

  • Disable Real-time scanning in Microsoft Security Essentials. (See below)
  • Clear up any temporary files using CCleaner. (See below)
  • Pause Carbonite
  • Run the install program as administrator.

Be sure to uncheck the real-time scanning in Security Essentials

Use CCleaner to eradicate all temp files on your system

If you had installed 2010 Beta, be sure to unistall all office products prior to install.

Upgrading from 2007 can also be problomatic, best to do a complete uninstall first.

Office 2010 – First Impressions

3 12 2009

Office 2010 public beta now available

The Microsoft Office 2010 public beta is now available for anyone to download and try for free. The Beta is valid until October 31st 2010, so if you need a copy of office for a new computer this Christmas, don’t buy office 2007, use the 2010 beta until it is finally released (whenever). The beta is full feature and is not crippleware. Thank you Microsoft!!

I’ve had a quick tour of the new office suite and here are a couple of my initial ‘drive by’.

Ribbon, Ribbon, Ribbon

Minimize Ribbon, new function

Office 2007 introduced the ribbon interface. Microsoft applied this to the core office products only, products like Project, Visio etc did not get the facelift. With 2010 all office applications now sport a revised version of the ribbon.

One really nice feature is a button to minimize the ribbon to give one more screen real estate. The reality is that the ability to minimize the ribbon was available in Office 2007 as well, but via Ctrl-F1 keyboard shortcut or via an option on the quick access toolbar. Microsoft must have realized that most users were unaware of this (me included).

The Orb is gone and File is back!

Office 2007 'Orb'

Office 2010 File menu drop down

I imagine there are a lot of people who will applaud this, not having a file menu drop down just makes folks uneasy. Interesting what bugs us :-)

I noticed the color of the File menu option is the same as the programs desktop icon, so in word its Blue, PowerPoint its orange etc. Not sure why it had to be colored, but it is.

Excel Limits

With several versions of Excel, Microsoft have increased the number of rows and columns it will support. Have they increased in 2010? The answer is yes and no. Excel itself works similar to 2007 but a new feature (PowerPivot)  allows Excel to draw its data directly from a SQL database so how does 100 million rows sound?

Lots of new features?

Doing a quick drive by of the basic office apps, Word, Excel, Powerpoint I didn’t notice a bunch of new features, however when I looked at Visio 2010 I was able to do all sorts of things with Visio I haven’t been able to before. My suspicion is that the feature set is similar, the ribbon interface has exposed me to so many more features I was blissfully unaware of. I ended up with a really sharp looking diagram versus what I could have done with Visio 2003.

File Format Compatibility

So far so good in opening 2010 documents with 2007 and 2003 products. Visio 2003 can open 2010 files just fine. 2007 can open excel and word documents just fine. Word Excel and Powerpoint still defaults to docx, xlsx, pptx file formats as with 2007.

Speed of execution

I have tested Office 2010 directly on a desktop PC and also on a virtual machine running Windows 7 (on top of XP). Even on the virtual machine office programs open comparatively quickly, Microsoft must have done some work here to improve the time it takes to open an application.

SharePoint Workspace basic functions

One component that was slow to execute was the SharePoint Workspace component. I was pleased to see in the SharePoint Workspace was a ‘google gears’ type function so that one can work with SharePoint resources while disconnected from the server using a local copy and sync up later.


I didn’t spend very long looking at the new Office suite, but my first impressions are that it the suite performs better, has a more consistent look and feel and has a few new features. Worth the money to upgrade from 2007 when it comes out, maybe. Worth putting off the purchase of office until 2010 comes out, definitely!!