Installing 32bit and 64bit Office versions together

I had been working with 64bit versions of Office 2010 and 2013 on my PC quite happily but for one thing: I cannot work properly without the Smart Indenter add-in and MZ Tools, neither of which is 64bit compatible (although there is a rumour about Smart Indenter, so fingers crossed. Or if someone wants to give me access to the source code…)

So anyway, I decided to install 32bit Office 2010 instead of 64 bit – that way I can have the tools I need most of the time, but still work with big data files in 64bit 2013 when I need to. Fortunately, I know from discussions with other MVPs that this is possible (thanks, Vlad), in spite of the official line, as long as you are careful. The essential things to remember are:

  • Install 64 bit versions first, from oldest to newest (as with any multi-version install, this is the safest order
  • Then install any 32 bit versions, again in order of oldest to newest (so for my purposes that was just 2003 then 2010)
  • Do not try and install 32 and 64 bit copies of the same Office version. (this may well be possible, but I suspect it would be horribly complicated)
  • Only have one version of Outlook installed (I stuck with 64bit 2013) otherwise you tend to run into that annoying “Configuring Microsoft Office…” dialog every time you start it.

Now, I’ve done this before (although I didn’t know about the Outlook issue at the time) so wasn’t expecting too many issues, but this time when it came to actually running 2010 after the installation – which seemed to work just fine – I received an error about the program being “unable to verify its license” and telling me to run a repair from Control Panel. That seemed fair enough – it’s not the first time I’ve needed to do that – so I ran the repair, rebooted and tried again. Same problem.

At this point I did what I always do when such things happen:

  • Swore a lot
  • Got a cup of tea
  • Uninstalled 2010
  • Deleted all folders related to 2010 I could find
  • Deleted any registry entries that looked relevant
  • Rebooted
  • Reinstalled
  • Fired up Excel 2010 and held my breath

No joy – same exact problem. Repeated the first two steps a couple more times. Finally I did what I should have done to start with – but I never do – I googled it. (I know, I should Bing it really but that still never seems to find stuff for me)

And whaddaya know, I found this:

In summary, I ran ‘cmd.exe’ as an administrator and then entered the following two commands:

cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
cscript ospp.vbs /act

watched as the activation ran and succeeded.

Job done, and I am a happy camper again.

As always, your mileage may vary and I am not in any way endorsing this kind of behaviour.



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