Use Office 2003 on a New Computer

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

I installed my copy of Microsoft office 2003 on my new HP computer that came with Microsoft office starter 2010.

I was using office 2003 but decided to try the office starter 2010. I do not like it and just want to use the office 2003 but now my excel & word files open in the starter 2010 version.

How do I set office 2003 as the default program?

Thanks, Matt

Dear Matt,

I have run into problems installing an older version of Office when a newer version is already installed, and the only way I have found to solve is is to completely remove Office 2010 before installing the older version.

Since you have already installed Office 2003, I have one thing you can try before you start un-installing programs.

1. Click on the “Start Orb” and click “Default Programs” in the start menu.
2. In the Default Programs window, click on “Set your default programs”.
3. If Word 2003 appears in the programs list, click on it, then click “Set this program as default” on the right.
4. Repeat with Excel 2003.

If Word and Excel 2003 don’t appear in the list, go back to the “Default Programs” window, and click on “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”.

This dialog box will allow you to click on word files ( .doc) and then click the “Change program…” button to associate Word 2003 instead of 2010.

If these steps don’t work, your best option is to go to the control panel and completely uninstall all versions of Office. Reboot (click on “Start” point to the arrow to the right of “Shut Down” and click on “Restart”) the computer. Then, only after you have rebooted the computer, you can install Office 2003.


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    • ron007
    • March 29, 2012

    Default programs is one approach.

    Another is to use Office repair

    Repairing Office 2003 Installations –

    How to install or repair and reinstall Office 2003 programs and features

    You probably don’t have to uninstall Starter. BL, Starter is different than “traditional” Office installation in a couple of ways.
    First, it is “crapware”, a factory pre-installed, feature-limited application. It only has Word and Excel and they do not have all of the features in purchased copies of Office.

    Second, and pertinent, it is installed in a “Virtual Machine” (which shows up as a Q:\ drive in Windows Explorer). This means that Starter is not actually installed on the computer. The Starter program files will NOT conflict with other office installations. Windows Default File Associations is about the only remaining conflict.

    Third, Starter is the ONLY “Portable” version of Office. It can “install/copy” itself onto a USB drive so that you can run it on Windows computers that do not have Office installed.

    Fourth, as crapware, there are no user installation files. There are 2 ways that I know of to “re-install” it. One is to use the factory windows refresh partition. The other, not always present, is to use the “Office 2010 Program Manager”.

    Starter is Part of the Recovery Partition

    Finally, if you don’t uninstall it, Starter is annoyingly persistent about taking the Windows file association defaults. Even after re-assigning the associations back to your installed copy, starter will often apparently reach out and grab the defaults back without any “excuse”.

    FYI: Office 2010 is the first consumer version that Office has offered “virtualized”. One thing most people don’t know is that if you buy an “online download” of Office 2010, MS will “sneak” a virtual installation to you if you have fast enough internet connection. That leads to problems if you want to work on a laptop that is not always connected, or if your internet service slows down at times.

    • ron007
    • March 29, 2012

    Oops, forgot to include the links to creating portable starter copies:
    Portable starter only requires 400MB of space. The first time you run the installation Starter downloads an additional Device Manager, after that it simply uses the same Device Manager.

    Create Portable Office 2010 Starter USB Flash Drive –

    The real portable Microsoft Office – USB Starter Version –

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