How to run multiple copies of Microsoft Office on the same computer

Microsoft said it couldn’t be done, but yes, it can! I always need to keep two versions of Office on my laptop, because not everyone wants training in the same version. (I draw the limit at Office 2003.)

But here’s the problem: I’m running the 64-bit version of Windows 7 and the 64-bit version of Office 2010, which means I can’t also have Office 2007, which comes only in 32-bit. The installation programs of both versions will detect the other and simply refuse to run. Office will, however, let you have the 32-bit version of each suite at the same time, but I want (excuse me; I need) Office 2010 x64.

The solution? Windows Virtual PC to the rescue! If you have a licensed copy of Windows 7, you can download and install Virtual PC, which is a fully licensed instance of Windows XP that runs on your computer as an application. This is NOT a dual-boot solution, and it is NOT the same as editing the application’s properties to emulate XP. XP mode becomes available on your Start menu like it’s just another program, and when you run it, you’ll have a window with XP inside. It will look like you’re running a VPN or terminal service.

Windows Virtual PC

Once you have the Virtual XP PC running, you can install applications in it, and that includes the x32 Office 2007.

But wait! There’s more! Once you run an application inside the Virtual PC, you can run it the next time independently — you don’t have to run the Virtual PC again. Just run an XP Mode application that’s in the Virtual PC group of the Start menu, and it will run the VM for you in the background.

Learn more about the Virtual PC and download it from


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