Do I need all these Office 2007 updates if I also have Office 2010?

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I’m running Windows 7 Home, 64-bit, SP1 on an HP laptop. Originally, I had Office 2007 Professional installed. I subsequently bought and installed a standalone copy of Outlook 2010. Later, I bought and installed a copy of Office Home and Student 2010. I did not uninstall Office 2007 because I wanted to retain the ability to use Publisher 2007. Now, when I run Windows Update, it wants me to install all of the updates for both 2007 and Office 2010. Why would I want to install updates to Word or Excel or PowerPoint or Outlook 2007 or install 2007’s huge SP3? Should I?

Yes, you want to take that update. If you have parts of Office 2007 on your machine and you have Office 2010 on your machine, then you want all of the updates for all of the software that’s installed on your machine. It’s more than just minor improvements and whatnot; it really is all about security.

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Why is it a security issue?

Malware  could easily take advantage of an unpatched vulnerability in any version of software that happens to be residing on your machine.

As a result, you want it all up-to-date.

Updates could still be large

Even though you’re only using Publisher 2007, the updates might still be large.

The various Microsoft Office programs actually share a lot of code between them. An update to that shared code could be required if you had any of the Office programs installed. And of course since you have Publisher 2007, you do.

Any components left on your machine that are not updated could remain vulnerable to malware. You want to make sure that’s not the case.

You get what you need

Office 2010By and large, the update process can be trusted to only offer updates that really do apply to your situation. If something is offered as a critical or important update, then by all means take it.

Put another way, you’re not going to get offered things that you don’t need, at least when it comes to critical and important updates.

Optional updates, like Bing for example, is a different discussion. Optional updates are just that: optional. They should never be installed automatically by the updater, and you should always be given a choice when you update manually.

My advice is simply that you want all of the software on your machine to be as up-to-date as possible and that’s regardless of whether or not you actually use the components that are being updated.

Even if you don’t use it, malware might.

4 comments on “Do I need all these Office 2007 updates if I also have Office 2010?”

  1. Leo, in the above article, you talk about Microsoft products that reside on a user PC, and how any of those MS products may require a patch to close a vulnerability to malware. What about non-MS products on a PC? I have games and other software, some of which may be called crapware, that were pre-installed on my PC (even though technically, some may not be actually “installed” yet). These are products that I’ve never used nor plan on using. I’ve never agreed to accept their license agreements, if that is required. And for whatever reason, I never removed them from my PC either. Because I’ve never used these software, I don’t know if any of them have security updates. In my situation, can these non-MS software be vulnerable to malwares? Is my PC at risk for infections just by having these software on my PC? Thanks…

    • One reason it’s necessary to update Microsoft programs you don’t use is that often other programs may use components of those programs. A prime example being Internet Explorer, which I’ve seen other programs open to access their updates even though I have a different default browser. If you have other non-Microsoft programs you don’t ever use installed, the odds of this happening are probably close to zero, as a program has to be running to be vulnerable. But, as Benjamin Franklin (or was that Morgan Freeman) used to say “Nothing is certain except for death and spam”, so if you’re paranoid, it’s probably won’t hurt to remove any programs you’ll never use.

  2. Thanks for this article Leo. I have been wondering about this for some time, because I seem to have multiple entries in Control Panel for similar things. I’m currently only able to work on one machine, and I think I might still need a tech person to come over here and look things over as I’m having some issues. I think I might’ve inadvertently deleted some of the important duplicates from Microsoft but I just don’t know which ones.

  3. I have the same situation as the original question, BUT I recently UNinstalled MS Office 2003 and 2007, leaving Office 2010. I want to remove the updates to 2003 and 2007. FYI after those uninstalls I ran a repair 2010 install. Everything is running perfectly, however I would like both to “tidy” my machine and to regain some space. Can I uninstall the Office 2003 and 2007 patches? I thought the uninstall would take care of that, but it didn’t.
    I am aware Office can sometimes be sloppy about things like location of templates, reg keys, and the like.
    i see this post is old but if anyone has time and knowledge I would appreciate. Thank you.
    (Windows 7 64 bit, 8gb, Office 2010 Professional Plus 32)

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