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How do I get Office if I’m on dial-up?


Leo, I’m still on dial-up and I’m quite happy with it for all I do on the net or with email. However, I recently bought a new desktop for my wife and this one comes with Windows 8.1 in 64-bit so most of the programs we use with Windows XP, 32-bit, do not work anymore with a 64-bit version of Windows 8.1. My wife mostly needs Microsoft Word and Excel, which is incorporated into the Windows Works program which we are willing to buy.

However, this program is about 800 MB large and to download it on dial—up would take about a week. The computer store told us that Microsoft would be selling this program on a CD and they gave us a telephone number to call. We called Microsoft; they’re telling us that they do not have a CD for this program. Now, what’s someone living in the sticks with only dial-up supposed to do? The store would not do the downloading and put it on a CD either. I never thought about the possibilities about 32-bit versus 64-bit when I bought the PC. Would you have any idea how to get around all of this?

There’s a little bit of confusion in the question and I want to clear up as much of it as I can.

I think that the problem has nothing to do with 32 versus 64-bit. Most 32-bit programs actually run just fine in 64-bit Windows. I use many 32-bit programs myself on my 64-bit installation of Windows 8.1.

The problem really might be some confusion around the program called Works.

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Microsoft Works

Microsoft actually stopped making a product called Microsoft Works several years ago. It’s just no longer available, and that’s probably why the Microsoft person said that they couldn’t get it for you. There’s certainly no 64-bit version of it, even though you wouldn’t need it. Like I said, the 32-bit version would be fine.

The last edition of Microsoft WorksIf you still have your original installation disks for Microsoft Works, it might very well just work to install it on the new system. It might not, but it’s worth a try.

Another clarification I need to make here is that Word and Excel were never part of Microsoft Works.

Yes, Works had a spreadsheet and a word processor, but they were not called Word or Excel, and they’re actually not really related. Word and Excel are separate programs that are part of the Microsoft Office Suite of programs.

Works was a single program that had spreadsheet and a word processor. Office is a collection of separate programs.

Discs and dial-up

Now, about dial-up. Yes, it’s frustrating for many reasons. But I did recently find out something that might just help. Current versions of Microsoft Word and Excel, and Microsoft Office 2013 for that matter are available only as a download – and no, I wouldn’t even begin to try that on dial-up.

However, there is a mechanism to purchase what Microsoft calls “backup DVDs” of the application. Apparently, after you purchase the online copy, you can then order those DVDs from your Office account page. You’ll have created an Office account when you purchase the product, and in most cases it’s the same as your Microsoft account.

Now to be clear, this doesn’t work for Office 365, which is an online-only offering. This is specifically for the current version of Office, Office 2013.

The other option I’m aware of would be to look for older versions of Office that still come on DVD. For example, Office 2010 should be fine. And like I’ve said now a couple of times, the 32-bit version of it actually should be fine (although I think if you get a boxed product, both 32 and 64-bit version are included.)

And finally, of course, you can look for Microsoft Works as well, probably on Ebay, but remember that it’s a separate product. Word and Excel are not Microsoft Works; Word and Excel are Microsoft Office.

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10 comments on “How do I get Office if I’m on dial-up?”

  1. >Works was a single program that had spreadsheet and a Word processor.

    If Word is not included, then it is “word processor” not “Word processor.”

  2. Leo.
    Just wanted to say that was a very good explaination about the Works vs Office programs.
    Easy to read for people like myself.

  3. I think that Microsoft did sell some combo packs of Works plus Word. Word was getting so common and the Works word processor was so limited that people wanted the better word processor.

  4. Another option (if you have a laptop) for downloading the software is to go somewhere like a library or coffee shop that has free wifi. I used to do this with my girlfriends lap top to get software updates for her.

    If it is an older desktop, you might have a friend that will let you lug it in and set it up to borrow their network connection on an occasional basis.

    • No need to lug your computer if you have a friend with broadband. It’s even easier than that. You can download it at their place and bring it home on a USB stick. You might even be able to do this at a public library. I’ve downloaded files at a library and copied them to a USB stick. I don’t know if it will allow you to download an executable file or a file that big, but it’s worth a try.

  5. Be VERY careful when getting Office 2013 download/backup disk. They, the download and the backup disk, are in the version known as “Click to Run” and they will download the updates automatically-woe be to the dial up people. I had this problem and it took me four days of Googling, emailing, and phone talking to get it straight. If possible get the ‘MSI’ version of the program, it updates fine and gives you the option of what Office 2013 programs to install.

  6. More and more software, including MS Office, is not available as an installation program that you can save to disk and run later. You save a small stub, and when your run the stub, it interactively downloads and installs the actual program. I believe the software companies see this as a way to limit piracy, as authenticating your license is part of the process of running the stub. Sometimes you can search for a “stand-alone installer” that you can save on a memory stick and carry to your PC, but more and more it’s not worth their while to make allowances for the small percentage of the market without high speed Internet. As far as they’re concerned, you don’t exist. I think the only thing you can do when you want (need?) to install or update software, is to lug your computer to a place where you can connect it. I installed 4 new computers and a server in a small office this weekend, and each computer needed in the realm of 2 GB of downloads just to update Windows 7 and Office 2010.

  7. I have a manufacturer bundled Microsoft Works that I think is from 2009. I have never needed Microsoft works and I have absolutely no idea what it’s for or what it does. Should I remove it?


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