The only time Microsoft ever offered a free version of Office was when they offered Office 2010 Starter Edition. It was only available on new computers. It was supposed to be a limited version of Word and Excel and it was going to include advertisements in it. However, it didn’t really work out for Microsoft and since then they have not offered a free version of Office.
If you have Office 2010 Starter Edition, then due to a recent update from Microsoft, you may have difficulty opening your Word and Excel files. If you double-click on a Word or Excel file to open it, you may get a window telling you that you have to purchase Office. It makes you wonder if Microsoft did this on purpose to try and rake in some lost income on that free version of Office. Luckily, this is a very easy problem to fix.
What has happened is that you have both the Starter Edition of Office, and the free trial of the full version of Office. The recent update told Windows to open Word and Excel files with the full version instead of the starter edition of office. But your free trial of the full version of office has expired, so when you try to open it, you get a window telling you that you have to purchase Office. To fix this problem, all you have to do is tell Windows to use the Starter Edition of Office instead of the full version. You’ll have to do it twice. Once for Word, and once for Excel. Here’s how.
Find a Word file. Any Word file. Instead of double-clicking on it, right click and choose “Open With” and then click on, “Choose default program”. You will get a window listing programs. Click on “Microsoft Office Client Virtualization Handler”. Your Word file will now open. Now find an Excel file, any Excel file, and do the same thing. From now on, when you double click on a Word or Excel file, it will open using the Starter Edition, as it should.