Recent Update Causes Problems with Office 2010 Starter Edition

September 26, 2013

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.

4 Responses to “Recent Update Causes Problems with Office 2010 Starter Edition”

  1. Hi. Ok, so this doesn’t work. Still get asked for productkey.. Got any tips?

  2. Another way to fix this problem is to uninstall Microsoft Office (not the starter edition, the other one).
    Then, do a repair on Microsoft Office Starter Edition.

  3. I have only the Office 2010 Starter Edition. I believe as you do that Microsoft is to blame for my problem. I had several updates done on June 13 and that is about the time I noticed that all my documents (Word & Excel) have been changed to ‘read-only’. I cannot edit and save in any way I try. Is there any solution to override this? Is it possible to delete the updates and therefore reverse this?

  4. It is possible to back the updates out, but the problem with that is that it’s a security risk. It’s very important to have all of the latest updates for security reasons. So I wouldn’t recommend doing that. I would recommend you either purchase Microsoft Office Home & Student or try a free alternative. LibreOffice is a free office suite that will open and save Microsoft Office formats (Word, Excel, etc.). So you can read and edit any Word or Excel files sent to you and you can also create them. You can download it at Hope that helps.

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