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FAQ: All you need to try out the Office 2010 Beta

FAQ: All you need to try out the Office 2010 Beta

Everyone can get Microsoft's next-gen productivity suite, but all the pieces aren't ready

Click-to-Run adds a virtual drive to Windows, marked as the "Q:" drive.

According to Numoto, Click-To-Run will be used at some point to deliver the beta of Home and Business, the edition that includes Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and OneNote.

What languages are supported? Microsoft has limited the beta to English, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish. Japanese had been on Microsoft's list as recently as last weekend, but by Wednesday, that version had vanished.

Does Microsoft provide support for Office 2010 Beta? Microsoft doesn't do its usual technical support for pre-release software, so your only option is online. You can browse the support material on Office.com, or ask other beta testers for help in the user-to-user forums .

When does Office 2010 Beta expire? Halloween 2010.

Microsoft's pretty adamant about that. In the end-user licensing agreement (EULA) that accompanies the beta, the company starkly says: "The software will stop running on 31/10/2010. You will not receive any other notice. You may not be able to access data used with the software when it stops running."

No warning? Really? That's not what Numoto said. "You do get warnings as the expiration date approaches," he said in a follow-up e-mail message yesterday.

Do I get to try Microsoft's online edition of Office? Yes and no.

In September, Microsoft launched an invite-only test of Office Web Apps , the name it slapped on its Google Docs competitor. But with Office 2010 Beta, the company's opening three stripped-down Web-based programs -- Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- to the public.

Although enterprises will be able to test the full Office Web Apps -- including OneNote Web App, which Microsoft only recently finished -- by running them from a SharePoint 2010 server, consumers will have to wait. "We should have a full-featured beta [of Office Web Apps] for consumers early next calendar year," said Numoto. "Until then, consumers will continue to get the Technical Preview of Office Web Apps."

Microsoft has posted more information about deploying Office Web Apps on a beta of SharePoint 2010 in a blog post.

Will Microsoft release an updated preview before it ships the final version of Office 2010? No. "We'll be going from beta to RTM," said Numoto, referring to the "release-to-manufacturing" tag that Microsoft slaps on finished code.

There will not be a release candidate, or RC, preview of Office 2010, Numoto added.

How do I get rid of the beta if it's junk? Get to Windows' Control Panel and pick the uninstall applet. On XP, it's called "Add or Remove Programs," while Vista dubs it "Uninstall a Program." Windows 7 hides it, though: Click "Programs" from the Control Panel, then "Programs and Features;" pick Office 2010 and click "Uninstall" at the top of the list.

You'll have to reinstall your previous version of Office using the original media if you replaced it with the beta; even if you only added Office 2010 so that the two were side-by-side, you'll have to reinstall the older edition of Outlook.

When will Office 2010 ship? No news there. Yesterday, Microsoft stuck to its vague timeline of the first half of next year. Nor will the company be announcing pricing for the various editions of the new suite until that release date gets closer.


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