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How to Uninstall Microsoft Office
...removing outdated or expired software

Do you want to uninstall Microsoft Office software? If so, here is how to do it the right way and what to do if your uninstallation goes awry.

This article covers uninstalling software such as old Office suites and expired free trial or beta software. Troubleshooting tips are included just in case your software won't uninstall.

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Upgrade the Free Trial without Uninstalling It


You do not need to uninstall Microsoft Office free trial if you if you already bought the software or a license key.

To upgrade the free trial to the full version, follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Word 2010 or any other Office program.
  2. When the free trial expiration notice appears, click Upgrade.
  3. Click Enter Product Key.
  4. Enter the 25-character product key located on the key card, the insert inside the retail DVD case, or in the registration email if you purchased the download version.
  5. Click Continue to proceed with the upgrade. Follow the on-screen prompts.

If you do not plan to upgrade to Office 2010, you can either uninstall the software to free up space on your hard drive, or you can leave it installed and use it as a "viewer." (You can open Office files using expired software, but you cannot edit them.)

Uninstalling Microsoft Office

The instructions are for Windows XP. Instructions for Windows Vista or Windows 7 are in parenthesis ( ). In the example, I am removing the Office 2010 free trial, but you can remove any version of Office using these instructions.

Caution: Never uninstall software by dragging the program folder to the Recycle Bin. This often deletes files the Windows uninstall tool needs to remove the software from your computer.

To uninstall Microsoft Office, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, then select Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the Add/Remove Programs (Programs/Features) icon . The program list loads. This may take several minutes.

    the Add/Remove Programs icon in Windows XP
  3. In the list, select the Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word version you want to uninstall.

    Selecting Microsoft Office from the list
  4. Click Remove (Uninstall).
  5. When asked, "Are you sure...?", click Yes.
  6. Allow the program to uninstall completely. It may take 5 - 10 minutes depending on the speed of your computer. When it is finished, click Close.
  7. Click Yes to reboot your computer and finish the removal process.

    Setup reboot dialog

Now your system is ready for a clean install of the newest version of Microsoft Office, or you can reinstall your old version, such as Word 2003 or Office 2007.

Tech note: If you installed Microsoft Office 2010 side-by-side with an older version, after removing Office 2010, windows installer will need to reconfigure Office the first time you open any of the programs. This can take a few minutes, depending on the speed of your system.

Troubleshooting Uninstallation Problems

The uninstall should go smoothly, but this is Windows we are talking about here, so that is not always the case! The uninstall tool requires access to certain files that have been stored on your computer since the software was installed. If these files were deleted or have become corrupted, you may not be able to remove the software.

If you cannot uninstall Microsoft Office using Add/Remove programs, Microsoft support provides a free fix-it tool for uninstalling Office 2003, 2007, and 2010. The tool removes Office without corrupting your other Microsoft programs.

There are three versions of the tool. Make sure to use the correct tool for the Microsoft Office version you are trying to uninstall. Get detailed instructions and links to the fix-it tools at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301.

Force Uninstall Software

If you cannot uninstall Office using Add/Remove or the Fix It tool, another option is to use 3rd party software to force uninstall it.

After you uninstall programs, it is always a good idea to defragment the hard drive.



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