Windows Vista Leaves Mainstream Support Period

As of today, Windows Vista has left the mainstream support phase and entered the extended support phase of its lifecycle. Office 2007 is also in the extended support phase, entering this stage of its life on Monday.

The support lifecycle for Microsoft products is essentially categorized into two periods: Mainstream support, during which software receives the works — bug patches, security updates, etc. — and extended support, during which only security updates are available, and you will need to be a company with a paid contract with Microsoft to receive security updates.

Windows XP and Office 2003 will be in extended support until 2014, after which users will no longer receive any new support updates, bug fixes, or anything of that nature. Long overdue, considering that the OS launched back in 2001. Incredibly, its marketshare peaked at 76.1% back in January of 2007, and is at 30% as of February of 2012 according to w3schools. Astounding numbers for a nearly 11 year old operating system.

So, for those of you who are still on Vista, or worse, XP, should you upgrade? Microsoft certainly thinks so. To quote Stella Chernyak, who blogged about the lifecycle milestones:

 We don’t recommend waiting. Not only is it important for companies to complete deployment before support runs out, but they should also be aware that by upgrading to Windows 7 and Office 2010 today they can gain substantial results today while laying the foundation for future versions of these products. And with over 525 million Windows 7 licenses sold since its release, many customers are already taking advantage of everything Windows 7 has to offer.

This message is tailored towards business and enterprise of users, but the principle applies to the average consumer. For the best (and most secure) Windows experience, you’re better off updating to Windows 7 (or 8, when it is released.)

Free DOCX and XLSX Viewers from SoftMaker


softmaker-iconSoftMaker, the authors of an MS Office compatible office suite, are offering some free document and spreadsheet viewers.

The document viewer is called TextMaker Viewer and is able to open and view the following file types:

.docx, .docmMicrosoft Word 2007 and 2010
.dotx, .dotmMicrosoft Word 2007/2010 templates
.doc Microsoft Word 6.0 up to Word 2010
.dotMicrosoft Word templates 6.0 up to 2010
.tmdTextMaker 6.0 up to 2010
.tmvTextMaker templates 6.0 up to 2010
.odt OpenDocument Text
.ott OpenDocument Text templates
.sxw Text
.rtf Rich Text Format
.psw Pocket Word (Pocket PC)
.pwd Pocket Word (Handheld PC)
.htm, .html HTML documents
.txt Plain-text files


The spreadsheet viewer is called PlanMaker Viewer and it can view the following filetypes:

.xlsx, .xlsm Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010
.xltx, .xltm Microsoft Excel 2007/2010 templates
.xls Microsoft Excel 5.0 up to Word 2010
.xlt Microsoft Excel templates 5.0 up to 2010
.pmd PlanMaker 2001 up to 2010
.pmv PlanMaker templates 2001 up to 2010
.pmw PlanMaker 1.0, 2.0, 97
.sdc StarCalc 1.0, 2.0
.slk SYLK files
.rtf Rich Text Format
.dbf dBASE files
.txt, .csv, .prn Plain-text files


Both TextMaker Viewer and PlanMaker Viewer will run under Windows 7, Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.

arrow-down-double-3 Download SoftMaker Viewers here

If you’d like to see other ways to open, view and edit MS Office files, take a look at some of this post:   Free Microsoft Office Alternatives

How to Open or Edit PPT, PPTX and PPS Files

ppt-iconRecently, my friend Tiffany wrote me to tell me she was having trouble finding a free and easy way to view PowerPoint files.

I inherited a brand new Windows 7 All-in-One with touch screen   … One of my complaints is that I can’t view a PPS on it, and I’ve tried downloading links (from several places found on Google) to get a PPS viewer, not one of them worked.   Do you know of a place where I can get just the viewer, that will work on 7?

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most used slideshow tool in the world. Even though you’ve probably seen PowerPoint slideshows and know what they are, I’d bet there are still a few of you that don’t know what to do when you get an email with a PPTX attachment in it.

Some of the file extensions associated with Microsoft PowerPoint are .ppt, .pptx, .pptm, .pot, .potx, .potm, .pps, .ppsx and .ppsm.

PowerPoint Viewers

I’ve kept you waiting long enough. Here’s a list of free PowerPoint viewers. In many cases, you can also edit as well as view.

* The apps that can edit PowerPoint files have an asterisk in front.


PowerPoint Viewer 2007 (Microsoft)

PowerPoint Viewer 2010 (Microsoft)

*Open Office or *LibreOffice

*Lotus Symphony


PowerPoint 98 Viewer (Microsoft)

*Open Office


*Open Office


*Google Docs and Google Docs Viewer

*Zoho Office and Zoho Viewer

*Office Live


*Slideshare and many others


As you can see from the list above, there are plenty of alternatives to the full version of PowerPoint. If you only need to view files, the PowerPoint Viewers from Microsoft are the simplest to use. The free office suites, such as Open Office give you lots of options to create and share slideshows. For some, the best alternatives are free web services, such as Google Docs or Slideshare. Users of Mobile devices such as iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or iPad, may not find any free apps for presentations, but they can probably use some of the free web viewers.

Save Money on Office 2010 or Get a Free Office Suite

no-word Microsoft left out a key ingredient in it’s recipe for getting everyone to use it’s newly released Microsoft Office 2010. They failed to offer Office 2010 upgrade discounts to the current users of Office 2007. What’s up with that?


There is still hope for those wanting to save money on Office 2010. Microsoft is offering free upgrades to 2010 for those buying and activating Office 2007 or upgrading from Office 2003 to 2007. The best savings are for those upgrading from Office 2003 to Office 2010, as detailed in a post at PC World. The post mentions that there are several restrictions on the free upgrades. Due to the restrictions, many people and companies will still be paying a lot of money for a full featured and modern office suite. I have to wonder if MS Office is really worth all the trouble. After all, there are several free alternatives to MS Office.

Many companies, home users, local governments and schools have saved big money by scrapping Microsoft Office and switching to Open Office 3.2. Since Microsoft Office is so expensive, now is a good time to ask yourself if OpenOffice, which is completely free, could replace your existing Microsoft Office 2007. OpenOffice has a some great FAQs that can help you decide if it’s a good deal for you. Take a look at “Why“.


There are plenty of questions raised when considering the cost of an office suite. Have you asked all the right questions?

MS Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 RTM Next Month, Free Upgrade If You Buy Office 2007 From Today

In a blog post on the official Microsoft Office blog, the Office team has detailed their roadmap for the next iteration of Microsoft Office Office 2010. The highlights from the blog post are:

  • Office 2010 RTM next month
  • Office 2010 retail availability in June
  • Free upgrade to Office 2010 for customer to purchase/activate Office 2007 starting today
  • Business range of products that includes Office 2010, Sharepoint 2010, Project 2010 and Visio 2010 to be available from May 12.

The free upgrade program is known as Office 2010 Technology Guarantee and is a free online service. To be eligible for the free upgrade, you must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Purchase Office 2007, or a new PC with Office 2007, and activate it between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.
  • Have, or create a Windows Live ID.
  • Redeem your Tech Guarantee before October 31, 2010 by visiting

Buy Office 2007 and Get a Free Upgrade to Office 2010, Don’t Get Excited Though

Here is some news for people who buy Office 2007 (not for those who already have them), you will get a free upgrade to , if you buy a copy of Office 2007 between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.


However, not all versions quality for a free upgrade. Only users who purchase Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Office Standard 2007, Office Small Business 2007, Office Professional 2007 or Publisher 2007 will be eligible to receive an upgrade to a similar Office 2010 upgrade.

According to a now deleted post from Charles Van Heusen’s blog (Google cache link), here is how you can be eligible for an upgrade.

Purchase Office 2007—Customer buys qualifying Office 2007 product (with or without a new PC) from an authorized reseller between March 5 September 30, 2010.

Install and Activate Office 2007—Customer installs and activates Office 2007 by September 30,2010.

Download Office 2010—Customer simply downloads Office 2010 for free when Office 2010 is available, or orders a DVD for a fee. Customer must request upgrade by October 31, 2010.

Is it Worth It?

Take a look at the comparison below for pricing difference between Office 2007 and Office 2010 which was derived from the Office 2010 pricing.

  • Office Home and Student 2007 costs $149 and so does the 2010 version – NO Benefits
  • Office 2007 Standard costs $399.95, Office Home and Business 2010 version will cost $279 – Loss of $120
  • Office Small Business 2007 costs $449.95, Office Professional 2010 version will cost $499 – Benefit of $50
  • Office Professional 2007 costs $499.95, Office Professional 2010 version will cost $499, Loss of $.95

As you can see, users will only get some benefit if they purchase a copy of Office Small Business 2007, all other versions either give you no benefits or lose you some money in the bargain.

Another interesting thing about this deal is that the deal is actually available thru September 2010, so I am guessing that Office 2010 will start selling in October 2010 rather than June 2010 as we had earlier told you. Looks like October is now a somewhat lucky month for Microsoft, their last product has definitely given them a reason to smile and it was released in October 2009.

Please note, all the rates were taken from the official price list available at Microsoft. These prices do not include deals you will get by buying the Office 2007 products at a third party site.