Here is an example of something I hear quite often: “Word on Windows 7 is hard to use.”
Actually, Windows 7 works with several different versions of Word. The source of the confusion is that a trial of the latest version of Office (Word, Excel, etc) is often included on new computers. The newest Microsoft operating system in Windows 7, and the latest version of Office is 2010. Many people assume that Office 2010 is part of Windows 7.
In truth, older versions of Office (2003, 2007) will run just as well on a Windows 7 machine. They will look and function just as they did on prior operating systems. So, if you have the installation disks for an older version of Office, you can uninstall the trial version of 2010 on your new machine and install your older version without paying a dime. This is great news for people who prefer the old Word/Excel/PowerPoint/etc. interface (prior to the advent of the “ribbon menu” in Office 2007).
Likewise, if your computer runs on Windows XP, you can upgrade your Office software to 2007 or 2010 without getting a new computer or upgrading your operating system. The only caveat here is that an ancient XP machine may not have enough memory available to run Office 2010 efficiently. Depending on the machine, a RAM upgrade can help. To find out if your machine can run Office 2010, check out the system requirements for your version of office here. Find out what your system has by right-clicking “My Computer” in the start menu and selecting “Properties.” From there, look at the hardware tab. If your machine meets all the requirements, you’re in business! If you’re low on memory, use the Crucial Memory Advisor on Crucial.com to see if your system’s memory can be upgraded.
Just to review – Windows 7, Vista, and XP are operating systems. Office/Word/Excel/etc. version numbers are 2003, 2007, and 2010, and they can be used on machines with any of the above operating systems.