How To Use Office Starter 2010 On Any Computer

Yesterday I reviewed Microsoft Office Starter 2010 – it is free but only available preinstalled on a new Windows 7 computer (you can’t download it or buy it) – so if it isn’t preinstalled on your computer then you’re out of luck.

However, if you do have it, did you know that you can easily create a portable copy of it? Microsoft refer to this process as Office Starter To-Go. You can copy your preinstalled Office Starter 2010 onto a USB flash drive – then just plug that flash drive into another computer and run your Office Starter programs on that computer as well.

The portable Starter To-Go version works regardless of whether the second computer had any form of MS Office already installed. When you unplug the flash drive, Office Starter is removed from the second computer – so if you want to keep using it, leave the flash drive plugged in.

Note: the other computer(s) you wish to use the portable Office Starter on must be running Windows 7 or Windows Vista (minimum Service Pack 1, 32bit only) – it will not work on an XP computer.

Create A Portable Office Starter USB Flash Drive – Your USB flash drive must have at least 0.4GB of free space in which to install Starter To-Go – I would recommend 1GB of free space to allow for your personal preferences and any background updates to be saved to the drive.

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel – Microsoft have a very clear guided help page here which walks you through the (easy) steps required to create the portable version on your flash drive. It also explains how to then use that drive on another computer.


Office Starter is not suitable for everyone – as explained in the review yesterday, those with more advanced needs will likely be better served by the free LibreOffice or by paying for a full version of Microsoft Office. However, Office Starter To-Go is a very useful portable version – great for occasional use on other computers without having to install a full Office suite.

If you have Office Starter, it could be worth creating a Starter To-Go portable flash drive version for use on other computers – even if you don’t plan to use it on your own computer.