Office365, Office 2016 and Windows 10 – notes from the field

You will undoubtedly be aware that Windows10 and Office 2016 are live and ready for you unless, of course,  you have been hiding away somewhere with zero access to the outside world.  We (itgroove) have pretty well completed the move internally and I have a customer that has made the leap for a number of their internal systems.

New versions of Windows and Office always present challenges, not so much from a Microsoft point of view but form a third-party app point of view.  I have to say that, so far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the overall lack of drama in our office and even my customer’s office; I’ve not seen any real issues with third-party apps.  Granted, we are talking a small sample which is probably not statistically valid but the experience has been pretty good so far.

Here are some of the things I’ve come across with Win 10 and Office 2016 to this point:

Windows 10

UPGRADE  The big pain to get over was the process to force the update to Windows 10 without waiting for invites or anything else. On both Win 7 and Win 8/8.1 machines the trick seems to be to ensure you are patched.  SP1 on the Win7 boxes was all that needed to be in place for the following to work; Win 8/8.1 wanted to be patched to date.  Assuming you meet these criteria do the following:


1)  Find the registry entry HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade .  If it does NOT exists add it as a KEY.

2)  To the above create a new DWORD (32-bit) value with name AllowOSUpgrade  (exactly as show) and set the Value = 1 (this is the magic)

3)  In Windows Explorer go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download and delete everything in the folder.

4)  Open an elevated command prompt and enter wuauclt.exe /updatenow but do NOT hit Enter just yet.

5)  Go to Control Panel, Windows Updates and click on Check for Updates then immediately go to your open command prompt window and hit Enter.

All things being equal you should shortly end up with the lovely, green Windows 10 Update prompt, click it and follow the prompts.  At the end of the process you’ll be on Windows 10.

BTW, I was asked by another customer how to ensure his machines don’t get upgraded either intentionally or unintentionally (his major third party app dies under Win10).  The trick for that is the inverse of #2 above.  Make the same registry edits but set the value for AllowOSUpgrade to 0 (zero).  That will ensure that NO OS upgrade can be applied.


DRIVERS  If your PC vendor provides upgraded Windows 10 drivers it is a good idea to pull them down and apply them.  While the “generic” drivers that ship with Win10 will probably work it is always a best practice to use the drivers that your vendor provides.  And I’ve seen some weird issues with USB on various Lenovo boxes after the upgrade that weren’t there prior to the upgrade.  Lenovo has updated drivers but the issues still persist.  You might see something similar.


Office 2016

Office 2016 is really fantastic, it’s everything you love about Office 2013 amped up and super-polished.  There is nothing that stands out as a single item for me, it’s just the whole package feels more refined, integrated and responsive.

But, like Office upgrades of yore, there are one or two gotcha’s that you have to be aware of.  The biggest gotcha is MAPI, or more precisely the lack thereof.  Microsoft really messed up MAPI (Outlook integration with external programs) with Office 2013, specifically in the Click-to-Run versions (Office Pro form O365, retail download versions that install via Click-to-Run).  The fix in 2013 was to obtain a full version like that available through Open License (Volume License) and use that as the install medium as MAPI was added back in that version.  Not an elegant solution but, at least, a solution nevertheless.  Office 2016 appears to be the same.  I have checked and there is an Open License full download version available and I would assume the MAPI bits are included but will have to check to confirm.  What this means is you should NOT upgrade to an Office 2016 Click-to-Run version (a la O365) if you have third party apps that connect to Outlook until this piece is sorted out.  I will update this post once once I have the answers.