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Microsoft Offers Workaround for Office 2013 Users Affected by June Patch

Microsoft offered a workaround late last week for some Office 2013 users who got tripped up by the company's June Patch Tuesday release.

The problem was experienced specifically by some Office 2013 users who receive their updates via Microsoft's "click-to-run" update technology, which sends changed software bits down to end users directly. After the June 10 update was applied, some of those Office 2013 users weren't able to launch their Office programs, according to Microsoft's announcement. The company estimated that about 1 percent of users were affected.

Microsoft hasn't yet fixed the problem. Instead, there's a workaround that involves uninstalling Office 2013 and then reinstalling it, as described in this Microsoft forum article. The workaround makes things a little easier by providing a Microsoft "fix it" solution, as described here. The fix-it solution downloads a removal program to uninstall Office 2013. After that step is done, the next step is to reinstall Office 2013 from the Office "My Account" page. That page is associated with the user's Office 2013 account, so it requires having a Microsoft account name and password on hand to reinstall the software.

Microsoft's click-to-run update technology is also used by Office 365 ProPlus subscribers. However, Microsoft only pointed to some Office 2013 users as being affected by the problem, without specifying the details.

Earlier this year, Microsoft made the argument that organizations using Microsoft Office and click-to-run update technology shouldn't have to test the updates pushed down to end users because the problems would be so infrequent. Click-to-run technology gets managed in a different way from traditional patching. It delivers updates directly to end users unless IT pros specifically use the Office Deployment Tool to set it up so that the updates go to a single location first for testing purposes. Click-to-run technology is also different in that it doesn't work with traditional patch management tools, such as Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft has explained.

Microsoft is aware that some organizations want traditional controls over click-to-run patching. So far, though, the company hasn't budged from its approach of pushing click-to-run updates directly to end users. It has promised some minor management improvements to come, perhaps in the second half of this year. For instance, it's promising better compression of files and the ability to exclude apps from the update process. Also to come will be better patching for shared computers and improved deployment of Office 365 ProPlus via Remote Desktop Services.

Click-to-run technology is based on Microsoft's App-V application virtualization technology. It's not new technology for Office. It was first introduced with some versions of Office 2010, according to Microsoft's chronology.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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