Natively updating Office 365 ProPlus using the new version of System Center Configuration Manager

** Note: While SCCM 1511 can continue to be used to preview feature, official support for native patching of Office 365 ProPlus begins with SCCM 1602 and later.  New Updated posting

 

The goal of this blog is to discuss how Enterprise customers can use current investments in System Center Configuration Manager (Config Mgr.) to update Office 365 ProPlus. Office 365 ProPlus leverages the Click-To-Run deployment technology and was designed from the start to deploy and be serviced directly from internet.  The challenge for large enterprise customers, often with remote sites and limited bandwidth, is applying updates from local resources rather than directly from internet. Further, customers don’t want to deploy new infrastructure (example may be DFS-R) to support Office 365 ProPlus.  Historically, Config Mgr. and Office 365 ProPlus had no knowledge of one another in respect to native integration.  Certainly Administrators could develop or leverage scripts from Github Office-IT-Pro-Deployment-Scripts but ultimately that does require additional customer resources and more importantly a different process to service Office than traditional MSI installations.

On December 8th 2015, Config Mgr. team announced Now Generally Available: System Center Configuration Manager and Endpoint Protection (Version 1511).  (1511 simply means November 2015) As someone who is not a SME on Config Mgr, my first question was:

“Can Config Mgr. finally apply updates to Office 365 ProPlus natively?” 

The answer is YES!

Note: Starting with Config Mgr. 1511 and 16.0.6228.1004 version of Office 365 ProPlus. This remains in (Preview) and it’s also important to note as Config Mgr. evolves through 2016 you’ll see even tighter integration.  The information below describes a lab environment I created to validate new process. As an added bonus, this lab environment is created entirely in Azure, so it’s very easy to implement. Enjoy!

Insights into My Lab

First, I use Azure IaaS because it allows me to focus on the software I’m evaluating deferring to Azure to handle infrastructure and networking for me, saving loads of time. To be clear, Azure is not a hard requirement as it’s what I prefer as any lab with internet connectivity will due.

Tip: Many customers I speak with have an existing MSDN subscriptions and are not aware they are entitled to between $50 and $150 of Azure compute time each month, depending on their subscription level documented here.

-Azure IaaS Virtual Machines (Domain Controller, Config Mgr. 1511, Windows 7 or Windows 10)

-Deploy Office 365 ProPlus to client (out of scope for this blog as it’s well documented).  Important to note following TechNet article Install Office 365 ProPlus on a computer by using the Office Deployment Tool.  You must have Office 365 ProPlus configured for Branch “FirstReleaseCurrent” and a *new* value in Configuration.xml “OfficeMgmtCOM” must be present. Updates also must be ‘Enabled’ or this process will not work.  I know that may be contrary to the point but that’s due to a bug fixed in a future build.

-Install Config Mgr. 1511, define boundaries and ensure client is healthy from Config Mgr. perspective.

Step by step instructions:

First, import latest Office 365 ProPlus updates into Config Mgr.

In my lab, all Site Systems Roles are on the same Config Mgr. server.
1. Launch “Windows Server Updates Services” and click “Import Updates…”  this will launch Internet Explorer opening Microsoft Update Catalog page.

2. Search for the string “Office 365” and results should return list of items such as “(Preview) Office 365 Client Update – First Release for Current Branch (FRCB1601) 32-bit Edition”.

3. In this case 1601 is January 2016, add to cart and import.

Note: If you don’t use the WSUS console you won’t see the check box to import but rather only download link. (I do this by mistake it seems every time)

Verify Software Update Point Component Properties shows new product “Office 365 Client” is selected

1. From Administration panel in Config Mgr, Site Configuration, Sites, right-click on name item, mine happens to be “AZU – Azure”, select “Configure Site Components” and finally “Software Update Point”.

2. From Software Library panel click Synchronize Software Updates.  A degree of patience is required to allow synchronization to complete.

image

Download the update

Those familiar with Office 365 ProPlus know this is typically where Administrators manually use the Office Deployment Tool (ODT) and run a command similar to Setup.exe /download Configuration.xml to retrieve latest build.  Good news. This is built-in with Config Mgr. 1511.

1. From the Software Library panel in Config Mgr. navigate to “All Software Updates”.  Locate update and right-click download.  This will launch a Config Mgr. wizard to select\create a deployment package and location to host the build.

2. Deploy the update.

Note: Ensure you select all possible languages which may be deployed in your environment.  I made that error by deploying Office with English and German languages to my client but failed to select the German check box in the download… not good

image

Config Mgr. client identifies update as applicable

I typically access “Configuration Manager Properties” item from control panel (sort items in control panel with small icons selection) in order to fire scan cycles to make discovery more expedient.  We can be certain things are in order by reviewing report within “All Software Updates” panel.  The screenshot below illustrates the new feature of how we now have this functionality baked into Config Mgr. 1511. From the screenshot below, our client with Office 365 ProPlus installed shows a required update as applicable.

image

New Office COM interface will leverage BITS service to download updates from local deployment point

BITS event log entries will show transfer job and its completion which took about 30 minutes.

Note: If you’re not seeing this work, please verify OfficeMgmtCOM is present in Office configuration section of the registry and Updates are enabled. It can be added by re-running Setup.exe\ODT or by placing value directly into registry.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration]
“OfficeMgmtCOM”=”True”
“UpdatesEnabled”=”True”

Also, verify “Office 365 Client” is selected from “Software Update Point Component Properties”. Both are documented in above steps in the event you skipped step(s) by accident.

Config Mgr. will apply updates

Known Issue:

Config Mgr. 1511 does not have the ability to shut down open Office applications in order to perform updates and this is being addressed starting with build 1602 (February 2016).  Don’t worry, although a failed deployment status may occur, the end user can perform update per End-user update notifications for Office 365 ProPlus or standard Office scheduled task will automatically update products when Office applications are not in use.  Subsequent scans will reflect the update is installed. Please see screen shot below of this soft error:

image

 

I hope this blog will allow you to evaluate these new preview features for Office 365 ProPlus and Config Mgr. starting with 1511. We will continue to monitor\refresh posting until updates are no longer classified as “Preview”. Please feel free to toss a comment in with your questions or experience, or send us an email using the links at the top of the page.

 

Dave Guenthner

 

 

 

 

 

SEO Keywords:

C2R, Click-To-Run, Click2Run, Office, SCCM, 1511, 1602, patch, patching, Unable to make changes to your software, The software change returned error code 0x80070006, -2147024890, Config Mgr, Apply Updates