Upgrade to Office Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT) version 2


It has been a little over a year since the OffCAT team shipped a new version, so I am very happy to tell you that we just released the very latest version (v2).

As with any new version, there are new features, diagnostic rules, and fixes in this latest OffCAT version. After reading about all these changes, we hope you will upgrade or install v2 without delay.

New application interface

One of our goals in this version was to simplify the user interface. This is one reason why OffCAT v2 looks and functions very differently from all previous versions of OffCAT (and OCAT).

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Addition of OneDrive for Business to the list of detected programs

OneDrive for Business is a very popular component of Office. It is installed with Office 2013, but it also can be downloaded and installed to work with earlier Office version programs. So, for OffCAT v2, you can scan OneDrive for Business to check for any known issues that may impact it.

Note There is another Microsoft product that is simply called OneDrive (not OneDrive for Business). OffCAT does not support scanning OneDrive.

Reading pane for detected issues

The Issues Lists displays the description and solution for the selected issue in a more convenient location on the right side of the report in the new reading pane.

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Details on the selected issue as well as a link to the solution are provided under Issue Description and Solution.

Calendar Issues tile and report

Scans of Outlook include a separate Calendar Issues tile that includes a report of known issues detected in your Calendar folder. The Calendar Issues report, powered by CalCheck, also uses a reading pane to display the issue description and solution link as well as a link to open the item from your calendar.

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Outlook scan type more discoverable

To help you quickly identify the type of scan (Full or Offline) performed for Outlook, the Scan type value is displayed on the REPORT and MANAGE SCANS pages.

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Additional details and functionality included with each scan

All scans taken on your computer, or imported from other computers, are listed on the MANAGE SCANS page in OffCAT.

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The MANAGE SCANS page has several new features that will improve your efficiency working with previous scans from your computer or those imported from other computers.

  • Toolbar displayed for each scan provides viewing, exporting and emailing functions

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  • Tooltip indicating the number of issues identified in the scan

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  • Sorting and filtering options

Click Application to sort the list, alphabetically by Office program name, or click Filter to select which Office program scans to show in the list.

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Real-time error and crash detection

The real-time error and crash detection features will help you resolve known issues more quickly than running an after-the-fact OffCAT scan. These real-time features scan errors displayed by Office programs and any crashing events, quickly comparing them against a list of known errors and crashes. If there is a match, a warning is displayed in the form of a notification alert. And, all of this happens in real-time when the OffCAT application isn’t even running.

The following figure shows a common error in Outlook and the real-time error alert which appears seconds after the error appears in Outlook.

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Similarly, the following figure shows a known crash that was detected by OffCAT.

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To find the solution to either error, all you have to do is click the alert.

These alerts, and many other important functions in OffCAT, are provided by the new background process OffCAT_RTS.exe that gets installed by OffCAT. Right-click the OffCAT icon in the notification area to access some of the additional functionality provided by this process.

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OFFCAT ribbon tab in Office programs

One of the biggest new additions to OffCAT v2 is the OFFCAT ribbon that appears in every Office program that supports custom ribbons. For example, the following figure shows how the OFFCAT ribbon appears in Microsoft Outlook.

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The OFFCAT ribbon provides access to a lot of the information and features in OffCAT without having to leave the Office program.

  • Program update status

When the current program has all the latest updates installed and you have recently scanned the program with OffCAT, there’s no need to take any action.

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However, if the program is out of date, click the control to get quick access to the needed update(s) for that particular Office program.

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If your Office program has not been recently scanned by OffCAT, you will need to perform a quick scan of the program so OffCAT can check on your update status for that program.

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  • Configuration summary

The Configuration Summary control provides a convenient way to display relevant details about Windows, machine, user, Office, the current program, and other components from your computer.

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Click Configuration summary to see this information displayed in a text file.

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This text file is created and saved into the folder in which your OffCAT scan files are saved. So, it can be easily shared or emailed.

  • Cached errors and crashes

In the event you are busy when the alert appears or you do not happen to catch the alert while it is displayed for 30 seconds, you can still access solutions using the Errors and Application Failures controls on the OFFCAT ribbon tab.

Simply click the item displayed in the list below the control to open the online article containing the relevant solution.

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  • Top ‘How To’ Articles

The Top ‘How to’ Articles control on the OffCAT ribbon displays a list of articles determined to be the most frequently accessed ‘How to’ articles for the current program.

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The list of articles is dynamic, can be updated periodically when new OffCAT detection rule files are downloaded, and varies depending on multiple factors:

  • Office program
  • Program version
  • Office 365 customer

The following figure shows the original article list you see in Outlook 2013 for a customer with an Office 365 account.

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Click any topic in the list to open the article related to that topic.

  • Specialized logging (Outlook only)

In Outlook, an additional ribbon control called Specialized logging is displayed.

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Clicking the Specialized logging control in Outlook gives you convenient access to the tools found under Outlook Logging on the ADVANCED TOOLS page in OffCAT.

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Advanced logging tools for Outlook

On the ADVANCED TOOLS page in OffCAT you will find several tools for advanced diagnosis of Outlook-specific issues or problems with KMS activation for Office.

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The Outlook Real-Time Logging page provides access to user-friendly logging information for several common scenarios where advanced logging can help bring resolution.

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Here is an example of logging output for the ‘Junk mail decision process’ scenario:

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Note, the available logging option scenarios vary, depending on your version of Outlook.

Scenario

Logging available for Outlook version

Message stuck in the outbox

2013

Junk Mail Decision Process

2013, 2010

Offline Address Book Download

2013, 2010

Synchronization Issues

2013

Please always scan Outlook with OffCAT before considering using the Outlook-Real Time Logging feature. There are many detection rules in OffCAT that can identify the root cause of many issues in each of the logging scenarios.

Calendar Checking Tool (CalCheck)

The Calendar Checking Tool component of the ADVANCED TOOLS in OffCAT scans your calendar the same way that’s done with a Full scan of Outlook -- using CalCheck.

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However, on the ADVANCED TOOLS page you can customize your CalCheck scan results using the Options control on the page.

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Once you scan your calendar with the Calendar Checking Tool, the report interface is designed to help you quickly identify problematic meetings and find the solutions for them.

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Additional Information

The OffCAT v2 ReadMe file contains a great deal more information on features, functionality, and administration of OffCAT. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Installing OffCAT, including system requirements
  • Scanning programs with the command-line version of OffCAT (OffCATcmd.exe)
  • Managing OffCAT through policy settings

We encourage everyone, especially people that use OffCAT in any Help Desk/Support context, to review the ReadMe file so you can take full advantage of everything found in this latest version of the tool.

OffCAT v2 ReadMe

Greg Mansius

Comments (4)
  1. Imrul Emon says:

    Excellent! Have tested the too.This will for sure make the admin's life easy

  2. Imrul Emon says:

    Have tested this tool which works fine. Surely it's a troubleshooting tool that all Exchange Admins should keep in their repository.

  3. Joachim says:

    This looks really good. But I found a small error: "Performance issue because PST is on a network location" is displayed incorrectly when using offline files.

  4. Michiel van Heerde says:

    I want to give this program a testrun on an ordinary user account but I can't get it to install properly. For some reason the tool wants to put an icon in the startmenu during installation and we only have a redirected read only copy of the startmenu available
    to ordinary users so they cannot change it. The installation is unable to get past this point. Is there an install option that I can use to skip creating a startmenu shortcut?

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