What are my options to deploy Office 365 ProPlus?

This is becoming a popular question in education now that Student Advantage is coming very soon.  I put together a quick FAQ to answer some of these common questions.

What is Office 365 ProPlus Click-to-Run and how does it differ from MSI/ISO installations?

There are several differences including:

  • License assigned to a person not a computer – can run on up to 5 machines
  • User must authenticate (Sign-in) to Office using Office 365 valid credentials (e.g. Dirsynced creds from on prem AD or Office 365 only Ids) – once per device
  • Streams down Office payload and you can use Office quickly before entire payload is streamed
  • No KMS or MAK concept required
  • Office Telemetry
  • Slipstreamed updates/patches

What happens when I try to install Office 365 ProPlus on a 6th device?

It will prompt you to deactivate on a previous device.


Do my Office 365 ProPlus users always have to be internet connected to leverage this?

No, we do not require a machine to be always internet connected to leverage Office 365 ProPlus.  However, we do check for valid Office 365 ProPlus subscription every 30 days. After 30+ or more days in no verification of a valid license Office 365 ProPlus will go into reduced functionality mode which means view and print only are available. See here for more information.

Can I run older versions of Office side by side if I have an application that requires older versions of Office?

Yes, Click-to-Run uses application virtualization which allows you to run older versions of Office in parallel. Previous versions required a de-installation of older versions of Office. This provides you a comfort level that you can always fall back for worst case incompatibilities.

Can I use ADFS or Dirsync with Password sync credentials to login into my Office 365 ProPlus installation?

Yes, this is valid. The key is the identity you log in with must be tied to an Office 365 ProPlus license within Office 365.

Are my user required to be local administrators to install from the cloud portal or on prem using Click-to-Run?


Yes, Click-to-Run from either the Office 365 Portal (above) or a local installation require the local administrator right to install.

Can I deploy Office 365 ProPlus from an on prem source?

Yes, you can download an Office 365 ProPlus package for customization and local installation.


How do I grab an Office 365 ProPlus image for local customization and deployment?

Run the Office Deploment Tool (ODT) here.

Use setup to grab the Click-to-Run package from Office 365 (e.g. setup.exe /download http://sourcebitsurl/download.xml)

Use the Office Deployment Tool to customize the configuration XML

Add C2R packages to your software distribution infrastructure

Deploy C2R packages (e.g. setup.exe /configure \\server\sourcepath\install.xml)

Layer on add-ins or customizations via Group Policy

More information on ODT for Click-to-Run here.

Which one should I use the Office 365 portal or on prem source?


This all depends on what your end goals are. Do you require customization? Do you want to maintain Office 365 ProPlus packages locally? Do you want to control installations/bandwidth? See here for more information on this.

How do I customize settings with an Office 365 ProPlus package?


Two different components needed:

1) Group Policy templates are used for changing specific settings in Office 365 ProPlus.

2) Configuration.xml file is used for specifying installation and update options in the package.

Where can I grab the Group Policy templates for my Click-to-Run installation?

You can grab the ADMX, ADM Group Policy Admin template and the Office Customization Tool (OPAX/OPAL) files here and you can view all the customization settings available to you here.

What can the Configuration.XML file do?

It is used for specifying the installation and update options of your Office 365 ProPlus package.

Here is what it can do:

  • Add or remove products from the installation

  • Add or remove languages from the installation

  • Specify display options

  • Set logging options

  • Specify software updates behavior for Click-to-Run

See here for more details on the configuration.xml file.

Can I use System Center Configuration Manager 2012 or Windows Intune to deploy Office 365 ProPlus?

Yes, you can push an Office 365 ProPlus package using either technologies to deploy to user workstations. With Windows Intune you can even source the Office 365 bits from Office 365 portal rather than locally.


For more on Configuration Manager see here or Intune see here.

What about when updates, patches and service packs come out? How do they work now with Office 365 ProPlus?

This is drastically different with Office 365 ProPlus. We now rebuild and slipstream the source file location Office 365 ProPlus every second Tuesday of the month. This way every net new patches, update is slipstreamed into the latest build.

For existing Office 365 ProPlus installations, via the self-healing mechanism, they will also autoupdate the patches down to their local installations of Office 365 ProPlus. They download only the deltas each month not a full re-install.

Users are not impacted if they are using Office while a patch is streamed down. When the user closes and re-opens the Office application the automatically are using the newer build.

This gets IT out of the patching business and they can also download the latest slipstreamed Office build every month for on prem deployments of Office 365 ProPlus.

Can put an Office 365 ProPlus package onto student lab workstations?

Yes, you can either stream it down upon login or push it to the workstation using App-V, Configuration Manager, etc. One key requirement is you must log into Office first with a valid user license. ADFS SSO in this lab scenario would automatically log them into Office 365 ProPlus assuming they are domain joined lab machines and the student is logging into the workstation with an identity that has an associated Office 365 ProPlus license.

What about using Office 365 ProPlus and desktop virtualization (VDI, RDS, TS)?

I will post a separate post on this soon. There are several intricacies involved with this but user dedicated desktop VDI is supported.  You can read here on this topic.

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