How to ‘Switch Channels’ for Office 2016 ProPlus


The Office 365 ProPlus update model supports 4 production channels; Monthly Channel (Targeted), Monthly Channel, Semi-annual Channel (Targeted) and Semi-annual Channel. Each channel receives features updates, security and non-security updates on different release intervals.

Consider a scenario where Office 365 ProPlus is installed on a machine from the Semi-Annual Channel.  Now let's say, a new feature is introduced on the Monthly Channel which you would like to get.  Since you are on the Semi-Annual Channel you will have to wait for a few months before this feature is made available to the Semi-Annual Channel.  But what if you do not want to wait that long?  The answer is, switch to the Monthly Channel.

Below are the steps to switch channels:

  1. Identify the channel which you would like to switch to. Features and updates by channel are documented here.
  2. Launch Command Prompt as an administrator.
  3. Navigate to “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ClickToRun>”
  4. Run the following command to change the desired channel, let's say Monthly Channel “OfficeC2RClient.exe /changesetting Channel=Current

or

OfficeC2RClient.exe /changesetting Channel=Monthly

Note - You can use this command to switch to any channel using the corresponding Channel keyword listed below:

Channel Keyword in CMD or ODT
  Monthly Channel (Targeted)   Channel="Insiders" or Channel="FirstReleaseCurrent"
  Monthly Channel   Channel="Monthly" or Channel="Current"
  Semi-annual Channel (Targeted)   Channel="Targeted" or Channel="FirstReleaseDeferred"
  Semi-annual Channel   Channel="Broad" or Channel="Deferred"

 

  1. To start the switch Channel process, run “OfficeC2RClient.exe /update user” from the cmd prompt path ‘C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ClickToRun>” This should be followed by a series of windows which will take you through the process of downloading and installing updates for the new channel that you have switch to.

The other option for switching channels is using Office Deployment Tool (ODT). Here are the steps for it:

setup.exe /configure changechannel.xml 

<Configuration> 

    <Updates Channel="Deferred" /> 

</Configuration> 

or

 <Configuration> 

    <Updates Channel="Broad" /> 

</Configuration> 

Note:

  • Office C2R Client (OfficeC2RClient.exe) build 16.0.8518.6355 and above will support both old and new channel names.
  • For instance, if you prefer to switch to a build on a particular channel, the cmd would be:         OfficeC2RClient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.xxxx.xxxx
  • If you are downgrading Channels from faster channel to slower one, say from Monthly to Semi-Annual, this may end up with larger than normal download of Office bits.

More information:

Starting September 2017, Office 365 ProPlus aligns with the Windows 10 Update model. This change will make planning and managing updates for both Office and Windows easier for customers. Below is an overview of old and new update channel names.

Channel Name prior to September Channel name starting September 12th
  Insider Slow/ First Release Current Channel   Monthly Channel (Targeted)
  Current Channel   Monthly Channel
  First Release Deferred Channel   Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)
  Deferred Channel   Semi-Annual Channel

 

Reference:

Overview of Update Channels for Office 365 ProPlus

Reference on Office 2016 builds on production

Office ProPlus Client Update Channel release- features

Comments (7)

  1. tony says:

    My test indicates if Office programs are running in the background, the “OfficeC2RClient” will ask you to close the applications.

    Is there a way to switch the channel but is completely silent to the user? I noticed this blog that tells you just to change the registry key:
    https://nhogarth.net/2017/02/07/changing-office-365-update-channel-with-configmgr-1610/

    The method doesn’t run “OfficeC2RClient.exe”. Not sure what triggers the final switch??

  2. Craig James says:

    “To start the switch Channel process, complete by executing “OfficeC2RClient.exe /update user” in cmd prompt path ‘C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ClickToRun>”

    I can’t even get to C:\Program files. I am stuck at C:\users\username.

    1. @Craig James – open cmd prompt as administrator and paste below.

      cd C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ClickToRun

      the above should automatically guide to required path

  3. Jon says:

    We seem to be running into some confusion with Premier Support. They’ve referenced this article claiming that the command line is the only way to change channels. However, there are numerous other articles that suggest the channel can also be changed with a registry key or group policy. (Note that we are patching through SCCM, not directly from the Office CDN). Should we be able to change the channel through policy or configuration items or is it necessary to run the command line script on every computer we want to change to a different channel?

  4. Boris Bahes says:

    Don’t clients get this setting from O365 admin center?

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