Automating the Removal of Old Office Versions to Upgrade to 2016

By | February 2, 2017

The end-of-life for the click-to-run version of Office 2013 is quickly approaching (February 28th, 2017). This is a quick reference on how to automate the deployment of Office 2016 to your environment, while also fulfilling the prerequisite of removing any previous versions of Office (including 2013).

Step 1 – Automate the uninstall of previous versions of Office

Installing Office 2016 will not do this on its own, unfortunately. There are several ways to uninstall previous Office versions, but the most reliable I have found in my experience is to use the available OffScrub scripts from Microsoft, which can be extracted from the EasyFix uninstallers for Office 2003, 2007, and 2010. For Office 2013 and 2016, a separate script can be run to automate the uninstall using O15CTRRemove.diagcab. All scripts can be combined and run from a single package/program using SCCM. There is a great guide available from Jay Michaud on how to do all of this: https://www.deploymentmadscientist.com/2016/02/08/deploying-microsoft-office-2016-removing-old-versions/

Step 2 – Automate the installation of Office 2016

There are several guides on how to use the Office 2016 Deployment Tool, which allows you to download the Office 365 client installation files and package them up for deployment. This reference guide contains all available commands to customize the XML file which controls how Office 2016 is downloaded, installed, and configured. The final step is to package it up for deployment in SCCM. All of these steps are outlined here: https://www.systemcenterdudes.com/sccm-2012-office-2016-deployment/.

Step 3 – Deploy both packages simultaneously with Configuration Manager

Of course, you will want to run step 1 and step 2 together to minimize the amount of time that users are without Office on their systems. You can deploy sequential applications in SCCM by using software packages (setting the uninstall program to always run first in the install program properties), by using software applications (setting a software dependency for the uninstall script to run prior to install), or by using a task sequence that contains all of the steps (task sequences can do more than just deploy an OS, after all). As always (and especially with multi-step software deployments), be sure to test deployment with a few pilot systems before running it for all of production.

Microsoft has done a good job of making Office settings/profiles migrate easily to new versions, and the same is true for 2016. Outlook will automatically upgrade any existing mail profiles when run for the first time and should not require any special configuration from the user.

4 thoughts on “Automating the Removal of Old Office Versions to Upgrade to 2016

  1. Colin

    Following the above we are finding that Outlook is fully re-syncing following the upgrade instead of recognising the previous Outlook installations pst or ost?

    Do you know how to make this work without the clients having to re-sync?

    Reply
  2. Chris Henning

    Can anyone explain to me why the installation of office 2016 does not remove the other versions of office as the “office configuration tool” shows as the default option? And if it can’t why isn’t it being fixed?

    Reply
    1. Josh Heffner Post author

      Chris,

      If you’re installing from MSI-based media, it will upgrade from old versions of Office during installation. If you are installing from Office 365 “click-to-run” media, you will need to remove all previous installations. If you’re using the OCT, then you are using MSI-based media and will not need to preform any uninstalls.

      Thanks,

      Josh

      Reply

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