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  • MS Office "Experimentation" – What's That?!

    Home Forums AskWoody support Microsoft Office by version Questions: Microsoft Office MS Office "Experimentation" – What's That?!

    This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by

     joep517 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

    • Author
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    • #243012 Reply

      Arvy
      AskWoody Lounger

      Having recently installed Office 2016 for Home and Business on my newly built desktop machine, I am now noticing some rather strange “experimentation” entries in my registry and in the operational logs that are apparently being created by that Office application suite.

      The MACHINENAME-20181228-1306.log files contain entries such as the following:
      12/28/2018 13:06:09.939 … Activity … {“Name”: “Office.Experimentation.EcsFetch”, …
      12/28/2018 13:06:09.954 … Activity … {“Name”: “Office.Experimentation.TasFetch”, …

      The CurrentUser hive of my Windows system registry includes the following keys:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Experiment
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\ExperimentEcs
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\ExperimentTas
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\ExperimentConfigs

      The multiple binary entries found under those keys are mostly undecipherable but there are some hints that appear cloud-related.  I should note that I have created only a LOCAL admin account on that new machine.

      Can anyone enlighten me on the topic of MS Office “experimentation” and/or would anyone care to hazard a guess what it might be all about.  I haven’t a clue myself.

      Asus ROG Maximus XI Code board; Intel i9-9900K CPU; 32 GB DDR4-3600 RAM; Nvidia GTX1080 GPU; 2x512 GB Samsung 970 Pro M.2 NVMe; 2x2 TB Samsung 860 Pro SSDs; Windows 10.1809; Linux Mint 19.1; Terabyte Backup & Recovery
    • #243014 Trash | Reply

      PKCano
      Da Boss

      Yes, MS now collects information on your use and environment. On my Office 2016 for Mac, the options are the same as for Win10 – Basic or Full – no opt-out. Supposedly that is somehow related to the new GDPR rules. I think the opt-out went away around March or April 2018 when they introduced that into the update mechanism.

      I quit updating while I still had the choice for that reason.

      • #243016 Trash | Reply

        Arvy
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hmmm. I thought I had covered that in the “Privacy Options” of the Office 2016 “Trust Center”. There I saw only two checkbox options as follows:

        [] Get designs, information, recommendations, and services by allowing Office to access and make product improvements based on Office content on my device.

        [] Let Office connect to online services from Microsoft to provide funtionality that’s relevant to your usage and preferences.

        Ignoring the grammatical my/your confusion I unchecked both. Between that and my LOCAL only account I seem to have caused at least some small hinderance for the “experimentation” as the log files are showing ‘returnValue’:’unknown’ for some of its query lines.

        Where did you find those ‘Basic’ or ‘Full’ options similar to W10’s?

        Asus ROG Maximus XI Code board; Intel i9-9900K CPU; 32 GB DDR4-3600 RAM; Nvidia GTX1080 GPU; 2x512 GB Samsung 970 Pro M.2 NVMe; 2x2 TB Samsung 860 Pro SSDs; Windows 10.1809; Linux Mint 19.1; Terabyte Backup & Recovery
        • #243021 Trash | Reply

          PKCano
          Da Boss

          My Office 2016 for Mac is the persistent version (installed on my Mac, not logged in to Microsoft to use, only to activate). When I went to update the updater, the choices went from opt-out (uncheck share with MS) to “Basic” or Full”

          Update history for Office for Mac 2016

          If you look at the release notes in the third section down for April and May 2018, you will see the addition of the GDPR. The April release is the last without the GDPR notification and the Basic/Full telemetry agreement.

          See my description with attachments here.

    • #243949 Trash | Reply

      joep517
      AskWoody MVP

      “Experimentation” registry entries are used by Microsoft to test new Office features. From: Deploy Office 365 Proplus in GCC High or DOD:

      “Disable experimentation on Office 365 ProPlus

      Microsoft occasionally runs experiments on Office features.

      To disable experimentation, edit the registry and add the DisableFeatureRollout value to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\TrustCenter\Experimentation key. The type for DisableFeatureRollout is REG_DWORD and the value should be set to 1.

      If experimentation was previously enabled, you also need to delete any data under the following registry keys to clear the experimentation cache
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Experiment
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\ExperimentEcs
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\ExperimentTas

      These registry keys get created when an Office app is launched, so it’s ok if they reappear after you delete the data underneath them.”

      --Joe

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #243960 Trash | Reply

      RetiredGeek
      AskWoody MVP

      Joe,

      I’m a little unclear on this. Can you just delete the 3 keys or do you have to only delete the data under them?

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

      • #316897 Trash | Reply

        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        RG,

        Sorry for the late response. I missed your question. I read the article as saying you need to disable the experimentation and delete the data.

         

         

        --Joe

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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