Newsletter Archives

  • July’s Outlook Click-to-Run update lays an egg


    By Susan Bradley

    Yes, it’s a bit macabre, but I affectionately call the day after Patch Tuesday “dead-body Wednesday.”

    I coined that term because Wednesday morning is when we get to see whether our systems survived the updates installed the night before. (These are, of course, my test platforms; I would never subject my production machines to immediate/automatic updating.)

    There’s always some anticipation as to which Windows or Office component will be wounded by an update. This time around, it was Outlook’s turn to be placed on the life-support list.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.28.0 (2020-07-20).

  • Bad Office Click-to-Run (and installed MSI version?) update blamed for Outlook freeze

    Lots of reports this morning about Outlook freezing on start.

    From an anonymous poster on AskWoody:

    Today when I went to check my email, Outlook would not open; it would load the “Starting Outlook…” splash screen, which would close without opening the Outlook window itself, and the taskbar icon went away. Looking in Reliability History, it states that Outlook has crashed.

    I tried opening in safe mode (it does the exact same process as described above) and restarting the computer to no avail. I even tried the full repair (not the quick one), redownloading and reactivating MS Office 2019, but no go.

    Quintalis on Reddit:

    Outlook immediately crashing on open after patching last night

    Even in safe mode, appcrash. Full online repair no good, rolling back updates, anyone seeing this?

    edit: appcrash, exception code 0xc0000005, re-install no good, rollback no good. We also regedited for sigred mitigation last night, I’m tempted to temporarily undo that and test…

    edit2: temporarily unpatched sigred, tested, not the culprit!

    edit3: Had some copies of Office 2019 C2R lying around, installed version 1808 (Build 10363.20015 Click-to-run) and it’s working. Yay?

    From tenebrousrogue:

    I’ve got a fix, after this hit several of our clients. Performing a rollback fixed it, must be a bad office update. open cmd, run:

    cd “\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ClickToRun”


    officec2rclient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.6366.2062

    EDIT: u/peEtr had success as well, with a more recent version (June24th). Change the second command to:

    officec2rclient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.12827.20470

    Additional reports (1, 2, 3)

    UPDATE: From @rpodric

    I assumed the update they were talking about was server side, since I’ve been on the same C2R (Beta) build for a week, but who knows. Nothing should have changed build-wise here. My third attempt running it this morning was successful somehow.

    In the past few minutes, Microsoft has acknowledged the bug, but you’re on your own. “As a workaround, users can utilize Outlook on the web or their mobile clients.” Golly. My PC doesn’t work for email, so I need to whip out my iPad?

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Microsoft says “We’re rolling out a fix for this issue, and we expect the mitigation to reach all customers over the next few hours.” No details about version numbers – or even the method being used to roll out the fix.

    Says Ralph Carothers: “So, by reach them do you mean its going to back door patch them? Because this happened middle of the day to most of the users I’ve had impacted, and I certainly didn’t push out a patch.”

  • The future of Office: Click-to-Run, on Win10 only

    Looks like Office is in for some major changes.

    The next version of Office, called Office 2019, is due out the gate in the second half of 2018.

    The official Changes to Office and Windows servicing and support document, posted yesterday, still has my head swimming.

    If I understand things correctly:

    • Office 2019 will be “Office 365-style” click-to-run only, unless you put it on a server. Starting with this new version, you have to rent Office, you can’t buy it.
    • Office 2019 will only run on currently-supported versions of Windows 10. But it will not run on Server 2016. That means you’ll have to keep your version of Win10 updated if you want to continue to rent Office 2019.
    • Office 2019 will not run on the current Long-Term Servicing version of Win10. But it will run on the new Win10 LTSC that will be released, sometime, later this year. Similarly, it won’t run on the current Server LTSC, but will run on the new Server LTSC, due out sometime this year.

    Martin Brinkmann has a good explainer on ghacks.

    Mary Jo Foley tackles the topic from a functional perspective on ZDNet.

    (Personally, I’m moving almost everything over to Google Docs and Sheets. I have a couple of complex macros — including the KBNew lister — that will continue to need Excel, but Excel 2013 works fine, and I own it. Win10 All-In-One For Dummies submissions have to go in Word. So far, anyway — the editorial staff may figure out Google Docs one of these days. But I’ve moved everything else to Google Docs and Sheets. Suggest you do, too.)

  • Major backstyle, ZOrder problems with controls in latest Office 2016 Click-to-Run, Excel 2016, likely Word 2016

    Another chapter in the ongoing saga of “What will Microsoft do when one of its patches screws up?”

    This time, it looks like Office Click-to-Run 7369.2038 – that’s the latest version you’re likely to have if you are using Office 365 – is causing havoc with backstyles in certain custom user forms. If you have a custom form that set a Backstyle (or, it appears, a ZOrder), this latest version of Office CtR will clobber your setting. It looks like Excel 2016 and Word 2016 may have the same problem.

    For most folks running Office it isn’t a big deal. But if you have a VBA app that fiddles with its labels, checkboxes, option buttons, or other controls, you may be seeing weird artifacts — or may not see anything at all.

    As best I can tell, the problem started on Oct. 4 with the release of CtR 7369.2034. The bug continued in 7369.2038, released Oct. 11. [Ed note: earlier erroneous version numbers have replaced with the correct ones.] The only apparent fix is to revert to an earlier version of Office CtR.

    Microsoft, much to its credit, has acknowledged the problem in a TechNet post, but there hasn’t been any news of a real fix. The best on offer is to roll back to a previous version of Office CtR, Word or Excel. In this case, looking at the official CtR release docs, that means pulling back to 7341.2035.

    Once you’ve reverted to an earlier version of Office, you automatically turn off Office Click-to-Run Automatic Updating. It’s up to you to turn it back on again.

    Before I hear from the “it’s trivial” crowd, consider this post from L Phillips:

    Our application (which runs in Excel) is used around the world by food companies and universities to formulate new foods, run food manufacturing processes, and develop nutrition facts labels. This means several thousand organizations must use Excel because of my application. Releasing updates that make Excel unusable is bad for everyone? It may seem like an inconvenience to you but when a key user interface is no longer functional because a label that was added as border in the back is now a solids grey box in the front is a big deal to us.