Category: MacAdmins

Office 2021 information for MacAdmins

On Sept. 16, Microsoft released Office LTSC for Mac 2021 to commercial customers ahead of the October 5 launch to general consumers. LTSC, or Long Term Servicing Channel, is the new official name of Office for customers with a perpetual Volume License.

If your company has Office 365 subscription licenses you can stop reading here. Nothing changes for you and your users will always have the latest features as soon as they are released. However if you deploy the Volume Serializer keep reading for what’s new.

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Allow standard users to manage printers with a Munki NoPkg

Employees at our company all use Standard (non-admin) accounts on macOS and install printers via Managed Software Center. By default this only gives them the ability to install and uninstall in MSC, but not manage queues or add personal printers at home in System Preferences.

Thankfully a simple command that can be run to allow standard users to have that ability has been around for years:

dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -a staff -t group lpadmin

(Variations of this script posted around the web include using everyone instead of staff and _lpadmin instead of lpadmin.)

In the past I have always enabled this feature with a payload-free package. However that didn’t present a way to confirm the setting is still active or provide an easy way to reverse it.

To solve those issues I decided to convert it to a Munki NoPkg with logic to do both.

Read on for the details:

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Installing AirPrinters “offline”

In my last post, AirPrint Generator, I noted that one of the potential issues with programmatically installing AirPrinters is that the client computer needs to be able to actively communicate with the printer at the time of installation. This quickly came up in discussion on the MacAdmins Slack.

As I outlined there, we can work around this by generating the AirPrint PPDs and Icons, packaging them up and deploying them to the client computers ahead of time.

This method presents several advantages, read on for the details.

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AirPrint Generator

MacAdmins have known for several years now that PPD files are deprecated and AirPrint is the way forward. However many of us have put off transitioning due to a lack of automated configuration options.

That all changed with the HP Printer Driver Certificate Fiasco of October 2020. With the first official remediation option being to reconfigure using AirPrint, this project suddenly moved up the to-do list for many admins, myself included.

Instead of continuing to make users sit through lengthy installs of HP’s enormous driver packages I decided to build on the work of others and create AirPrint_Generator. Read on for the details.

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Configuring MunkiReport Dashboards

MunkiReport version 4, released over a year ago, added support for multiple customizable Dashboards. Previous releases allowed an admin to configure the homepage with selected widgets, but that was all.

The added Dashboard functionality gives admins the ability to have an unlimited number of customized views with particular widgets for different reporting needs that can be switched between using a menu or keyboard hotkeys.

This post was originally supposed to accompany my presentation at the Houston Apple Admins meetup in September 2019, but obviously I got a little behind.

The information is still relevant so read on if you are interested.

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Delete Zoom with a Munki NoPkg

Zoom Video Communications has been in the news again lately, and not in a good way. Shortly after Google and the U.S. Senate made the decision to ban Zoom from all their devices my company followed suit.

We didn’t have Zoom installed on a large percentage of our computers, but I still needed a way to remove it now and in the future. Utilizing information shared by other MacAdmins, and the official documentation, I compiled a list of all files Zoom installs across macOS and wrote a script to search and destroy.

If the details could be helpful for you please read on.

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Deploying Photo Mechanic 6 with Munki

Photo Mechanic 6 (PM), released last year, is a major overall to the venerable software used by photojournalists worldwide. It is now 64-bit for compatibility with macOS Catalina and includes a number of other changes from PM5.

Thankfully the ability to programmatically activate and deactivate is still there so only a few changes are needed in our Munki scripts.

What follows is basically the same as my post from last year, Deploying Photo Mechanic 5 with Munki, without all the background details, so read on if you want to see the changes needed to the scripts.

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Suppressing Microsoft AutoUpdate’s new macOS Upgrade alert

Microsoft Office officially dropped support for macOS 10.12 Sierra last week with the release of the 16.31 updates. This came as no surprise to MacAdmins as the Office for Mac team announced the N-2 macOS support plan back on Sept. 4, 2018. What did come as a surprise was a new Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) alert encouraging users to upgrade to macOS Catalina.

This obviously presents a problem in managed environments where end users are not able to upgrade themselves directly though the App Store. While most admins should focus their efforts on upgrading computers to a newer version of macOS, in environments where computers must remain on Sierra or older, suppressing this dialog is desired.

Thankfully it is possible to do so with a configuration profile, read on for the details.

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Microsoft AutoUpdate Daemon renamed

A last minute decision to rename Microsoft AutoUpdate’s daemon from “Microsoft AU Daemon.app” to “Microsoft Update Assistant.app” in version 4.15 caused an unexpected dialog to appear for users last week.

MacAdmins have been suppressing this standard macOS dialog for several years by pre-registering Microsoft AutoUpdate in the Launch Services database. The sudden name change caused the dialog to unexpectedly appear during the monthly update cycle of Microsoft Office in September.

Read on for details of what needs to be updated in your script to suppress this dialog for users going forward.

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Privacy and Consent changes in Microsoft Office 16.28

Microsoft Office 16.28, released Tuesday, includes a new privacy dialog for users and a number of changes to the preferences that control privacy and telemetry settings. This new dialog cannot be directly suppressed for Office 365 users, but can for those with a 2019 Volume License.

Microsoft has provided documentation, Use preferences to manage privacy controls for Office for Mac, of these new preferences and Paul Bowden provided a Keynote slide deck, Privacy and Consent Controls (PDF version), from a set of video conferences he hosted last week. (Unfortunately video recordings of the calls are not available.)

Thanks to the hard work of the Office for Mac team most of these preferences can be managed via configuration profiles. Read on for an overview of the changes and items of note.

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