Tag: Microsoft AutoUpdate

Microsoft now provides curated deferral channels for AutoUpdate

Microsoft’s Paul Bowden announced on Tuesday at Virtual JNUC 2021 that the company is now providing additional update channels that support deferring updates for periods of time and even pausing updates on specific versions of Microsoft Office for Mac.

While these new options were announced at JNUC and Jamf Pro has native support for configuring them, MacAdmins who use a different MDM can also utilize them with custom configuration profiles right away.

I reached out to Paul for more details and clarification on these exciting new options. Read on for the details.

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MAUCacheAdmin has been updated to version 3.0

MAUCacheAdmin was updated to version 3.0 this afternoon to account for a change in the CDN infrastructure that serves Microsoft Office for Mac updates. As was reported in the #microsoft-autoupdate channel of the MacAdmins Slack yesterday, version 2.9 was marking every package as corrupt and re-downloading them all on each run.

From Paul Bowden’s commit notes:

In the October 2021 update, Microsoft moved to a new CDN namespace (officecdnmac.microsoft.com) which supports HTTP/2

However, the previous version of MAUCacheAdmin relied on the HTTP/1.1 ‘Content-Length’ header – which is all lowercase in HTTP/2

So:
1. Changed awk search to grep -i as it’s still possible for the new CDN to emit a HTTP/1.1 response in some cases
2. Changed main URL definitions to new namespace of officecdnmac.microsoft.com

Also fixed up a few other problems:
* Removed MAU 3.x definition
* Added 365/2021 to existing 2019 title (visual change only)
* Updated copyright year

MacAdmins who run a MAU Manifest and/or Caching server should update to the latest version of the code to prevent these looping downloads.

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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Forcing Microsoft Office update deadlines with MAU

Microsoft AutoUpdate 4Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) version 4.13, released in mid-July, adds the ability to force update deadlines for Office applications. I was one of the MacAdmins who provided Microsoft developers with feedback starting last October and am happy to see the feature come to fruition.

This new functionality will definitely change how I handle updates as described in my post “A hybrid approach to managing Microsoft Office updates.”

The documentation Microsoft provided around the new feature is pretty good. But there has definitely been a lot of confusion in the MacAdmins Slack around getting it to work and there are some quirks to be aware of. If you are interested in the intricacies please read on.

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Disabling Microsoft AutoUpdate’s new Required Data Notice in managed environments

Version 4.13 of Microsoft AutoUpdate for Mac, released on Tuesday, contains a new Required Data Notice that will pop up immediately upon installation and must be acknowledged before MAU will continue to function.

While the user experience is not great, thankfully Microsoft has provided us a way to suppress the new dialog on managed systems. Read on for the details.

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Microsoft Teams notifications from MAU Caching Server

Back in February I wrote about Automating MAU Caching Server with Slack Notifications and it has been working great. Earlier this week a request was made on Github to add support for sending notifications to Microsoft Teams.

We don’t use Teams here at work but a quick search showed it supports messages via an incoming webhook, just like Slack, so I decided it give it a try. It didn’t take long to adjust the code and after realizing I could create a Teams workspace for free I got it tested in short order.

Paul Bowden merged my pull request so if you’d like to take advantage just grab version 2.6 of the MAUCacheAdmin script. If you are interested in the details read on.

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Automating MAU Caching Server with Slack Notifications

SlackIn the past I have always run MAUCacheAdmin manually. Microsoft Office updates are usually only released once per month so it is easy to know when another run is needed. Plus with no built-in way to move collateral files into the appropriate place automated downloads won’t automatically make updates available for clients.

However with more and more applications becoming Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) aware, and out-of-bound patches being released, I decided it was time to automate the checks and downloads to my MAU Caching Server. This is easy enough to accomplish with a LaunchDaemon but I still needed a way to be notified when MAUCacheAdmin found updated packages to download so that I could move the collateral files into place.

I decided to see if I could add Slack notifications and when I began to dig in was pleasantly surprised to see that Microsoft’s Paul Bowden had already coded HipChat notifications. Using that as a base it turned out to be much simpler than I expected to get it working with Slack. Read on for the details.

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Customizing Microsoft Office versions served by an MAU Caching Server

I have been running a Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) Caching Server for a couple years now and have always allowed it to download and serve everything, even applications we don’t use. My thinking was that I’d rather have something and not need it, than need it and not have it.

This has never been an issue for older products like Office 2011 and Lync (or even current products like Company Portal and Skype for Business) because combined they are only around 500 MB. The fact that Office 2011 and Lync are no longer receiving updates means the bits on disk haven’t changed in over a year and don’t need to be downloaded with each run of MAUCacheAdmin.

However things changed with the release of Office 2019 last fall. While Office 2011 is no longer being maintained, Office 2016 will continue receiving security updates until October 2020. If you have already transitioned to Office 2019 this means that MAUCacheAdmin will continue to download almost 6 GB of installers and updaters every month that you don’t need.

Thankfully it is easy to customize this behavior so read on if you’d like the details.

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A hybrid approach to managing Microsoft Office updates

Most MacAdmins take an either/or approach to managing updates for Microsoft Office on macOS, utilizing either Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) or Munki. However I’ve found that a hybrid approach using both works best for us.

I’ve shared my setup severals times on the MacAdmins Slack, most recently in a direct message, so I wanted to provide more details here. Read on if you are interested in how I’m keeping Office up-to-date and providing for new installs.

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