Tag: Microsoft Office

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.

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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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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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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