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Excel 2016 C2R constant updates - even after disabled!

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Loren Amelang
Occasional Contributor

I had a volume license version of Excel 2016, which worked flawlessly on this Surface Book, but I left the licensing organization. So I bought and installed Excel Retail Image 16.0.6741.2048 - which has been a continuing problem.

Actually, it is now up to 16.0.7870.2031, and it is mostly functional. But every day it claims to have updated itself, yet every time it opens it shows the updates available banner, and the update notification and tray icon. The version does not change, so I suspect the updates always fail. My only internet option is a "metered connection", which costs far more per GB than what city people pay for cellular, and spends way too much time on retransmissions. I used to drive for two hours to update on a better connection, but I can no longer drive anywhere.

So I thought I'd disable updates. Excel's Update Options says "This product will not be updated." But it still insists there are updates, every time I open a Excel file! Maybe some update is stuck midway through the process? How can I make it just give up and ignore them all?

14 Replies
Highlighted

Hi Loren,

 

My guess is what automatic download and install updates in the background and notifications about updates are different settings.

 

Not sure if the latest is possible to change from user interface. You may try to follow this tip https://www.outlook-tips.net/tips/office-2013-upgrade-banner/ and add to the registry the key like

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\​SOFTWARE\​Microsoft\​Office\​16.0\​ClickToRun\​Updates
String: UpgradeAdvertised
Value: 0
String: UpgradePackageVersion
Value: 0.0.0.0

Perhaps some registry setting are kept from you old/business Excel installation, and clean re-installation could help.

 

Anyway, i have no exact answer, just gave you the direction.

 

 

 

Highlighted

That looked promising, but maybe it only applies to the "real" Office? "Click-to-Run" seems to operate by its own rules. The closest I can find to that area in my system is in the screenshot:

 

Excel Update Watchers reg.JPG

 

"UpdateDetectionWatcher" is not found anywhere else in the registry. "Updates" only has "value not set" keys. And none for 16.0 version.

 

I suspect C2R, like the "new" apps, pretty much ignores the registry. Their updates ignore all your Windows Update settings, ignore "metered connection", and just do whatever Microsoft wants, on their schedule. Guess it's the future.

Highlighted

Hi Loren,

 

Yes, C2R is for any O365 and works separatelly from Windows Update. The latest updates only stand-alone Microsoft products (in addition to OS) if you checked such setting.

 

It looks like you still have your business O365 installed, just license expired. For example, you have in your registry MS Project which could be added only to Enterprise or Academic O365 plans.

 

If you don't use your business O365 any more, it will be more reliable to uninstall C2R from Control panel and after that install your new Excel (stand alone, or within O365 Home, whatever) from scratch.

 

Better to do when you next time drive to Starbucks or like not to consume metered connection during the installation.

Highlighted

Sergei,

 

I did not think the first Excel version was C2R, but I'm not clear how to tell. Here's what its license check showed:

PRODUCT ID: 00333-10000-00000-AA920
SKU ID: c3e65d36-141f-4d2f-a303-a842ee756a29
LICENSE NAME: Office 16, Office16ExcelVL_KMS_Client edition
LICENSE DESCRIPTION: Office 16, VOLUME_KMSCLIENT channel

 

At any rate, I carefully uninstalled that before installing the new Microsoft Store version. And that Store version was completely uninstalled and a newly downloaded "Setup.X86.en-US_ExcelRetail_07b5b21e-d03e-40de-b676-6459e1d7027c_TX_PR_.exe" version was installed to solve an earlier problem.

 

As for Project, all I've ever had on this computer is Excel, I have no idea why there are so many registry entries for other Office components. I do still have the install image for the current Excel, but if the previous two uninstalls didn't clean things up, I doubt a third try would.

 

Plus then I'd be several updates back in time, with no way to retrieve them. I don't understand why every third-party app is able to update itself successfully despite my tacky internet service, but Microsoft just fails over and over. Paying someone for two hours of driving to reach a Starbucks (or any reliable connectivity) is not really an option.

 

Guess I just get used to seeing the update banner in every Excel window.

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Hey Loren,

 

as you mentioned you did 2 uninstalls that didnt help, maybe next time you get a chance to install new you want to try if this quick fix removes whatever gets in your way?

 

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Uninstall-Office-from-a-PC-9dd49b83-264a-477a-8fcc-2fdf5dbf...

 

 

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Hi Loren,

 

You are right, you had MSI installation for business version. I still think your "update banner" is since some settings kept from that installation.

 

If you check the link Jens gave simple uninstall from control panel is far not enough for clean Office uninstallation. You have to apply that fix to uninstall with all settings and components, and after that better to go through manual uninstallation steps.

 

Sure, in your situation to repeat all that is unreasonable. Nonetheless, you may try with registry key i gave at very beginning. If it won't help you loss nothing. If you try please inform about result - if positive we'll know it works, if negative perhaps will find something else.

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That led me to a lot of new clues!

 

"Use Task Manager to end the Click-to-Run task  OfficeClickToRun.exe"

So I can hack TaskManager...  I disabled the "Office Automatic Updates" task.
History shows it does not fail - guess it successfully starts the update program, and that fails.


Updates banner still shows in every Excel window. Must be some other evidence that one is pending.
There's Excel15.xlb (undecipherable binary), lots of OTele files (telemetry back home), excel.exe_Rules.xml (might be it, but almost every "update" value is "ignore", hard to guess which one to hack)...  


Aha! - C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ClickToRun\Updates shows:
16.0.7870.2038
16.0.7967.2139
Both of the updates I haven't been able to get.
Each one has 68 items, lots of dll files, etc. All the same files that are in the ClickToRun folder from the 26 March update - the last one that worked.


So why won't it actually install them? It always says it needs to "close some files" and when I say OK it downloads 16 MB of something, and tells me I can keep working. And that repeats over and over, but the updates are still sitting here unused.

So I hid the Updates folder - banner still appears. Maybe a full restart of Windows? Or maybe there is another cue? I'm betting the problem is in the "telemetry" back home - it is not telling the mothership that the files are here, and the 16MB is it checking in and being told they are not.

Maybe if I just copy the new files to the ClickToRun folder I'll have the update? But maybe still the banner as well?

At least we know it is not a download problem - all the files for two complete updates are already here. These "modern" apps are disgusting. My "Microsoft Store" was broken for like six months, and they couldn't make it work. One day it just came back by itself. Not a clue why.

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"Nonetheless, you may try with registry key i gave at very beginning."

 

Guess I wasn't clear, that key does not exist in my system.

 

Now that I know the update files are here, the banner is telling the truth! Question is why it can't just install them.

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I read through this again, and want to share an idea (that might be trivial to you). Have you tried running the apps as administrator and installing updates then via the banner? I have experienced problems with activation in the past with non-elevated users, maybe this falls in the same category?

 

Jens

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Hi Loren,

 

Okay, thank you for sharing this information. So far so good, will see how it'll be. Will try to dig installations bit more taking your case into account - when have bit more time.

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Yes, it doesn't exist by default. You have to add this key to the registry, not to change the value for the existing key.

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All installs and uninstalls were done from my personal account which is "an Administrator". I have found that a few things that work for "The Administrator" do not work for "an Administrator". But I can't believe installing Office is one of those. Most people don't even know you can get to "The Administrator" in Win 10...  

But I tried your suggestion - ran Excel "as Administrator". Same banner. Allowed it to "close some files". It immediately downloaded the 16 MB of data. That made a new Updates folder with 16.0.7967.2161 files in it. Then it put up the "do you want to download over metered connection" dialog, and I allowed it. It did not download anything more, but ClickToRun did read each of the 68 update files from disk. Couldn't see that it wrote them anywhere...  But wild amounts of logging and telemetring were overwriting the entries faster than I could read them... 

ClickToRun is no longer active, so did it fail and give up, or does it think it completed the update? Banner is still there, I'm sure it would repeat the process like always.

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I only have

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\​SOFTWARE\​Microsoft\​Office\​16.0\​ClickToRunStore\..

 I'm not finding any examples of the "Updates" keys on the web. Closest I found is one adding "UpdatesBlockedTime" = 0. Rather than a big trial and error project, I'm now more interested in figuring out why the updates that seem to be downloaded already don't get installed.

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As reported in

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_install-mso_win10-mso_2016/office-2016-c...

I've finally gotten the update banner to go away.

 

The problem is well defined in the locked thread:
https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_install-mso_win10/updates-for-office-365...

Most users seem to succeed by simply turning off "Metered Connection". It may be more complex than that.

I can say for sure that a short, maybe up to two hours visit to an unmetered connection did not work for me. The folders with 68 update files would download and pile up in
C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ClickToRun\Updates
but never install.

Yesterday I got to spend all day on a non-metered connection. I watched Resource Monitor for several hours while ClickToRun downloaded probably hundreds of files. But then it pretty much stopped, showing only about 50 B/s continuously for another hour.

 

As an experiment, I enabled and started Update Orchestrator Service for Windows Update and the Windows Update Service, which I keep disabled because even on a Metered Connection they waste my data allowance. ClickToRun jumped back into action, downloading another hour of files (possibly the same ones again?). There was never an "Update Successful" message, but the disgusting banner at the top of my Excel window is finally gone! And all the old update folders deleted.

So maybe Office ClickToRun updates do require the conventional Windows Update mechanism for some details. I often saw ClickToRun with connections to five different IP addresses and Excel to two more simultaneously, so a lot is going on. And today, despite having all user settings for telemetry as far off as I can get them, Office Telemetry monopolized my CPU and internet connection for at least 15 minutes.

If Microsoft is going to insist on using so much internet bandwidth, it seems they owe rural users some better connection options.

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