There’s a buzz in my technical world this morning with the announcement that Office 2019 will not be available as MSI files, but will only be a Click to Run (C2R) product.
If that went right over your head, you may not be an IT Pro, and you can ignore the rest of this message.
If that has you breaking out in a cold sweat, let me clear up some confusion about the difference between MSI and C2R.
Here’s a link to the official announcement: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsitpro/2018/02/01/changes-to-office-and-windows-servicing-and-support/
Note: This article is based on my experiences with Office 365 ProPlus deployments which use Click to Run installations & updated of the Office software. As the Office 2019 announcement is so new, I’m working to get more information on the actual supported deployment methods.
Click to Run does not mean online-only. Click to Run also does not mean Office 365. Here’s an article I wrote for Regarding 365 on the difference: https://regarding365.com/click-to-run-is-not-office-365-proplus-7888c7f27ccd
Office 365 ProPlus Click to Run deployments & updates can be done on a local network, from a source file share or USB key, or via SCCM, without the need for the destination computer to be connected to the Internet. This is achieved by using the Office Deployment Tool, which is a command line utility. It is used to determine which products and versions are installed.
For more information on structuring and deploying Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Tool, watch my Pluralsight course on the subject. It has a good overview of the differences between MSI & C2R and walks you through planning, deployment methods and how to roll back to a previous version. https://pluralsight.pxf.io/c/1200172/424552/7490?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pluralsight.com%2Fcourses%2Foffice-365-deploying-updating-proplus
There’s also a great Microsoft Mechanics episode here on “Who moved my MSI?” https://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/Mechanics/The-new-Office-Who-Moved-My-MSI-
As for the Office 2019 announcement, the biggest questions so far are around offline installation, offline updates and offline activation. There are some FAQs here, and I’m hoping we’ll see more added to this page: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4086177/office-2019-perpetual-volume-license-products-available-as-click-to-ru
The FAQs do state: Office 2019 uses device-based licenses similar to previous major versions. Users will be able to sign in if they want to. However, they are not required to do this. Key Management Service (KMS) and Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) activation are available to volume license users for offline licensing. No internet connection is required to use the product.
But as yet it’s unclear whether deployments will be done with the Office Deployment Tool.
I’ll update you when I know more, but your best place to discuss this and see any other announcement updates is the Microsoft Tech Community https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/