Click to Run Blog

I am sure when you hear that Microsoft has released a new version of Microsoft Office, you’re like; ugh, do I really need to install it?  I get it.  With earlier releases of Microsoft Office, the installation procedure has proven to be very slow and painful.  Because of all of the great features included in Microsoft Office, the traditional MSI installation method would takes a while to download.  This alone would cause many IT Engineers to throw their hands up and say “NO WAY am I doing that!”  Not only was Microsoft Office slow to download and install, it would require the IT Engineer to uninstall the earlier version and verify that applications, plug-ins and macros were compatible with the new Microsoft Office release.  At best this upgrade took several months.  If you had compatibility issues the upgrade could take even longer.

With Office 2013, Microsoft has taken great lengths to improve this upgrade experience.  They recognized a need to provide a quicker and simpler deployment process.  To do this Microsoft developed a new method for deploying Microsoft Office called “Click to Run.”  It’s based on core virtualization and streaming technologies from the Microsoft App-V team. “Click-to-Run” is optimized for both the Enterprise and Small Business user.  There are three key incentives to use “Click to Run:”

  1. It’s fast.  Users can stream Office and be running their apps in as little as 90 seconds (under 5 minutes on average), or nearly 10% of the time it would take otherwise. The products still run locally utilizing the PC’s resources, they don’t “run in the cloud”.
  2. With “Click to Run”, it’s easier to always be running the latest and most secure version of Microsoft Office.  “Click-to-Run” users get the latest bits right away (rather than the traditional patch management method that can take critical time and resources to install).  “Click to Run” users also get updated automatically over time, with no need to download or install patches.  The product seamlessly updates itself in the background.
  3. It’s low impact, and co-exists with other software on the machine.  “Click to Run” products are virtualized, so they don’t conflict with other software.  For example, users can run Office 2010 for their production scenarios while they evaluate a trial of Office 2013. This addresses a major user pain point.

Click-to-Run products also take up roughly half the disk space of normal products, they repair more completely, and they won’t break other software installed on the PC because they have private copies of all of their files and registry.

The one major limitation to “Click to Run” products over the traditional MSI approach is that you cannot control which Office applications are installed.  The slide below provides a comparison between the traditional MSI approach versus “Click to Run:”

Note: Microsoft does still create an MSI installer for Office 2013, but it’s only available to those who have a volume license agreement for Office Professional Plus 2013 or Office Standard 2013. That said, MSDN and TechNet subscribers also have access to this installer type.


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