I'm attempting to install Office 365 2016 through the click-to-run customization and exclude a set of applications. Office installs perfectly fine and the excluded apps are not on the system after the initial install. After I log into my Office 365 account, it starts an office update and the update installs some of the excluded items on the system.

The update installs Publisher and Outlook even though they were excluded in the config and not installed initially. Why is this and how can I prevent it?

installation xml


  <Add SourcePath="\\domain.com\Software\Office2016\x64\" OfficeClientEdition="64" Branch="Current">
    <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">
      <Language ID="en-us" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="Access" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="Groove" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="InfoPath" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="Lync" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="Outlook" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="Project" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="Publisher" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="SharePointDesigner" />
      <ExcludeApp ID="Visio" />

  <Updates Enabled="TRUE" UpdatePath="\\domain.com\Software\Office2016\x64\" Branch="Current" />
  <Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="TRUE" />
  <Logging Level="Standard" Path="\\domain.com\Software\Logs\Office2016\x64" /> 

  • Does the update start when you login to Office365 inside your office-desktop-application (like word) or when you login into a web-service (like OWA)?
    – SimonS
    Mar 8 '16 at 17:42
  • @SimonS When I log into my office365 account inside of the desktop Word application.
    – vane
    Mar 8 '16 at 19:51

This is the official reference on how to exclude specific applications from Office 365 deployments: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/dn745895.aspx.

It looks like your syntax is incorrect; it should look like this (please note the spaces, or lack thereof):

<Add SourcePath="\\Server\share" OfficeClientEdition="64" Branch="Current">
    <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail" >
        <Language ID="en-us" />
        <ExcludeApp ID="Access" />
        <ExcludeApp ID="InfoPath" />

Also, be careful about licensing: if the user doesn't actually have a Professional Plus license but instead has a different one, as soon as he/she logs in to any Office 365 application the setup will automatically start and make sure the installed applications match the actual license assigned to the user; I witnessed this myself when I erroneously deployed a Professional Plus edition to several computers, only to have the Office 365 setup remove Access and Skype For Business after the first log in of users which actually only had Business Premium licenses (SfB was not physically removed but it was made unusable due to a licensing mismatch: it was installed but it refused to activate, because the Business Premium edition only includes SfB Basic, while the Professional Plus edition includes the full version, and thus now the installed application refused to work).

  • The syntax I have is correct. The extra spaces were a mistake when copying from my config xml to here. I've edited the question to reflect the changes. However, you are correct in the licensing part of this answer. We have Business not Pro Plus so initially the apps were excluded but the update downloaded Buisiness and since business wasn't configured it installed the originally excluded apps. Thanks!
    – vane
    Mar 9 '16 at 0:22
  • 2
    2 comments: 1: Holy crap, you mix Business and Enterprise licenses? Sounds rough! 2: Holy crap, the cilent reconfigures based on the assigned license. This totally explains OP's issue.
    – blaughw
    Mar 9 '16 at 0:27
  • @vane I was actually skeptical about the spacing issue.. but you never know with configuration files, sometimes they really act crazy. Anyway, yes, unfortunately the licensing is even crazier, and in the case of Office 365 the user license always takes precedence over already-installed applications.
    – Massimo
    Mar 9 '16 at 0:57
  • @blaughw Yes, as I personally witnessed, Office 365 actually reconfigures itself if what it finds installed on the machine doesn't match the license assigned to the user launching an Office application. Just think how much "funny" this can get if different users with different licenses get their hands on the same machine...
    – Massimo
    Mar 9 '16 at 1:00

The syntax listed in the Technet reference here is... lacking.

Drop the space in the ExcludeApp element between ID= and "Publisher".

<Add />
  <Product ID />
    <ExcludeApp ID="Outlook" />

(Office 365) Setup.exe is very particular about the XML formatting. It will not really give you an error if the XML is not parsed correctly (even with verbose logging and a log path configured).

Your issue seems focused around the configuration of O365 changing when the update process runs. Per Technet - Configure update settings for Office 365 ProPlus,

The update settings in the configuration.xml file are applied to Office 365 ProPlus when you use the Office Deployment Tool to deploy Office 365 ProPlus. If you decide to change these settings, you must update your configuration.xml file, and then run the Office Deployment Tool again.

AutoUpdates are Enabled in your sample configuration.xml. Are you certain setup.exe is not being called to reconfigure your O365 client? Another common way of managing updates is to rerun Setup.exe and specify the desired version (this is a common way to do it in SCCM, for example).

  • The spaces were not intentional and do not exist in my configs, somehow they appeared when I copied it here. I will update my question to reflect the correct xml.
    – vane
    Mar 9 '16 at 0:20

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