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August 4, 2020

Windows Insider Dev Channel and Office 365 Can’t Get Along?

I have a strange issue with Windows Insider Dev Channel upgrades: they lead to disappearing Office 365. This happened for the first time a few months ago, and it’s recurred three times over the last five build upgrades. Office simply disappears, where the first boot after an upgrade displays this strange error message:

Although that message does not specify which application “is not presently configured“, I found the culprit quite easily. All other start-up applications were present and accounted for. Only Outlook — which I have set to start up at login — was missing. But then if I try to launch Word, Excel or any other Office application, the same error message appears. Checking Programs and Features, I could see that Office was no longer listed as installed software, but instead all individual O365 applications were listed showing a generic icon.:

Selecting any of these individual Office applications in Programs and Features and clicking Uninstall, a really weird error message pops up in Edge:

Remove an Office application from Edge? What? Checking Office folders, most of the files are still there, but some — including the executables — are missing.

Fortunately, the cure is easy: Every time this happens, I sign into my Office account on our Win10.guru tenant and reinstall Office. This only takes a few minutes, so it’s not a big problem. But, that’s not my point. My point is that this shouldn’t happen! For what possible reason could the Windows feature upgrade remove and uninstall a perfectly working and correctly configured Office?

This goes on my list of upgrade peculiarities. That list currently includes weird things such as the main OS disappearing from the Windows Boot menu, only allowing boot to secondary operating systems. After almost every upgrade, I need to boot from the Macrium Reflect boot USB and use its “Fix Windows boot issues” feature to reset boot records, then boot to the main OS. Then, I can finally and manually add all other operating systems to the boot menu. Another annoying issue after every upgrade is that some important services (to me, anyway) get  their settings reset from automatic start to manual.

I can live with this strange Office issue related to a feature upgrade build, as I have learned to live with other changes that also occur at such times. That said, to be totally honest, I have huge difficulties in understanding why a feature upgrade should uninstall Office? This makes absolutely no kind of sense to me at all.


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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