Office 365 Channel Changing

ID 365043 - Set the Office 365 - Office 2016 Update Channel to Semi-annual Channel (Targeted) - Office 2016

I have a feeling that this doesn’t work; meaning that Office installs do not understand the new naming scheme.

For example, setting:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\OfficeUpdate]" "UpdateBranch"="Targeted"

The Office install does not understand “Targeted” so defaults to “Monthly”.

Anyone able to confirm?

Seems to be an Office GUI thing… The GUI shows Monthly but the version shows correct for Targeted Channel.

Nope… There is an issue. We called Microsoft and they are saying that in addition to what is set by the fixlet

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\OfficeUpdate]" "UpdateBranch"="Targeted"

that these key must match:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration]” “CDNBaseURL”=””

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration]” “UpdateChannel”=””

I’m still not clear on these keys and will be reaching out to M$ again…

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Using this fiexlet as an example, I’ve confirmed that it does not work in changing the O365 2016 Channel to Semi-Annual (Targeted).

Office deployed using O365 using ODT (v16.0.8529.3600).

365043 Set the Office 365 - Office 2016 Update Channel to Semi-annual Channel (Targeted) - Office 2016

If you do this and then force the update using the command:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ClickToRun\OfficeC2RClient.exe / update user

You’ll get the error:

Removing the regkey that the Fixlet sets and running the update again results in:

"[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\OfficeUpdate]" "UpdateBranch"="Targeted"

I have a case open with M$ on why the fixlet, which to the best of my knowledge, emulates that of the GPO, isn’t working.

Another approach would be to use ODT to make the change using an XML file similar to:

 <Updates Channel="Targeted" />

The good news is in using the XML to make the change, the “Application Information for Office 365 - Office 2016” Analysis will still report the channel correctly.

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This page suggests the best option might be to just run a command:

OfficeC2RClient.exe /changesetting Channel=Targeted

Meanwhile, this page suggests changing many settings, similar to the info you mention getting from Microsoft:

It would also be possible to use LocalGPO with BigFix and use this method instead: https ://

I personally think using either LocalGPO or using OfficeC2RClient.exe is a better option than the many different registry settings.

ODT and the XML works we’ll. I haven’t fully vetted running the EXE as System.

In any cases, the IBM provided fixlet to change channels results in an error on the endpoint. In other words, changing the regkey, the supposedly same regekyy the M$ GPO changes, doesn’t work.

After many hours with Microsoft, it seems that in the case of GPO only (aka the BigFix Task), the new channel names to not work (they “should” work Jan 1, 2018).

That being said, fixlet ID 365043 should have UpdateBranch = “FirstReleaseDeferred”; NOT “Targeted”.

Hi @AlexaVonTess,

Thanks for the feedback!
In our fixlet we are using the command
OfficeC2RClient.exe%22 /update user updatetoversion=16.0.8431.2110(recent targeted version number) to upgrade Office 365 to newest version.
Could you try out the command? Thanks!

That’s another method. Just like using the ODT with XML:

 <Updates Channel="Targeted" />
 <Display Level="None" />

The point I’m making is the GPO does not work; a Microsoft thing I suppose, but the IBM fixlet is using the GPO, so it doesn’t work (or won’t until Jan 1 supposedly).

Until Jan 1, the correct fixlet should implement this GPO:


Hi @AlexaVonTess,

We understand that in Fixlet to switch channel the registry is set as “updatebranch”=“Targeted”. In our Fixlet to upgrade to the most recent version of Semi-annual Channel (Targeted), for example in fixlet 365143, we check the updatebranch registry in relevance and then use the command ‘OfficeC2RClient.exe%22 /update user updatetoversion=16.0.8431.2110’. This should be able to successfully upgrade the Office365 to the most recent version of targeted branch. Please kindly let us know if this doesn’t work.


From Microsoft… in short, the BigFix Tasks need to be updated to reflect the OLD channel names.

The latest Office 2016 Template files will give you the pick list of new channel names but will use previous channel names in the group policy registry. For example, if you choose the channel Semi-annual Channel in Group Policy Editor, the value Deferred will be set in the registry.

You should not use the new channel name references such as Targeted as a policy registry value; as of October 2017, the new values are not supported. If an invalid setting is used, Office will fall back to the default channel. You would see in the log “Invalid Group Policy Update Channel . Forcing update path to .” This may be why you are seeing different behavior with the Monthly Channel.

This table shows a good representation of the GPO values and their corresponding registry values: