Office 2016 Nag message about default file associations

Just in case someone else encounters this problem:
Keep in mind this is probably only useful for fellow IT gurus running shared environments.

I have a small lab of PCs with Office 2016 installed (msi, not C2R). The lab is mainly used by students and so the usual restrictions are applied (by GPO). When I initially installed it, I tested with an admin account and with accounts that are already on the PC and all was well.

I’ve since done my usual routine of cleaning off the user profiles and low and behold the non-admin accounts I tested no longer work correctly: I’m getting a message for every new user that logs in saying ‘Word 2016 is not your default program, do you want to set them?’. Obviously this isn’t an issue if we’re only having one user on the computer, but this is a lab so it will have many users and I really don’t want them to come to me every time asking if they should answer yes or no.

The solution: Deploy a registry key (via GPO) which will tell the offending Office Apps to not display the message.

Here’s the process I used:

  1. Create a group policy object which will apply to the users we need to (not computers unfortuately it’s per-user).
  2. Edit User Configuration under Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Registry
  3. Add a new registry item
  4. Use the Update action and set the Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
  5. For Word, set the Key Path to SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Options
    For Excel, set the Key Path to SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Options
    For PowerPoint, set the Key Path to SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Options
  6. Change Value name to AlertIfNotDefault
  7. Set the Value type to REG_DWORD
  8. Put 0 in the Value data
  9. Now make sure that this policy will apply to your users and you should be good to go! It might also be a good idea to go into the Common tab up the top and set it to Apply once and do not reapply just for performance sake.

I hope that helps someone out there, I presume it will work on other versions as well? No idea.

Windows 8 Release Preview

Considering Microsoft have now announced Windows 8 will be released in October, I figure it’s high time I actually try using Windows 8 as an everyday machine.

To give it the best chance, I’ve put it on an SSD (only a 60GB OCZ Vertex Plus but it does the job) on my Dell XPS M1530 laptop.

So to use it as a main OS I figure I will need all the usual apps I use, again to be fair I installed most of the apps I use in Windows 7 regularly.
Thus far I have Microsoft Office 2013 preview, Thunderbird, Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium, Firefox, Winamp and a few other knick-knacks.

All installed without issue and none of then needed any compatibility options, which wasn’t really a surprise considering Windows 8 is relatively unchanged on the normal desktop side of things.

The new Office installer was really weird in that you can actually start using it before it’s finished; somehow it streams in the files it needs whilst it’s running.

Adobe CS6 installed without a hitch and it works as intended. Ive done some basic image editing in Photoshop and HTML editing in Dreamweaver, all seems to be working as it did in Windows 7.

On the Windows side of things, frankly, I cannot stand the new Metro interface. I’ve tried and tried over again to get used to it, but I’m pretty sure it will never happen.
It’s clunky, it’s discontinuous, unintuitive, and VERY confusing!

I understand that we have more than 15 years of the ‘Start’ button and menu to overcome, but I’m pretty sure this goes beyond that. It’s just sheer lunacy in my opinion; Metro doesn’t make sense!

The worst ‘feature’ of Windows 8 is the Shutdown menu, or lack thereof. It still takes me more than 10 seconds to figure it out. In the end I found it easier to simply ALT-F4 everything until the Shutdown menu appears

Other than that there are a few nice things such as

  • the much more detailed file transfer dialog
  • The task manager is much more detailed
    • It now includes network and disk i/o per app
    • It has startup apps included now (instead of in msconfig)