Sunday, August 17, 2014

I hate Microsoft's Click-to-Run.

For the record, I hate Click-to-Run.

I bought Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Student Edition two years ago. Taking advantage of the diskless download bargain prices, I bought just the product key and downloaded the bits, direct from Microsoft.

The thing ran fine, as far as I can tell, until this morning. This morning I really, really needed to type up some meeting agendas in a hurry. First, when I tried to open Word, it was very slow. It flashed a dialogue box at me that said something about Click-to-Run, which I didn't remember installing or activating, and the only option on the dialogue box was "OK". SO I clicked OK.

Once I was inside Word, every time I tried to do anything like open a recent file, or Save As ..., a message balloon appeared on the status bar, saying: "Microsoft Office is installing the required upgrades" and "Your office application may be unresponsive during this blahblah."

It turns out that Click-to-Run is meant for users on a broadband network, to get constant, unattended upgrades of their software. This is Microsoft taking control of my computer again. It makes no sense for a "Home and Student" computer to have this feature enabled by default. A corporate or office computer, perhaps, where a broadband connection can be assumed, but not home or student.

And there's no way to disable Click-to-Run. If you installed the software by clicking on the Download button, you've got it. The alternative to Click-to-Run is to install Office using the old-fashioned MSI installation package, and allow Office to inform you once it knows an upgrade is available. But Microsoft has very carefully hidden the MSI package so it's difficult to find.

I am following the instructions on to delete my Click-to-Run version, but the MSI version is not there, in spite of what the instructions say.

If this doesn't work, and if I can't find an MSI package, I'm ready to dump MS Office and go with LibreOffice or OpenOffice. Microsoft loses again.

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