Overview of Click-to-Run for Office 365 setup architecture


Applies to: Office 365 ProPlus

Topic Last Modified: 2015-09-27

Provides information about the Click to Run for Office 365 setup process and design.

Audience: IT Professionals

Click-to-Run is a streaming and virtualization technology that is designed to significantly reduce the time that is required to download and use Office client products. Streaming allows users to begin to use a Click-to-Run product before the complete product is downloaded.

Click-to-Run for Office 365 products are based on core virtualization and streaming Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) technologies. Click-to-Run resources run in an isolated virtual environment on the local operating system.

Click-to-Run virtualization provides the following advantages:

  • Isolation of resources in a virtual environment allows for coexistence with earlier versions of Office, and improves the cleanup and restore processes.

  • Extension points to the computer are published so Office is more integrated. This allows for local add-ins to be integrated with the virtual environment.

  • Streaming helps improve performance. The Office package is divided and is uncompressed over time, which optimizes network bandwidth and CPU usage.

The Setup architecture information in this article also applies to retail versions of Click-to-Run products such as:

  • Office Home and Student 2013

  • Office Professional 2013

  • Office Home and Business 2013


Are you looking for help with installing Office with Office 365? You may be looking for Get started with Office 365 and Install Office with Office 365, which will help you learn how to set up and use Office 365 on your computer, phone, and tablet.

In this article:

Click-to-Run uses a multi-process framework to do the following:

  • Start an installation and perform core Click-to-Run tasks such as streaming and application start

  • Maintain state for the virtualized package

  • Initiate integration tasks

  • Monitor for updates

  • Provide an interface into the Click-to-Run platform

    Applications and processes use this interface to query for state and to communicate information.

A single executable program contains the logic that is required to initiate Click-to-Run streaming and application start processes. It includes all the components that are required to stream Click-to-Run packages.

Streaming of Office, a core component of the Click-to-Run infrastructure, allows for parts of the product to be prioritized, grouped into blocks, and delivered over time while the applications run. The streaming process is controlled by the streaming engine.

The streaming engine manages downloads of items in the streaming queue, prioritizes incoming streaming requests, determines whether to display streaming user interface, and publishes the downloaded information to the native file system. The streaming engine also maintains a streaming queue, a prioritized list of all the Office sources and components that are to be downloaded to the local cache to complete the installation or to fulfill on-demand requests that are generated by an application's runtime. Every Click-to-Run package has a default streaming queue prioritization at first. This prioritization may change dynamically in response to application use before the product is fully cached locally.

Click-to-Run for Office 365 resources are packaged similarly to the way standard Office 2013 Windows Installer resources are organized. Click-to-Run is the new standard. Language-neutral product resources are packaged into a single file that contains all the neutral resources. Language-specific resources are packaged into language-specific files such as en-us for English (United States) resources.

Administrators can use the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run to deploy a Click-to-Run product in multiple languages or they can install the product in each language from the Office 365 portal. For example, to install Office 365 ProPlus in English (en-us) and Japanese (ja-jp), administrators install both the en-us and ja-jp versions of Office 365 ProPlus. The Office Deployment Tool is a new downloadable tool for Click-to-Run that administrators can use to stage an on-premises deployment of Click-to-Run products, as described in Managing Click-to-Run Office 2013 Preview deployments and customization. End users can install Office 365 ProPlus in multiple languages from the Office 365 portal.

Click-to-Run for Office 365 is available in both 32- and 64-bit editions. The default is to install the 32-bit edition of Office because it provides the best compatibility with add-ins. No support is provided for side-by-side installations of 64-bit and 32-bit editions of Office. This includes across applications. For more information about 64-bit Office 2013, see 64-bit editions of Office 2013.

You can’t customize the installation location for Click-to-Run for Office 365 products, such as Office 365 ProPlus. Click-to-Run products are installed only on the system drive, which is typically drive C.

The installation location is always the Program Files\Microsoft Office 15 folder on the system drive. That’s the location regardless if you install the 32-bit or 64-bit edition of a Click-to-Run product, and regardless if you install on a 32-bit or 64-bit version of the operating system.

When Setup runs, it performs the following checks:

  1. Checks for existing 32- or 64-bit Office installations.

    When Setup runs from the x86 folder (32-bit), it checks for 64-bit Office applications. If no 64-bit Office applications are detected, Setup continues to install Office 2013 32-bit. If 64-bit Office applications are installed, an error message is displayed and Setup is blocked.

    When Setup runs from the x64 folder (64-bit), it checks for 32-bit Office installations. If no 32-bit Office installations are detected, Setup continues to install Office 64-bit. If 32-bit Office applications are installed, an error message informs users that they must first uninstall 32-bit Office applications if they want to install 64-bit Office. The error lists the installed 32-bit Office applications that Setup detects.

  2. Checks for operating system requirements.

    Office 2013 supports client computers that are running at least the Windows 7 operating system. Office 2013 doesn’t support Windows XP or Windows Vista.

  3. Checks for available disk space.

    Office 2013 client requires 3.0 gigabyte (GB) available disk space.

  4. Determines if other Office requirements are met.

Administrators who are deploying Click-to-Run for Office 365 products can download the Office Deployment Tool. It allows administrators to stage and deploy Click-to-Run for Office 365 sources from an on-premises location. This is useful in scenarios where administrators want to minimize the demand on the network or want to prevent users from installing software from the Internet because of corporate security requirements.

To enforce user software and computer settings for Click-to-Run for Office 365 (and Windows Installer-based Office installations), administrators use Group Policy.

By default, Click-to-Run for Office 365 installations are automatically updated. The automatic update process detects and downloads the new data in the background. The updates are installed in the background as soon as the download is completed. However, the installation may be postponed if a resource to be updated is being used by an Office application that is running. In such cases, the updates are automatically applied the next time that the application is cycled or when the application is started by the user.

The updates are kept as small as possible and they download only when changes are required to keep the installation up-to-date. This optimizes network bandwidth use. Updates occur only when the affected Office applications aren’t being used and they don’t require a computer restart.

A version of Office 365 ProPlus that includes each month's updates is available for download from Office 365. Administrators can turn off automatic updates to control which updated builds are deployed and when they are deployed. Monthly updates are recommended. However, some administrators may need additional time to test the updated build in their environment.

A monthly build is available for download from Office 365 for up to one year (12 months). After that, the build is no longer supported. Administrators should check that their Office 365 ProPlus installations use a supported build that contains updates within the last year.

Administrators can configure updates behavior by using the Configuration.xml file for Click-to-Run. The following Updates element attributes are available:

  • Enabled   If set to TRUE, Click-to-Run will automatically detect, download, and install updates. This is the default. If Enabled is set to FALSE, Office won’t check for updates and will remain at the installed version.

  • UpdatePath   Can be used to specify a network, local, or HTTP path for a Click-to-Run installation source to use for updates. If UpdatePath isn’t set, or is set to special value “default”, the Microsoft Click-to-Run source on the Internet will be used.

  • TargetVersion   Can be set to a Click-to-Run for Office 365 product build number, for example, When the version is set, Click-to-Run for Office 365 attempts to update to the specified version in the next update cycle. If TargetVersion isn’t set or is set to special value "default," Click-to-Run for Office 365 updates to the latest version advertised at the Click-to-Run source.

For information about Configuration.xml syntax, see Reference for Click-to-Run configuration.xml file.