Back to the Future: Click-to-Run Woes Causing Customer Angst

Back to the Future: Click-to-Run Woes Causing Customer Angst

Since the imaginative invention of the time machine, folks have longed for the ability to go back in time for many reasons. For some, like shown in the Back to the Future movie series, one could travel forward, figure out the outcomes of sporting events, and then make successful and lucrative bets on sports teams. For others, it might be to go backwards in time to right a wrong to save all mankind, as portrayed in the Terminator movies. For others it might be to relive a moment in time with that special someone.

But, most agree that adjusting timelines, even on a small degree, could have severe consequences and that carelessness could result in a bleak future.

And, such, maybe is the case for the new Click-to-Run delivery technology for Office 365 and Office 2013.

On the surface, Click-to-Run is a great, new software installation and deployment technology. Media is streamed over the Internet and delivered for installation. There’s no need for physical media any longer. And, when updates to the applications are available, they update in the background, automatically, ensuring that Click-to-Run customers have the most updated software a long time before those who have chosen a different installation method.

But, unfortunately, as we’ve seen over the past few years, with each breakthrough technology, there eventually comes a few gotchas and drawbacks.

Click-to-Run has increasingly become a nightmare for some. The Microsoft TechNet forums have lit up occasionally with customers who have had Office 2013 or Office 365 installations either become corrupted, stop working due to Patch Tuesday updates, or just disappear from the computer completely. It’s strange that this new technology, meant to bring benefit, would act in such a way. And, even stranger is that the only solution, most times, is to uninstall and then reinstall the problematic software package.

And, that really takes us back almost a dozen years. In the beginning of software delivery, when a software product failed for whatever reason, the ultimate fix was to uninstall and reinstall. Then, along came Windows Installer (licensed by Microsoft from InstallShield, now Flexera) technology, which brought the valuable ability to “Repair” installations. Sure, this didn’t work every time, but it solved most problems most of the time. Application repair was a huge breakthrough, allowing end-users in the field to fix their own software glitches.

But, now, it seems, we’re back to the “good old days” where we’re forced to uninstall and reinstall applications again. It’s almost like we’ve traveled back in time, and accidentally chosen the wrong destination point. For those end-users in the field forced to figure out how to uninstall and reinstall their applications again, it’s not good.

A lot of the current woes are caused by new software updates, and we’ve seen a trail of such issues over the last couple years. I’ve detailed those whenever they arise, and if you go back through, here on WindowsITPro and then on, you can find hard evidence of this.

Sadly, the Click-to-Run issue continues to gain ground. Microsoft needs to get a handle on this as it’s causing a lot of worry for customers and causing even more distrust in the abilities of the Cloud.

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