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Change of policy on update channel in Microsoft 365 causing issues in Word

We have been finding that changes rolled out in the Current channel have been causing problems in the way Word handles a task or routine. Our challenge is that it is affecting existing routines that are robust and stable. When we raised the issue with Microsoft they advised us to use the Semi-Annual Channel as it would be more stable than the current channel.

In this message they are now saying the default will be to put users on the Current channel. Sadly we think we will see more problems and bugs with this change in approach.

This is the message they released on 1st Feb 2021:

End-users to be shown message to let them change their update channel for Microsoft 365 Apps to Current Channel

When Office 365 ProPlus (now Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise) initially released, the default update channel was Semi-Annual Channel. On June 9, 2020, Microsoft changed the default update channel for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise to Current Channel. Key Points: Timing: February 28, 2021 Action: Review and assess How this will affect your organization: Starting February 28, 2021, on unmanaged devices on Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Version 2008 or later), users who are local administrators on their device will receive a message in Office encouraging them to switch to Current Channel in order to receive feature updates sooner. If the user clicks on the update button within the message, the Office installation on their device will switch to Current Channel. The new message is intended for users who installed Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise prior to June 9, 2020 who may not be aware they can receive new features on a faster cadence and whose devices are not managed by an administrator.

If you manage your installations of Microsoft 365 Apps, for example by using Group Policy or Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, your users won’t be affected by this change and won’t see this message. Devices not running Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Version 2008 or later) also won’t be affected. Note: This screenshot is an example of the message your end-users will see, final content may change. What you can do to prepare: You may consider notifying your users and updating training and documentation as appropriate. If you want your users to receive feature updates sooner, you can modify your update channel preference by signing into the Microsoft 365 admin center and going to Settings Org Settings > Services Office installation options. You can also change the update channel with Group Policy. If you want to prevent unmanaged users from receiving this message, you can set a policy for these users using the Office cloud policy service. If any Office cloud policy is set for a user, they are considered managed and won’t receive this message. There isn’t a specific policy to opt-out, so setting any policy is sufficient. For example, enabling or disabling “Disable First Run Movie”. To learn more about the Office cloud policy service, see overview of the Office cloud policy service. Resources: For an overview of update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps, see Overview of update channels. For update history of Microsoft 365 Apps, see Update history for Microsoft 365 Apps.

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