After this most recent Patch Tuesday (June 2014), there are a growing number of Office 2013 users who have issues where none of the Office 2013 Suite applications will run.

Microsoft has stated that the issue affects less than 1% of Office 2013 customers, but that number may end up being much less than gets reported in the next week. As soon as the patches rolled out and began installing, the first reports were lobbed through the Patch Management email discussion list. The list is a popular resource used to identify issues with updates and is usually one of the first locations to hear about potential problems.

Throughout the week, many reports rolled in with customers facing the same issue, and the problem was identified to be reproducible.

The issue seems to affect only certain versions of Office 2013 that utilize Click-to-Run installation technology. Click-to-Run is Microsoft’s latest technology for delivering software and software updates automatically from the Cloud.

The actual problem seems to be that those with Click-to-Run provided installations should not have accepted updates from Windows Update because it breaks the auto-update functionality, and makes Office 2013 think it’s not a Click-to-Run version. Office updates from Windows Update should only be installed on those installations that were performed using Microsoft’s legacy installation methods, i.e., manually installed using the old Windows Installer technology – which is pretty standard practice for most companies with centralized software delivery mechanisms in place.

Microsoft should take some blame for the issue, since the Office 2013 updates that were provided did not first work to determine the Office 2013 version installed. It should be pretty simple to identify how Office 2013 was originally installed (Click-to-Run vs. Windows Installer) and only install if the specific criteria is met. Organizations that deploy and manage updates from a central point, should have the ability to inventory for installation types and deliver only to those that meet the filtered criteria. Those without software delivery mechanisms and policies, will have to be extra careful.

For those customers experiencing the problem, Microsoft is providing steps to fix Office 2013, but the steps basically require a reinstallation of Office 2013.

The following steps are detailed in a Microsoft forum post:

Shortly after the release of the June 2014 Public Update, we received notification of a potential issue affecting a subset of Office 2013 users. In some cases, users running Office 2013 may not be able to launch Office products after the June Public updates are installed. In order to fix it, first, uninstall Office using the fix it: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2739501/en-us , then reinstall Office from the My Accounts page.

Note, be sure to have your Microsoft Account and password you used to redeem and install Office. 

Obviously, the fix is a lot of work, and customers have already expressed disappointment in Microsoft – some rather vehemently.