Office 2016 Install – “We need to remove some older apps”

Office 2016 was made available today to the Office 365 subscribers running on PC – it has been available to Mac users since July. However the installation might not go as smoothly as you would expect, especially if you have some older non-365 Office type applications installed

“We need to remove some older apps”

If you’re reading this you’ve probably already download the installer and have noticed a scary warning when starting the install: “We need to remove some older apps”.

Office 2016 Install - We need to remove some older apps

If you haven’t see this warning yet here’s the deal. Apparently some older apps, such as Visio Professional 2013 and Skype for Business 2015 don’t work with Office 2016. If you continue the installation, these “incompatible” apps will be removed and you won’t be able to install the old version again.

What now?

Microsoft’s official support on the matter is here:

This seems to mostly apply to Visio Professional 2013. However this morning I have seen a case where Skype and OneDrive must also be removed. Worse, you are not able to reinstall them following the upgrade. Further more, once you’ve upgraded, how do you go back to Office 2013?

In my case, I was able to install Visio 2016 as I am licensed through Office 365. What about users who are not, and purchased a retail copy of Visio 2013 in the past? Have Microsoft really forced those users to either or re-purchase Visio or miss out on Office 2016? Also, will Microsoft force Office 2013 users to upgrade to 2016 at some point, based on the Office 365 subscription model?

(Update: It seems Microsoft will start pushing updates in October via Windows Update – optionally, however users will have one year to update. Read this ZDNet article about the new rules for the rollout and this Microsoft article for administrators: Prepare to update Office 365 ProPlus)

There are some questions which need answering here. I currently have a support case open with Microsoft specifically around the Skype/Onedrive issue. They have informed me that no-one else has reported this and will get back to me in the next 24 hours with a solution. I will of course update here with the solution when I hear back.

Update: Microsoft confirmed an issue with Skype for Business

Microsoft have responded to my support case around Skype for Business. In brief, Skype for Business is not bundled with Office 2016 and is installed separately, however, the link they provide to install Skype for Business gives you the installer for the 2015 version, which is not compatible with Office 2016. This is their mistake, they are currently looking to update the link to provide the version compatible with 2016.

They have provided a workaround to get the newest Skype installed until they have fixed the link routing, available here:

Here is their response in full:

Current Status: Engineers have validated the solution will mitigate user impact and will be initiating the fix deployment process.

User Experience: Affected users who have upgraded to Office 2016 are unable to install Skype for Business 2016. The Skype for Business 2016 installation URL located on the Office 365 homepage is not routing affected users to the newest version of Skype for Business. As a result, some users may receive the error message: “We have detected that you have a newer version of Office installed on your device. If you want to install an older version of Office, please remove these newer products and try again.”

As a workaround, the affected users can download the Skype for Business 2016 client at

Customer Impact: Impact is isolated to customers who have purchased an Office 365 business Premium subscription and have upgraded to Office 2016. Analysis indicates that the scope of customers experiencing impact appears to be very limited with only a few customers reporting the issue.

How did your Office 2016 upgrade go? If anyone else has had similar issues, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Deploy multiple VMs from template with PowerCLI

Deploy multiple VMs from templateI frequently need to deploy multiple VMs from a template in large numbers, most often a bunch of Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop servers following an update to the gold image. Without an automated method deployment can become a headache and would take days to deploy multiple VMs, especially when taking into account the post-deploy tasks such as activating Windows, activating Office, installing Citrix, putting the computer into the right OU etc.

Rather than consuming large amounts of paracetamol I have written a (fairly long) PowerCLI script to remove as many of the manual and mundane tasks as I could. In this blog post I am going to run through the script and explain how it works. You may download the complete script and use it “out-the-box” or make your own modifications, otherwise read on to understand how I deploy multiple VMs from template using PowerCLI. Continue reading

EqualLogic VMware iSCSI Setup – Part 3: PowerConnect Configuration

PowerConnect 7048 SwitchSo, recently I configured a set of PowerConnect 7048 switches for iSCSI following all the standards and best practices I could find. Actually I had prepared the PowerConnect iSCSI configuration a few months ago, I have been waiting for the Dell experts to confirm the configuration is current best practice and fit for our environment.

Configuring any PowerConnect model is a very similar process, however you must check the switch documentation you downloaded from the portal on part 1 of this guide – there may be a few minor differences. I will note now that PowerConnect 5524/5548 switches are not approved for use in an iSCSI environment and that iSCSI Optimisation should actually be disabled on these switches. Continue reading

EqualLogic VMware iSCSI Setup – Part 2: Network Configuration

SAN LAN Network

The EqualLogic iSCSI network consists of the switches, EqualLogic arrays and ESX hosts, all of which need configuring properly to make the most of each others load balancing, performance and availability features. In terms of the network fabric, there are a few things we need to consider:

  1. High availability – multiple links and switches to provide redundancy
  2. Performance – elimination of bottlenecks
  3. Management – monitoring and management network

This guide can apply to a range of hardware as long as we are using EqualLogic arrays and VMware ESX/ESXi hosts. The switches can be Dell or Cisco for example, as long as they are on the Dell Approved Hardware list. The hardware I used when making this guide is as follows:

  • 2 x PowerConnect 7048
  • 6 x PowerEdge R710
  • 2 x EqualLogic PS6000

Here is some brief detail about my hardware specifications, and how I put the key design considerations mentioned earlier into practice when configuring each component. Continue reading

Veeam Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer’s data.

Backup job failed

Backup job failed

Occasionally one of our Veeam backup jobs will fail and most of the time it is due to shadow copy or VSS writer issue which a simple reboot will resolve, this solution has become our default answer to a failed backup with an error mentioning the words “shadow copy” or “VSS”. One of our SQL servers had a failed backup last night and gave us the error “Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer’s data”, here is the full error message:

Failed to prepare guest for hot backup. Error: VSSControl: -2147467259 Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer’s data. VSS asynchronous operation is not completed. Operation: [Shadow copies commit]. Code: [0x8004231f].
Error: VSSControl: -2147467259 Backup job failed. Cannot create a shadow copy of the volumes containing writer’s data. VSS asynchronous operation is not completed. Operation: [Shadow copies commit]. Code: [0x8004231f].

Continue reading

EqualLogic VMware iSCSI Setup – Part 1: Preparation

Dell VMwareEqualLogic VMware iSCSI setup best practices have gone through many changes recently, fortunately Dell and VMware seem to have partnered well and made some good improvements towards the integration of their products. Development may well settle down now along with the release of ESXi 5.0/5.1 and Dell’s own Multipathing Extension Module (MEM) available to those with Enterprise vSphere licencing.

There is a lot of documentation – whitepapers, manuals and blog posts on the topic of iSCSI setup which can become overwhelming quite quickly.The setup is actually really simple with the correct up to date documentation to hand. The entire process of the SAN network installation can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. SAN fabric design
  2. Switch configuration
  3. Array configuration
  4. Host configuration
  5. Monitoring

Continue reading