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.

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

  1. One of my clients is having the same problem with OneDrive and Skype for Business. I was able to get OneDrive to work again by doing an Online Repair but Skype for Business is still unavailable.

    • Hi Izaar,

      Thanks for commenting on your experience, I have just updated the article with the most recent word from MS which provides a link to download a compatible Skype for Business client – see above.


  2. I am both an Office 365 subscriber and an owner of licenses for Project Pro 2013 and Visio Pro 2013. I pay for Office 365 so I can get the latest version of Office. But the combined cost of new Project Pro and Visio Pro licenses exceeds $1600 in the Microsoft Store.

    The link you provide to “Microsoft’s official support on the matter” leads to a page which refers Home Office 365 users to the infamous “Answer Desk.” As has always been my experience, the Answer Desk couldn’t give me an answer as to what I am to do.

    Microsoft’s web page at includes logos for Project and Visio among the other applications in the Office suite. But does that mean that Project and Visio will be installed if I allow Office 2016 to uninstall my 2013 versions? Nobody seems to know.

    Harry, you said you were able to install Visio 2016 as part of your Office 365 license. How is it that your Office 365 license includes Visio?

    • Hi Mark,

      Sadly I am still searching for answers about getting Retail versions of Project and Visio Pro installed along-side Office 2016 – it almost seems to be by design that they do not allow these apps to be installed together.

      As for 365 licensing, you can add Project and Visio licenses to your Office 365 tenancy – if you head to your Office 365 administration portal, on the left side menu click Purchase Services. In here you will find subscriptions to:

      – Visio Pro for Office 365
      – Project Pro for Office 365

      Of course, purchasing a subscription license for these products allows you access to the latest 2016 versions which will install along-side the Office 2016 suite.

      I know this isn’t the answer your looking for and whether you will ever be able to install Visio/Project Pro 2013 alongside Office 2016 is currently unknown to me – if I find out I’ll send you another reply.


  3. HI,
    I have the issue with not being able to install Visio 2013 Pro now that I have upgraded to Office 2016. MS need to come up with a solution, I am not prepared to run Visio2013 in a VM just to get around this hurdle.

    • Neither are most people prepared to purchase a 2016 Visio subscription when they own a retail full license of 2013 Pro!

      It certainly seems a little unfair!


  4. We have 23 users with retail office 2013 home & business and project pro Office 365. Now that we go to install project on 3 of the new laptops it tells me i need to uninstall Office 2013…..

    No way i am upgrading 23 users to Office 2016 to make it compatible with project pro.


  5. Wtf! I just bought Office 2013 as a retail version.
    Then I needed MS Project and bought this as well – version 2016. Now when I need to install it it wants to remove my Office 2013 since is incompatible? It wants to remove my Skype for Business 2015 as well. Do I need to buy another license to get this working? This is bull****.

  6. I’m in the same position – Visio 2013 has been forcibly removed from my computer on which I installed Office 2016, I can’t reinstall it and there appears to be no alternative but to buy Visio Pro 2016 at full price – which I’m not going to do – or subscribe to it on top of my existing Office 365 subscription, at a price almost equal to what I’m paying for that subscription now! Crazy. OK – can anyone recommend a competitive replacement for Visio?

  7. Hi,

    My customer had a problem when they installed skype for business from office 365 business premium. It uninstalled the whole Office and one drive. I think this is huge mistake from Microsoft. How they can let through this kind of bug. Also this “We need to remove some older apps” is very very very similar than “We need to close some apps” dialog. I think there will be lots of unintended program uninstalls with these dialogs.

  8. Hi,
    Same here. I have Visio 2013 retail and also Office365 Home. I broke off the office 2016 upgrade after receiving this ‘nice’ warning. MS website offered nothing more than “Buy Visio 2016”. OK, I might install Visio 2013 on a second PC (or pay 600 EUR for Visio 2016 retail = 6 years of office365 subscriptions). In my opinion that qualifies more as Robbery, not as a “solution”.

  9. I have the same problem here, when I got a new Office 365 Licence on a computer that had VISIO 2013 installed.

    After 56 minutes with the Microsoft Hotline I was introduced to a way of installing the “old” office 2013 version on that PC using the deployment tool. Here in Germany the offical statement from business customer support is, that they will make the office 2013 available for those customers with a VISIO 2013 or PROJECT 2013 installation, but there will be definitly no way to upgrade to 2016 in future – we are simply stuck on office 2013 or force to upgrade all other Microsoft products as well.

    Very disappointing kind of customer service.

  10. We are seeing the same issue. Unable to install Project 2016 on workstations that have Office 2013 installed. Microsoft support stated that we needed to upgrade to Office 2016. That’s not going to happen anytime soon.

  11. I have Office 365 also. I recently got a new computer and when I installed Office from the web it was 2016. Then I tried to install Project 2013 it gave me the message that a later version of Office was already installed and to install the 2013 version I would have to uninstall the 2016 version first. Then I called Microsoft customer support I got an idiot that would only tell me that it was a known problem and would have to be elevated to the next tier support. They must be trying to get people to have to buy the new versions of Project and Visio. Great marketing scam!

  12. We realized the same as Josh above. Our customer bought his Office 2013 H&B license in September and Project 2016 in October. After endless telephone calls with Microsoft partner support, they admitted to give away two product keys for Office 2016 H&B.
    However, this was an isolated case, and I believe there are thousands of smilar cases out there.
    Microsoft should really find a general solution to this.

  13. Hi there,

    I also installed Office 2016, only to see that Project Pro 2013 was gone. OTOH, Visio Pro 2013 remained intact.
    I tried to re-install Project Pro 2013 after Office 2016 and – strangely enough – it worked.
    I now have everything in place (please note 32-bit versions).
    Can anyone else confirm ?

  14. I have the opposite issue. i downloaded Visio 2016 Professional and all of my Office 2013 products were removed. No icons, programs list, etc… Tried running the office2015.exe and I get an error that a newer office 2016 product is installed on my computer and it will not load. Not happy after spending $600 for Visio 2016 Pro. Do I upgrade to Office 2016 now as the only fix to keep Visio 2015 Pro? Running WIndows 7 Pro on 2015 Dell. Thx!

  15. Yeah, I had microsoft office 2013 installed on my computer, but I needed visio 2016 for a school project. After downloading it, it removed all of my old office programs (word, powerpoint, excel, access) . Windows Recovery didn’t work in undoing it. I thought it was telling me it had to close apps, not uninstall. They look almost identical. When I called them they said I’ll just have to buy office 2016 now.

    FUCK microsoft. This is a fucking mob tactic. You steal something, then make me pay to get it back.

  16. Please – Does anyone know if Access 2015 work with o365 2016 or indeed earlier versions like Access 2007 or 2010….
    Or do the subscribers who have had Access ripped out of their subscriptions without any consultation get a free upgrade to Access 2016

  17. Any further news on this? i have a user who has office 2013 installed (home and business) and i recently bought visio 2016 for her, i cannot install 2016 as it says it’s going to uninstall office 2013. (same wording as the error above) … very interested to know how people are getting around this.

  18. DISASTER! I have just installed Project Professional 2016 on my laptop and also received the ‘remove older apps’ message. I continued only to discover these older app were actually the WHOLE of Office 2013. All applications deleted – word, excel, PowerPoint, outlook. The only things that has survived is Visio (odd considering the experiences others have reported). I am now more than a little distraught as I’ve now lost all my access to mail and will now need to get hold of a copy of either Office 2016 or delete project and try and find my old copy of office with install codes. I think MS are now on par with iTunes as the worst offenders in the industry.

  19. Not everyone is clear about whether they are using 365 Click to Run or MSI installers. I also notice that many people are referring to Office ProPlus having these types of issues, but no one says Office Professional Plus (which is volume licensed).

    I read this problem plagues Office 365, but not so much the Office Volume License\MSI version.

    Can anyone clarify if they have problems when strictly using MSI installers?


  20. Similar issue where I have Office 365 and standalone Access 2013 and can’t upgrade Office.

    After hours hopping between MS departments and being on hold I finally used the Billing and Accounts chat service. Sent link to error message that talks of free upgrades and got upgrade form Access 2013 to 2016.

    Now problem is a catch 22 in neither product will upgrade with removing the other? Has anyone had any success upgrading to 2016 products?

  21. We have just updated our PC with Office2016 and when we are using Office 365 business essentials. Now, when we try to sync sharepoint on PC it says you have One Drive for Business 2013, and can’t sync.

    But One Drive For Business works fine if I uninstalled Office2016. So, is there a way to make One Drive for Business working with Office2016?

    Looking for some help.

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