I recently created a proof-of-concept on changing the Microsoft 365 Apps channel from Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Preview) to the Monthly Enterprise Channel or the Current Channel. The goal was to have rings of devices on all three channels. Since this is a Configuration Manager environment, this article only addresses making the changes using the Office Deployment Tool (ODT) and Configuration Manager. You can also accomplish this task through the following methods:

This article makes several assumptions:

  1. Configuration Manager manages the “Click-to-Run” workload.
  2. The scheduled task “Office Automatic Update 2.0” is enabled on the client devices.
  3. Configuration Manager deploys the Microsoft Apps updates. For information on how to configure Microsoft 365 Apps updates in Configuration Manager, see this site, Manage updates to Microsoft 365 Apps with Microsoft Configuration Manager – Deploy Office | Microsoft Learn.  
  4. The ability to create a Configuration Manager application and device collections is available.

Changing the channel comprises eight main steps.

  1. Remove any Group Policies that set the channel. The Group Policy setting will overwrite the channel configured by the ODT.
  2. Deploy the Microsoft 365 Apps updates for the desired channel to a collection. The Switch to Monthly Enterprise Channel with Configuration Manager – Deploy Office | Microsoft Learn article has detailed instructions on how to set up dynamic collections for the updates.
  3. Run the Office Deployment Tool (ODT) with an XML file configured for the new channel. Running setup updates the HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration CDNBaseUrl registry key to the new channel. It does not update the device to the latest version of Office.

Note: moving from a channel with a newer version of Office to a channel with an older version of Office is not supported.

  1. To force the policy settings on the device, delete the HKLM:\software\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Updates UpdateDetectionLastRunTime registry key. Skip this step if the channel does not need to be updated immediately.
  2. Run the “Office Automatic Updates 2.0” scheduled task. The task will detect the updated policy and update the assigned channel. When the channel changes, the HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration UpdateChannel, and the UpdateChannelChanged registry keys are updated.
  3. Wait for the next Software Update Deployment scan cycle to complete.  
  4. The Office updates start installing. The installation of the Office updates downloads the necessary files and performs the actual migration of the channel.  
  5. Verify the channel has changed in the Office app Account menu.
NOTE: if the Office version before the channel upgrade is the same as the new channel, the channel description in the Office App will not change. For example, in April 2023, the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Preview) and Monthly Enterprise Channel are identical. The description of the Office Channel stayed the same after the upgrade.

Step 1

Obtain the newest version of the Office Deployment Tool from Download Office Deployment Tool from Official Microsoft Download Center.  

Step 2

Extract the files in the Office Deployment Tool (ODT).

Step 3

Remove all the files, except the Setup.exe, from the extracted ODT files folder.

Step 4

Create a configuration XML document called NewChannel.xml for the new channel. Save this file in the same folder as the ODT setup.exe file.

For the Monthly Enterprise Channel:

     <Updates Channel="MonthlyEnterprise" />

For the Current Channel:

     <Updates Channel="Current" />

Step 5

Create a PowerShell script for the deployment. For example, the script below configures the new channel, removes the UpdateDetectionLastRunTime registry key to force the detection of the new channel and then triggers some Configuration Manager client actions.

Start-Process -FilePath .\Setup.exe -ArgumentList "/configure .\NewChannel.xml" -Wait
Remove-ItemProperty -Path HKLM:\software\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Updates -Name UpdateDetectionLastRunTime -Force
Get-ScheduledTask -TaskName "Office Auto*"|Start-ScheduledTask
#Trigger Hardware Inventory
#Trigger Software Update Deployment Evaluation

Step 6

Create an Application object to deploy the new configuration.  

Step 7

Create a collection of devices whose channels to migrate.

Step 8

Deploy the application object to the collection.

Step 9

After completing the Software Update Deployment Evaluation Cycle and installing the Office updates, the channel will migrate. In testing, the cycle may need to run two times for the updates to apply. The first scan cycle detected the update, and the second scan cycle installed the update.

Step 10

Open an Office application and review the Account menu. Verify the correct channel is listed.

I used the following sites for information on how to create the process

Change the Microsoft 365 Apps update channel for devices in your organization – Deploy Office | Microsoft Learn

Switch to Monthly Enterprise Channel with Configuration Manager – Deploy Office | Microsoft Learn

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