Update 12 Sept - Rollout of Microsoft Office 2013 from 15 September


[12 September 2014]

Update, 12 September: Following a delay to the original plans for the rollout of Microsoft Office 2013 to staff computers we can now confirm that the update will be available again on staff managed Windows computers from Monday 15th September.

What you need to to if you have a desktop computer

From Monday 15th September Microsoft Office 2013 will be installed on desktop computers during the overnight service maintenance period, midnight to 6.00am. To allow this to happen staff must log off from the computer but leave the computer on at the end of the day (it will automatically go into sleep mode). Overnight the software will be installed and the computer restarted.

Please note that it may take several evenings for all computers to be done so until you receive Office 2013 you will need to repeat this process at the end of the day. To check if Microsoft Office 2013 has been installed open the start menu, select 'All Programs' and look for the 'Microsoft Office 2013' folder.

What you need to do if you have a laptop computer

Please note that updates will only apply when you are connected to the University network with a wired connection, University wireless service or using the Virtual Private Network (VPN).

From Monday 22nd September laptops will receive the update when you are connected to the University network, logged off and the laptop is on. Please note that there is no service maintenance window for laptops and the installation will happen the first time these conditions are met from Monday 22nd September.

Therefore, it is important that when you log off and keep your laptop on to install the software that you allow significant time for the update to install before either shutting down the laptop or logging back in. Our advice would be to do this overnight when the machine is not in use. Please ensure it is connected to the mains during this period.

It is important that laptop users connect to the network to maintain regular software updates. If you are unable to do so your current Office software will be unaffected. However, by upgrading Office we can be sure that other software supplied to the University will work, so that you will benefit from updated features in both Office and other software used in conjunction with Office.

Open access computers, remote desktop and teaching space

Open access machines will also be updated from Monday 15th September. The student remote desktop will be upgraded during the same period. The staff remote desktop will be upgraded over the next few weeks.

IT ZonalTeams will manage the rollout to lecture theatres and teaching spaces to tie inwith local needs.

Working with Office 2013

Following approval and testing by Communications and Marketing we plan to include University templates for Office documents including PowerPoint, Publisher and Word so they can be quickly accessed when creating a new document.

While there are some cosmetic changes to the look of Office 2013 it is set up in a very similar way to the current version of Office on staff computers. We do not anticipate that the majority of staff will encounter problems working with the new software. Information on any changes, including a link to Microsoft’s guidance on getting started with Office 2013, can be found on the IT Services’ website.

If you have any questions regarding this process please contact the IT Service Desk.

Update, 4 September: Following concerns over issues with the rollout of Microsoft Office 2013 there has been a delay in the original plans to ensure the installation works successfully. We now believe we have a reliable process and are conducting further tests before deploying to all.

A decision will be made on Monday 8th September regarding re-commencing the rollout to all staff computers.

If testing has been successful we will restart the rollout. Please note that the deployment will only take place overnight so staff are advised to logout of their computers but leave the machines on.

Open access machines will be updated shortly after we restart the rollout to staff computers. The student remote desktop will be upgraded during the same period. The staff remote desktop will be upgraded over the next few weeks.

IT Zonal Teams will manage the rollout to lecture theatres and teaching spaces to tie in with local needs.

Update 8 August: During the rollout we have identified that a small number of staff have encountered problems which mean that Word, and occasionally Excel or PowerPoint, fail to open.

As a precaution we are delaying the rollout and no computers will receive the update to Office 2013 this week.

We believe there are two possible, but unrelated, causes:

  1. The software was installing whilst a user was logged on. This did not fully remove old versions which then caused a conflict. In response we have now set the install to occur only when a user is logged off.
  2. Concern that a combination of Microsoft updates in addition to the original Office software and the standard amends needed to configure applications to our systems has resulted in a problem.

Zonal IT teams have been working on implementing fixes to resolve the problem on individual computers.

Currently we plan to identify a solution and continue the rollout to staff managed desktops from next week, 11th August.

We will be monitoring the situation closely and if problems have been resolved we will complete the rollout to lecture theatres, staff remote desktop, open access rooms and student remote desktop from 18th August.

Please note that Self-Service selection of Office 2013 will not be available during that period.  

In August we will be upgrading Microsoft's Office suite to Office 2013 on all managed computers, which includes staff and PGR University computers along with computers in study spaces and open access areas.

  • 4 August: Staff centrally managed computers and other teaching spaces
  • 11 August: Lecture theatres and staff remote desktop
  • 18 August: Open access rooms + Student remote desktop 

Further information is available on the IT website at:


Please note: Office 2013 provides convenient integration with the Microsoft cloud storage service OneDrive.  Please note that OneDrive accounts for staff have not been created as part of this installation. It is recommended that staff continue to store their University documents in the relevant departmental filestores or MyFiles service.