How to stop add-ins automatically re-installing after an Office 365 update.

I have opened Microsoft Word 2016 multiple times over past months using "Run as administrator" and clicked "Remove" on the following add-ins.

Add-ins Removed from Word
Despite manually removing the add-ins multiple times, I am constantly being frustrated by those add-ins re-installing themselves whenever Microsoft Office receives an update from Microsoft. I've noted this happen several times now and can't seem to find a way to prevent it from happening.

The same behaviour occurs in both Excel and Outlook - removed add-ins reinstall and reactivate themselves. Unsure of other Office applications as I rarely use more than the three discussed here.

Other add-ins in Outlook include WinZip Courier, Avast Antivirus Pluggin and others. There is no pattern relating to the add-ins themselves. If an add-in is available, upon recieving an update for Office 365, everything is re-installed after the update and re-activated.

Does anyone know how to stop this annoying behaviour once and for all? What am I missing?

Regards, Andrew
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Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The news is not good at all when I researched this. Is this Foxit PDF Creator?  Nothing else came up.

What issue do you have if you leave the add-ins installed?  

I have Office 2016 Subscription here and Adobe Acrobat DC V19. The add-ins in Word (Adobe plus a bunch more) are not causing any issues on two machines here or (so far as I know) at my clients.
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
Thanks for responding John.
The news is not good at all when I researched this. Is this Foxit PDF Creator?  Nothing else came up.
Indeed. I've done considerable research myself on this over the last several months and have come up short in finding any type of cause. It's not Foxit, but two (of several other) commercial PDF editing solutions I have purchased and installed on this box. The two in the included snapshot are Wondershare PDFelements Pro and PDF-XChange Editor Standard respectively.

If this was related to specific add-ins then it would be far easier (to my way of thinking) to find a cause, however, there is no pattern I've been able to nail down. As I mentioned, WinZip Courier is another culprit that is re-installed without any action by me in Outlook, along with the Dymo Labeller add-in. I have no recollections of this happening on past retail standalone Office installs - seems to be related to my Office 365 subscription every single time any update comes down.

What issue do you have if you leave the add-ins installed?

The add-ins tend to slow down the loading of all three apps. Word and Excel in particular. Removing or disabling the add-ins shaves almost 2 seconds off the load time from my SSD drive.

For completeness, I have also tried just disabling the add-ins rather than removing them. That just results in the re-enabling themseves whenever an update comes in. Removal results in them re-installing and re-enabling after any office updates. It's infuriating.

I have Office 2016 Subscription here and Adobe Acrobat DC V19. The add-ins in Word (Adobe plus a bunch more) are not causing any issues on two machines here or (so far as I know) at my clients.

I too have similar results with Adobe Acrobat X that I purchased and have installed as well. Its add-in does not re-install after updates. Nor do a couple of SysTools and Stellar PDF products that I've purchased and that also have available add-ins. They too stay gone once removed.

I'm at a loss to figure how an add-in can re-install without my installing it manually. And it always happens after any type of Office 365 update is downloaded and installed. Crazy behaviour that has got me beat :-/
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
See if possibly you can hide Office Word add-ins which was apparently an Office App (? news to me).  There is some interesting information in this article that may lead you down some positive road.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/hide-an-office-add-in-for-word-04a3d2ae-3fdb-49d1-9ed1-226e15b90a6d
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Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
There is some interesting information in this article that may lead you down some positive road.
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/hide-an-office-add-in-for-word-04a3d2ae-3fdb-49d1-9ed1-226e15b90a6d

Thanks, I hadn't come across that article with the search terms I was using and will definitely explore it.

At this point, I'm willing to try just about any suggestions.

Anyone else?
MaheshArchitectCommented:
You can try trick mentioned in below link to start office programs without addins
http://www.addbalance.com/word/addins.htm

I have not tested but it should work

Also you can uninstall those pdf or zip products and reinstall with caution so that unknowingly it won't install office addin
Shaun VermaakTechnical SpecialistCommented:
Also you can uninstall those pdf or zip products and reinstall with caution so that unknowingly it won't install office addin
I agree with this. When you install applications, hit Custom and select/unselect only the components you need
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
Thank you Mahesh, that's certainly helpful, however, it only deals with the problem on Microsoft Word. What of the same behaviour with Excel and Outlook?

I really need to find a permanent solution to stop this happening once and for all, across all Microsoft Office 365 apps. I personally consider it to be arrogant behaviour and a bug that needs to be squashed. To that end, if possible, I'd also like to understand how and why this occurs. From the number of searches I've done on the problem myself, I know I'm not the only one who has struck this issue.
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
@Shaun
Also you can uninstall those pdf or zip products and reinstall with caution so that unknowingly it won't install office addin

I agree with this. When you install applications, hit Custom and select/unselect only the components you need

That won't solve the problem unfortunately as installing without any add-in support is not possible with some of the apps. There is no option to deselect or not to install add-in related components in advanced/custom installs in all of the apps involved.

I have also considered trying to identify and delete the add-in related .dll or install related files to prevent the add-ins from being able to be re-installed, but I don't consider that to be a valid solution. Butchering an application's files so that another application doesn't install its add-in seems like a crazy way to solve the problem.

At the end of the day, if an add-in is removed from Office, it should stay removed and not be replaced by every little Office 365 update that gets installed. To me, that's idiotic behaviour and if Microsoft is indeed the cause, then there has to be a way to permanently stop it from happening.

A registry modification perhaps?

I'd just live with it if it only happened with major upgrades - like Office 2016 > 2019 or similar, but for it to happen with every little update that comes down for Microsoft Office 365 is ridiculous to say the very least.

I've become sick and tired of finding manually removed add-ins suddenly re-installed and needing to open Office apps as administrator to remove them all over again. Completely arrogant behaviour on Microsoft's update installer in my view.

Anyone else have any ideas?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I had an issue with this with Intel ProSet a couple years ago. ProSet would not work and there not any way to keep Windows 10 Driver Update from updating over and over again.

I opened a case with Intel by assuring them there was no way to go back to the working version. They gave me a beta driver that worked and fixed their production driver.

If the article I posted does not help then contact the vendors of the add-in products and explain what needs to be fixed. The problem is theirs rather than Windows Update which is here to stay.
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
The problem is theirs rather than Windows Update which is here to stay.

Interesting suggestion John. Given that (as an example) the Dymo Labeling software is not touched by me in any way when "Microsoft Office" receives an update, how would you qualify to point the blame on this occurrence at Dymo developers?

It's not their software that is re-installing the add-in back into Office - it's Office Update that's doing it. That much I've been able to determine. So how is the problem not with Microsoft?

I have my own ideas as to why this is happening, in that each update is being treated as a new install by Office and thus it is searching out available add-ins and thus installing and/or re-enabling them. If I'm right, then that behaviour is arrogant on Microsoft's part.

Office updates should respect configurations that were made in office before an update is installed and not reverse those preferences without permission of the machine owner. Do you disagree?

I do, however, acknowledge your point that I could approach the add-in app vendors and seek solutions that way, but that will do nothing to help resolve the problem for future apps I might install. I'm hoping that something far easier than trying to obtain support for 6 or 7 different application vendors, rather than just solve what I conceive to be the real problem, and that's with the behaviour of Microsoft's update installer so far as I can determine.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I understand, but software vendors must fall in line. After all software vendors put their software in the Microsoft catalog for download. They are not obliged to do this. Microsoft advises this if they can keep up. Many don't.

Always a discussion point at MVP Global Summits
Andrew LeniartIT Consultant & Freelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
As a Microsoft Certified Professional, I'd be grateful if you could find the time to bring this up in the support areas of Microsoft that I am not privy or have access to John. If this is the fault of the app developers, I would really like to know, so that I can bring up their shortcomings in as public a way as possible to give them the incentive to fall into line with their coding.

But I don't see it that way (at least not yet anyway) I'm more than happy to be corrected.

As it stands, I lay the blame squarely at Microsoft's feet for this behaviour. It would be the same as you spending hours modifying your Normal.dotm or NormalEmail.dotm templates, only to have them overwritten each time Office 365 received an update. I'm sure you wouldn't be overly impressed if that were to happen? It's a perfect analogy, no?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I will follow up in early March at the summit. The rules have changed and Microsoft has been clear about. Vendors have to keep up.

Conexant (my sound driver) has been very bad keeping up
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