Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard won’t launch

I recently ran into a bizarre problem with the Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard, and solved it after a bit of trial and error. Hopefully this article will be a useful breadcrumb for future hybridizers.

The HCW used to be a standalone Windows executable that you’d download. The Office 365 team (hi, Tim Heeney!) made the wise decision to turn it into a Click-To-Run (C2R) executable. The biggest benefit to using C2R is that whenever you click the link (which downloads the application’s manifest file) you get the latest version of the HCW, streamed directly to you from Microsoft’s servers. This ensures that everyone always gets the most up-to-date version, but it also introduces a few potential stumbling blocks.

C2R application manifests aren’t executable themselves; they’re just XML files that provide some metadata about the application. With that said, on a properly configured Windows box, as soon as you download the manifest, the C2R helper application does its thing; it reads the manifest, streams the application, and launches it.

In my Exchange 2016 lab, that’s not what was happening. When I clicked on the HCW link in Internet Explorer, the little “Scanning..” infobar would flash across the bottom of the window, but that was it. Same thing in Chrome. Downloading the HCW manually using the Start-BitsTransfer PowerShell cmdlet got me the manifest file, but it couldn’t be launched. Of course, since the C2R launcher itself wasn’t launching, there were no log files to use to troubleshoot the problem. By contrast, when I downloaded the HCW onto my Windows 10 desktop, it would fail because I didn’t have the right prerequisites installed, leaving me a log file full of juicy details. All of the machines in my lab had the same problem, perhaps not surprising since they were built from the same Amazon Web Services AMI.

I spent some time doing the usual things: trolling the TechNet forums, searching random posts by people who had problems with the HCW (all of which were problems with what it did after launch, not problems getting it launched), and asking my smart MVP friends. Nada.

Then I had a hunch and opened the Default Programs control panel. For the “.application” file type, this is what I saw:

Looks plausible, but it’s totally wrong

I changed the “.application” file type to be opened with Internet Explorer. Then I went back to the HCW link, clicked it, and was rewarded with a properly functioning copy of the HCW. Filed for future reference…


Filed under General Tech Stuff, UC&C

16 responses to “Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard won’t launch

  1. Exellent just what I was after!

  2. Jens

    Thanks! Just had the same problem!

  3. Timo

    Thanks! Same Problem!

  4. pjh64

    How do you change the file type to open with IE? Won’t give me that option on Windows 10 – only the default launcher or Windows Store (which doesn’t contain IE).

    Microsoft really trying me in knots. Not for the first time.

    • pjh64

      Ok – never mind. Solved the file association, but not the problem.

      Must be something else.

  5. sss

    you just saved my a**

  6. ZubrRm

    thank you!

  7. Boy

    good, fixed for me

  8. Rocus

    Thanks, This worked for me as well. :):)

  9. Moch

    I was unable to change the file association to open with ID. However, by setting IE back to the default browser on the Windows 2016 Server, I was then able to start the hybrid wizard as expected.

  10. John Lee

    Thanks a lot Paul.
    However, to change file association, I have to do the following (albeit clumsy):
    1) Go to a Windows 10 machine and download the file
    2) Copy the file Microsoft.Online.CSE.Hybrid.Client.application to the Windows Server machine
    3) On the Windows Server machine, go to File Explorer and right-click select the Properties and click Change to change the file association.

    Hope someone can suggest an easier way!

  11. Pdiddy

    I fixed it by installing Edge launching the app wizard. Then i went back to IE click it again and it prompted me how to open the app i selected IE and it went through

  12. Lee

    Thank you so much, this did the trick!

  13. Pingback: Office 365 Hybrid Wizard Won’t Launch | @RandomGrep

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  15. Vipin Chenthamara

    Still works in 2022. Thank you.

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