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my organization has a windows 2016 server standard edition and i'm wondering how to go about adding a group policy to block office macros. I've seen a lot of other posts using user config > administrative templates > office 2016 > block macros, but my server does not have this admin template in its group policy.

The reason I'd like to do this is because we've been getting hit with spammed with documents that say please see attached and confirm, and the users are able to enable editing to run the macros. This in turns their machine basically into a spam bot, and will post that exact thing to any mail as a reply.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

  • So why can’t you add the administrator template? You will need to do that in order to accomplish what you want. This cannot be accomplished without installing the required template. – Ramhound Sep 4 '18 at 21:11
  • I've tried finding instructions on adding the template, but I can't find solid instructions on how to do so, or where to actually find it. I've looked all over the microsoft site, and just couldn't find any good instruction for someone who has never added the template or done anything like this before. I'm very much a novice and trying to work through it. – crshadow Sep 6 '18 at 17:03
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I've seen a lot of other posts using user config > administrative templates > office 2016 > block macros, but my server does not have this admin template in its group policy.

You need to install the Office 2016 Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) and Office Customization Tool on the Active Directory Domain Controller.

While you can individually add the required keys to block macros, if you create them for the current user, it would only apply to whichever user you were using. Using the group policy will disable them for all users, prevent all users from enabling macros unless they are an Administrator on the Active Directory domain.

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Console, right-click the Group Policy Object you want to configure and click Edit.

  2. In the Group Policy Management Editor, go to User Configuration.

  3. Click Administrative templates > Microsoft Word 2016 > Word options > Security Trust Center.

  4. Open the Block macros from running in Office files from the Internet setting to configure and enable it.

Source: New feature in Office 2016 can block macros and help prevent infection

  • Thank you for this, After playing with it a bit, I discovered that after installing the package from microsoft, that you have to copy the admx files into the %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions\ and the adml files into the EN-us folder that resides there. I appreciate the help! – crshadow Sep 11 '18 at 23:52
  • You really shouldn’t have to do that but whatever works. – Ramhound Sep 12 '18 at 0:42
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In Office 2016 Group Policy settings, there is an item "Block macros from running in Office files from the Internet".

This policy setting allows you to block macros from running in Office files that come from the Internet.

If you enable this policy setting, macros are blocked from running, even if "Enable all macros" is selected in the Macro Settings section of the Trust Center. Also, instead of having the choice to "Enable Content," users will receive a notification that macros are blocked from running. If the Office file is saved to a trusted location or was previously trusted by the user, macros will be allowed to run.

To configure it, we can create the following registry key on your server:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\office\16.0\word\security HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\office\16.0\excel\security HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\office\16.0\powerpoint\security

In each key listed above, create this value:

DWORD: blockcontentexecutionfrominternet

Value = 1

  • Thank you for this answer, will adding these keys configure just the server, or all users too? I'm sorry for my ignorance, i'm just new to this all. Like I mentioned on the previous comment, I'm not sure how to get the template installed, but will add those DWORDs to the registry. Hope to hear from you. – crshadow Sep 6 '18 at 17:06
  • @crshadow - See my answer. – Ramhound Sep 6 '18 at 17:49
  • You can either add the Office 2016 Administrative Template on local server or directly add registry keys to do it. – WinniL Sep 10 '18 at 10:20

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