In some training lab, I need to create some scripts to automate the Outlook 2016 e-mail client configuration in some cloud deployments (done from the same template), so, the users will log on their Windows 7 and will have a generic student emails already configured in their Outlook 2016.

Alternatively, Ansible is also an option, although I could not find a way to do that using it.

There is no Exchange, just an e-mail server is another local VM, already configured, that will be deployed also before each training (so, reused, but clean mail accounts).

I was trying to use Office Customization Tool with Outlook .prf profiles (as shown in this local thread, nice, but not valid anymore since the Office 2016 release), but it looks like in v. 2016 this is not supported anymore in favour of Exchange Autodiscover, according to this thread:

"you can still use a PRF for your on-premises environments and Outlook 2013 or earlier versions".

But for Outlook 2016, PRF is no longer supported due to the changes to how Exchange Autodiscover information is stored in parallel with an Outlook profile.

Also here:

"PRF files do not work and are no longer needed in Outlook 2016 because accounts should be configured automatically in the account wizard when you use AutoDiscover."

Does someone know a way to automate the Outlook 2016 e-mail account configuration during the user first login, please?


I haven’t seen any official reports about Office Customization Tool is not valid for Office 2016. You can see this official article: Overview of the Office Customization Tool

Besides, I found this similar thread. We can deploy profiles using registry.

  • Thanks for the comment, I will try. Also, it helped to see that I had explained it wrong, and I corrected it now: automation using the Office Customization Tool to generate .prf files is what does not work anymore, as Outlook 2016 does not support PRF files, in favour of AutoDiscover. The OCT itself it works, but just to deploy the software, not to configure the user accounts. Cheers – xCovelus Apr 4 '19 at 9:36
  • Yes. PRF files was not supported. Profiles settings seems to be not included in the xml file. Can you deploy the profile registry key via GPO? – Perry Apr 5 '19 at 6:16
  • Thanks, I will try that – xCovelus Apr 5 '19 at 11:39
  • It kind of works, although it still asks for the mail server password during program startup... but much better than what I had. Thanks a lot – xCovelus Apr 5 '19 at 12:33

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