Office 2010: How are you going to deploy it?

Dec
10
2009

The Office 2010 deployment story using Group Policy doesn’t get any better than Office 2007. You could argue it gets worse. There is no longer any possible way to deploy Office 2007 via Group Policy (outside of 3rd party tools like Specops Deploy.)

I found this plucky little document entitled “Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010″ found here http://tinyurl.com/yfredq2.

In short, there’s a PDF, Visio and XPS document showing Microsoft’s sanctioned ways to deploy Office. Yes, Group Policy is on the list, but it’s the same way as Office 2007: Group Policy using Startup Scripts.

Just for fun, I tried deploying Office 2010 using Group Policy Software Installation. No dice. There’s a single error message in the event log with a non-obvious message about the failure.

Great.

So, here are the official steps (which will work for both Office 2007 and Office 2010). This is my suggested method for deploying, since the other options are spendy.. (click MORE) to read the answer.

Step 1: Create a config.xml File
We saw the Office 2007 version of this earlier. It’s the same idea in Office 2010. It’s used when clients initially install Office 2010. You can set the installation to be silent, for instance.
At last check the Config.xml file for Office 2010 was documented here… Shortened to http://tinyurl.com/ye4sorx.

Step 2: Create a Custom MSP File
Like Office 2007, the Office 2010 config.xml file in Step 1 can only take us so far. Again, to create more Office simply run setup.exe /admin, and-voila!-the Office 2010 customization tool.
At last check the Office Customization Tool (OCT) can be found here: Shortened to http://tinyurl.com/ybtkxen
Again, it produces .MSP files.

Step 3: Place your MSP in the “Updates” folder
At installation time, you can have clients embrace the customizations you set in Step 2. Simply put the MSP file in the “Updates” folder on the network installation point of Office.

Step 4: Use Startup Scripts to Deploy Office 2007 or Office 2010
Use this suggested start up script to kick off you Office 2007 or Office 2010 installation: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=94264
You can use the script to ensure that you’re selecting the proper config.xml file you created in Step 1.

Optional: Re-Patch Your Target Machines
You can always create a specific MSP file for a specific machine or two using the OCT. For instance, maybe you just want one or two machines to not have Microsoft Access 2010.
After creating the MSP file, use the information about msiexec /p I detailed in the section “Using MSIEXEC to Patch a Distribution Point” in my book.

Except you don’t update the distribution point. Instead, you patch the specific machines, individually.

You’ll likely need another startup script to figure this out if you want to target specific machines.

If you’ve found a creative way to work around these Office 2007 or Office 2010 issues, I want to hear about it. Be sure to e-mail me and let me know your best techniques for deploying a customized Office 2007 or Office 2010 installation using Group Policy.