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Office Software Thread, Best Automated Deployment method? in Technical; Hi Everyone, We are planning to update from our current version of Office (2003) to Office 2007, ready for September ...
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    Best Automated Deployment method?

    Hi Everyone,

    We are planning to update from our current version of Office (2003) to Office 2007, ready for September 2009. Previously we have just upgraded to new versions of Office over the Summer and it hasn't affected users very much.

    But as the interface has changed radically we thought that we would install it along side the existing version (possible this week half term week), thus allowing staff to try it out, before removing the older version before September. We are also arranging staff development sessions at the end of June, to allow staff to familiarise themselves with the new look/feel.

    We have about 450 PC and 80 laptops, across 4 sites to do. I am just wondering how other Schools/Colleges are planning to do the upgrade? For those that have already taken this step, how did it go? What were the issues?

    My plan was to copy an an MSI version of the install (with SP2 slipstreamed) to a server at each site, and to create an MST file, and use these as the Group Policy install points for each site (as we'd done for our previous upgrades). However, I've now read some MS articles (e.g. the white paper on office 2007 deployment) which recommends against using Group Policy for Deployment, and to use Systems Management Server instead. Having not used SMS before, and with limited time and I'd prefere to use Group Policy. However, it must be able to:

    1. Include SP2 in the deployment
    2. Install alongside the existing version
    3. Some minimal customisation parameters

    What would people recommend? Go with GP deployment or spend some time learning SMS and do it that way?

    Also, in our tests there appeared to be some issues with installing Office 2007 (affecting stability of Office/Windows), but it the test PCs weren't on any SP, and the PCs weren't fully patched (either Windows or Office 2003). However, they soon will be.

    Any tips/advice much appreciated

    Many Thanks,

    Bruce Gilbert.

    Leeds, UK.

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    DrPerceptron's Avatar
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    I can't say I've had any issues deploying with Group Policy, but I've only deployed to about 6 machines and I'm still deploying a non updated RTM copy of Office 2007.

    One thought I did have was about having both versions was to choose the newer office as a fat install and run a virtual copy of the previous version alongside it.

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    I can't say I've had any issues deploying with Group Policy, but I've only deployed to about 6 machines and I'm still deploying a non updated RTM copy of Office 2007.
    I didn't think you could deploy Office 2007 using Group Policy, as it doesn't come with an MSI? Unless you created one using another method?

    Include SP2 in the deployment
    Create an admin setup point by running X:\Setup.exe /admin Create it in C:\Office in this example.

    Download Office 2007 SP2 here to C:\Service, then run the following command:

    Code:
    c:\service\office2007sp2-kb953195-fullfile-en-us.exe /extract:c:\office\updates\
    This will extract the MSP file into the correct directory. Office will install SP2 as part of the installation process. As a recommendation (on a test machine), do all the above, then run Microsoft Update. You can then see what other Office 2007 updates are available, download the redistributable versions and again, run the same command line above (just change the file name as appropriate) to extract the MSP. The C:\Office\Updates folder can contain as many files as required. In mine I have 28 MSP files to give you an idea. It includes all the additional Help files.

    Install alongside the existing version
    Some minimal customisation parameters
    When you create an admin install, you have the ability to create an answer file. I call mine Office2007.msp which lives in the root of C:\Office

    To include the answer file when running Office 2007 setup, you'd run the following command:

    Code:
    C:\Office\setup.exe /adminfile office2007.msp
    I've not actually tried leaving two versions of Office on the same machine; say 2003 and 2007 and I am not 100% sure what happens with regards to file extensions. Which version of Word do documents open with? I have no idea, but I would guess 2007 takes priority knowing Microsoft. Users may be required to open the application, then open the document to open in Office 2003.

    Hope this helps

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I didn't think you could deploy Office 2007 using Group Policy, as it doesn't come with an MSI? Unless you created one using another method?

    Our Office 2007 Enterprise CD contains an .msi install file within a subfolder WWsomething.

    Create an admin setup point by running X:\Setup.exe /admin Create it in C:\Office in this example.
    ---------
    Thank you; I'll try this.
    ---------
    Download Office 2007 SP2 here to C:\Service, then run the following command:

    Code:
    c:\service\office2007sp2-kb953195-fullfile-en-us.exe /extract:c:\office\updates\
    This will extract the MSP file into the correct directory. Office will install SP2 as part of the installation process. As a recommendation (on a test machine), do all the above, then run Microsoft Update. You can then see what other Office 2007 updates are available, download the redistributable versions and again, run the same command line above (just change the file name as appropriate) to extract the MSP. The C:\Office\Updates folder can contain as many files as required. In mine I have 28 MSP files to give you an idea. It includes all the additional Help files.
    ---------
    Yeah, I did part of this (just the SP2 extract to office\updates); but I was concerned about comments about group policy not understanding .msp files, so wondered if the updates would apply if Office was deployed using group policy (using the forementioned msi file). Also, thanks for your advice regarding incorporating updates post SP2.
    ---------
    When you create an admin install, you have the ability to create an answer file. I call mine Office2007.msp which lives in the root of C:\Office
    ---------
    Hmm from what i've read, I'm not sure if I could can include an .msp answer file with the group policy deployment, but i'll give it a go.
    ---------
    To include the answer file when running Office 2007 setup, you'd run the following command:

    Code:
    C:\Office\setup.exe /adminfile office2007.msp
    I've not actually tried leaving two versions of Office on the same machine; say 2003 and 2007 and I am not 100% sure what happens with regards to file extensions. Which version of Word do documents open with? I have no idea, but I would guess 2007 takes priority knowing Microsoft. Users may be required to open the application, then open the document to open in Office 2003.
    ---------
    It can be done; with the exception of Outlook; you cannot keep two versions, so we are going with Outlook 2007. One issue I spotted is that certatin Outlook user items aren't migrated (such as the memory of external email addresses, sigantures) which could cause some users issues..

    I'm not sure which versions open by default (hopefully 2007 apps to encourage use). How do staff manage with the new interface - I reckon it will really throw some of them, hence the less-than-ideal side-by-side option for 2-3 months.

    Hope this helps
    Yes, thanks, Bruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I've not actually tried leaving two versions of Office on the same machine; say 2003 and 2007 and I am not 100% sure what happens with regards to file extensions. Which version of Word do documents open with? I have no idea, but I would guess 2007 takes priority knowing Microsoft. Users may be required to open the application, then open the document to open in Office 2003.
    You have to install 2003 first and then 2007 (but you can only have 1 version of Outlook). As you suspect, 2007 will win in the extension grabbing race (although you can change this with "assoc" commands.

    @drperceptron mentioned using a fat install for 2007 and a virtual 2003 alongside - I'm guessing this is using Softgrid (or whatever it's called now). this is a supported MS method and works well (although you still have to choose which app should open when someone clicks a .doc file etc)

    Bruce - if you have SMS and have some experience with it then use it; otherwise I'd use a startup script to install it; Michael has given you an example.

    The stuff with updates and MSPs is a complete mess and someone at MS needs a good talking to :-)

    If you install from the setup.exe then any MSP in the "updates" folder will get processed; this includes any customisation file you put there as well as service packs etc. if you install using the MSI then it doesn't read any of the updates from that folder. I've no idea why someone thought that this might be a good idea!!!

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    I haven't given any thought to how I was going to publish a virtual application, it was just something I thought I might give a look into as a way of getting around things like this.

    As for MSI deployment, there are MSI's which depending on your Office version (Professional Plus here) are in different folders - usually it's a folder similarly named and there will be an MSI similarly named to the folder which you use to deploy, the only configuration you get is using a config.xml file since it ignores the updates folder completely as steve said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    If you install from the setup.exe then any MSP in the "updates" folder will get processed; this includes any customisation file you put there as well as service packs etc. if you install using the MSI then it doesn't read any of the updates from that folder. I've no idea why someone thought that this might be a good idea!!!
    Sorry to go off topic, but in my updates folder I have the SP1 and SP2 msps. Office is updated to SP2 during installation. However when the computer checks in to WSUS it insists on downloading and installing SP1 Am I missing something? I'd have thought it would install SP1 and then SP2 during deployment, as long as they were in the updates folder

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    You only need the SP2 update, as it includes everything SP1 did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    You only need the SP2 update, as it includes everything SP1 did.
    That's what I thought... even by just having the SP2 msp in the updates folder (without SP1), why does it then download and install SP1 from WSUS?

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    Maybe Office 2007 SP2 hasn't been published to WSUS as yet? Just as IE8 still hasn't. An easy solution would be to deny/disallow SP1 being deployed to machines in WSUS. You can then manually download SP2, extract the MSP and deploy Office 2007

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