Friday, September 10, 2010

Office 2010 – Build Your Installation Package

With the tasks that were discussed earlier in the week already underway, it is finally time to start prepping the actual installation media for your rollout. As was the case with the previous versions of Office, Microsoft has included a tool, the Office Customization Tool (OCT), to allow you to customize the installation properties for your organization's rollout. This tool greatly simplifies the installation process and lessens the chances of human error resulting in a much higher installation success rate for your rollout.

The OCT for Office2010 is built in to the setup program for the volume license versions of the Office 2010 platform, so there is no need to download any extra tools to use it. I am not going to go through every detail of its use as Microsoft has produced a good video describing the features and their use.

What I am going to do is talk about how some of the areas within the tool can be exploited to improve your rollout.

Licensing and User Interface

Even if your organization has a mature KMS infrastructure, you will likely want to have an Office installation available that uses your MAK key for the mobile user installs. This is because any installation this large that relies on connectivity to the company network will have installation issues in the field. Users may be at a hotel, client, or other location that has a firewall that prevents VPN connectivity. They may be on an airplane where there is no connectivity. They may have an intermittent WiFi connection. The reasons are endless.
I once got to explain a single installation failure on a project to a very unhappy stakeholder because a VIP at the company decided to ignore every project communication and run an installer that required connectivity while flying cross-country. Moral of the story: never require connectivity to install if you can avoid it and test for it if you do.

Add Installations and Run Programs

If you have silent installations of any Office add-ins your organization uses, this is the perfect place to include them. This greatly simplifies the process of completing the installation at each workstation. If you have chosen to use the Classic Menus system, this would also be a good place to include the installation of those valuable tools.

Modify User Settings

In this area of the installer, you should simply need to take the decided upon Group Policy Settings and reproduce them here. This way all initial settings are correctly populated even in the event that a machine has not pulled an appropriate GPO for some reason (Off the domain, Located in wrong OU, lengthy offsite assignment,…)

Add Files

This area of the tool gives you the flexibility to include custom content such as an initial copy of the organization's templates or custom dictionaries. No need to wait for a future login or replication to provide this vital content, simply include it with the applications.
This area can also be useful in copying appropriate shortcuts to the XP QuickLaunch folder. If you want to pin items to a Windows 7 taskbar, it can be done via script (See example below from The Deployment Guys).
Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
Set objAllUsersProgramsFolder = objShell.NameSpace(CSIDL_COMMON_PROGRAMS)
strAllUsersProgramsPath = objAllUsersProgramsFolder.Self.Path
Set objFolder = objShell.Namespace(strAllUsersProgramsPath & "\Accessories")
Set objFolderItem = objFolder.ParseName("Calculator.lnk")
Set colVerbs = objFolderItem.Verbs
For Each objVerb in colVerbs
If Replace(, "&", "") = "Pin to Start Menu" Then objVerb.DoIt

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