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Create PRF file *without* using CIW

Posted on 2004-10-20
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Last Modified: 2011-01-03
Hi,
I'm doing a revised desktop build, to include Outlook XP, with Exch 2k as a back end.  The desktops run Windows 2000 Pro.
Our old logon script used to run the
      shell("c:\winnt\newprof.exe -P c:\winnt\outlook.prf")
command to set outlook 2k up for new users, but this line barfs out when hitting Outlook XP.  Apparently, Newprof isn't supported any more.

I need to fix this, and I was hoping to do a manual config of Outlook XP, and then create a PRF file from that installation that I could call in a similar manner from the logon script.

I think the command I need to call the new prf is:
outlook.exe /importprf \\server1\share\outlook.prf

All the stuff I've seen on PRF files under XP refers to using the Custom Install Wizard (CIW) to amend a msi file, which I don't have - the Outlook XP install was just done from original media.  Using the CIW asks for the msi at step 1, which kind of stops me dead....

Ultimately, I'll be imaging the desktop build using Power Quest, and then distributing it like that.  All I'm really after are some settings for username, exch server, and also to specify Contacts and GAL (and their order).

I have found one to download as a sample, but tweaking this manually seemed a bit ridiculous (plus risky...)  How can I get a PRF out of OutlookXP without the CIW?? cheers!
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Question by:DanCh99
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Expert Comment

by:kristinaw
ID: 12360634
dan,

here's what we do in my org:

*each user has a homedirectory (H: drive)
*when their user account is created, a template prf file is manually edited to include the correct mailbox name and is copied into the H: drive
*the command you referenced is called from the login script, the the prf location is specified as their H: share

unfortuntely, i don't think their is any global you can put in the prf (such as %username%). but, once you've done the initial tweaks, all you have to do is use one for a template then manually change the mailbox name for each user.

hth,
kris.
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Expert Comment

by:kristinaw
ID: 12360852
actually, a better option might be to do this if you're distributing with an image:

# Configure the registry to trigger Outlook to import the PRF file when Outlook starts up. You can use the Add/Remove Registry Entries page in Custom Installation Wizard or the Custom Maintenance Wizard to deploy these registry key options to your users. You can also use the wizards to distribute the PRF file to users by using the Add/Remove Files page.

   1. Delete the following registry key value : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Setup\First-Run.
   2. In the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Setup subkey, set the value of ImportPRF to a string value that specifies the name and path of the PRF file. For example, set ImportPRF to \\server1\share\outlook.prf.

referenced from:

http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2003/three/ch7/OutB03.htm

hth,
Kris.


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Author Comment

by:DanCh99
ID: 12379446
The problem I have is not the import of the PRF, but the *creation* of it.  Once it's created, I can probably mash it around with my logon script to add the correct user name, but I just want to get the structure of it.  Ideally, it needs to do this:

specify username
specify exchange server name
specify lookup order for address list:  All Users --> All Groups -->  All Contacts.
import a shared mailbox.  

I think I'll have to look at creating an msi, so I can follow the One True M$ way instead....
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Expert Comment

by:kristinaw
ID: 12379760
Dan,

You can download a prf template from MS and then just edit it manually. The only thing that has to be changed once you have your base settings is the username. This is what we do here.

Kris.
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Author Comment

by:DanCh99
ID: 12381634
being a bit of a doofus, I'd utterly forgotten that Outlook comes with it's own MSI file. So, I installed the orktools.exe on my sample workstation, copied over a local copy of the Outlook CD, and ran the CIW.

On step 16 - Customise Default Profile, I selected New Profile, named it as MS Exchange Settings (just to be original...)
On step 17 - Specify Exchange Settings, I selected Configure An Exchange Server Connection, and left the username as %UserName% (very neat!) and specified the Exchange Server Name.  
step 18 - do nothing
step 19 - click the Export Profile Settings button, and off you go!  The line above imports the file just lubberly!

and now my resulting PRF file looks like this:

;Automatically generated PRF file from the Microsoft Office Customization and Installation Wizard

; **************************************************************
; Section 1 - Profile Defaults
; **************************************************************

[General]
Custom=1
ProfileName=MS Exchange Settings
DefaultProfile=Yes
OverwriteProfile=Yes
ModifyDefaultProfileIfPresent=FALSE

; **************************************************************
; Section 2 - Services in Profile
; **************************************************************

[Service List]
Service1=Microsoft Exchange Server
ServiceEGS=Exchange Global Section
;ServiceX=Microsoft Outlook Client

;***************************************************************
; Section 3 - List of internet accounts
;***************************************************************

[Internet Account List]

;***************************************************************
; Section 4 - Default values for each service.
;***************************************************************

[Service1]
OverwriteExistingService=No
UniqueService=Yes
MailboxName=%UserName%
HomeServer=<servername>
AccountName=Microsoft Exchange Server

[ServiceEGS]
MailboxName=%UserName%
HomeServer=<servername>

<snip - stuff after this removed for the sake of space!>
<servername> = the real name of the exchange server (changed twice!)
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Author Comment

by:DanCh99
ID: 12381656
Now... unfortunately, the only thing left to do is:

specify lookup order for address list:  All Users --> All Groups -->  All Contacts.

PRF files don't seem to cut it, nor do OPS files from the Profile Wizard.

I also need to do this:
import a shared mailbox.
but I think CIW will help me here.  
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Accepted Solution

by:
kristinaw earned 500 total points
ID: 12381671
i was never sure if %username% worked in this file or not, but at any rate, you can edit prf files with wordpad or any old text editor once you have a base copy to work with.

looks good to me :)

kris.
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Author Comment

by:DanCh99
ID: 12398712
I got lots of useful stuff out of this, but I'm still stuck on automating the address book order, plus how to automatically open another mailbox, but I guess I'll either find them now that I'm on the right track, or post another Q.  
kris - thanks for all the help.
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Expert Comment

by:kristinaw
ID: 12400362
Dan,

I actually looked for a way to order the the address book but couldn't find anything. You could also try posting something in the Outlook area of this site.

Kris.
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