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Application Deployment - Simple

Need assistance with how to deploy various versions of MS Office in network.  
Using Active Directory on Server 2000!  

Where I am Stuck:
How do I apply updates to Office before deployment?
How do I set-up group policy so that every instance of MS Office I assign to an employee will load on their machine?

Virtual Machine Windows 7 environment
Will make all applications part of base image except 3 versions of Office.
Want to be able to easily deploy any of our already purchased versions of MS Office with updates applied (XP Standard, 2003 Standard, 2003 professional, 2010 Professional, 2013 Standard, 2013 Professional) to the appropriate user.
Will be using Persona Management on these machines.
Robert Mohr
Robert Mohr
3 Solutions
I have no experience as an administrator, but in maintaining my own system, I have learnt that merging updates into an installation package is called slipstreaming. I did it with
Windows 2000 when a hardware problem necessitated frequent rebuilds.

Googling  'slipstream office 2003 sp3' produces several how-to hits. I guess that would apply to the other versions.
Vadim RappCommented:
Office XP and 2003 you can deploy by group policy. In a nutshell, the way it works is: you run Office Customization Wizard, and specify installation options, such as product key, which products to install, which not, whether you want to install things like Office Assistant and smart tags, etc. This creates a transform. You create administrative image of the installation; you patch it with service packs; then you deploy  by the group policy the MSI from that image plus the transform. Up to you whether to do it per-machine or per-user, assign or publish. I personally publish per-user, plus install-on-demand will auto-install what's needed whenever someone tries to open .doc, .xls etc. More info at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc180015.aspx

Microsoft also gives you group policy templates where you can specify your preferences for the applciations already at runtime, for the users. Such as, you can specify workgroup templates directory on the network, where everybody will find company-wide templates, so your employees will have something like this:start new document . Plus many other things for various Office applications.
group policyIn Office 2007 and later the deployment has changed, and group policy deployment became discouraged (in 2007) and then impossible (2010). Now the wizard creates an XML file with all customizations, and that xml file is used by setup.exe. Accordingly Technet has novel-size articles like "Deploy Office 2010".
Vadim RappCommented:
For the users of Office 2003 and XP, you'll probably also want to install Compatibility Pack, so they should be able to open .docx and .xlsx files sent to them by others.
Ryan McCauleyData and Analytics ManagerCommented:
You can set up your base image without Office, and then fully patch the base image so it's ready to go. You'd then take the image and get it ready to deploy.

You can then extract each version of office to its own network folder and then slipstream updates into each version. This is the common way to apply patches to an installation before you actually install it - that way, the newly installed version is already current, and you can apply new service packs to your slipstream folder as they're released. Here are some basic instructions:


I've never used Persona Management to deploy user-specific images, but you could set up an unattended install script for each version of office, and then pick the correct version based on what they need and apply it to your recently built-from-image workstation.
Robert MohrAuthor Commented:
Awesome!  Thank-you all.  This is a huge help!

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