Get IT Done: Streamline multiple Outlook 2000 installations with Office Resource Kit tools

Automate the Office 2000 installation process.

It takes too long to install Office 2000 from the CD-ROM to multiple computers when you have to go to each computer to perform the installation. The problem is compounded when you need to install different features for different groups of users. To solve this problem, you need a way to automate the installation process. The automated process must allow you to customize installations and take advantage of advanced Office features like self-healing applications.

The solution lies in the Office Resource Kit (ORK). The ORK tools streamline the process of deploying Office to a large number of clients. They also help you customize your installations. You can find the ORK tools on the Office 2000 CD-ROM and at Microsoft’s Office Resource Kit Web site. The most helpful tool, and the one we’ll focus on in this Daily Drill Down, is the  Custom Installation Wizard (CIW).

You can use the CIW to deploy the entire Office Suite or an application or subset of applications in the Suite. Since the most important application in the Office Suite is Outlook 2000, I’ll focus on how to deploy this application using the CIW.

To use the CIW to deploy Outlook 2000 from the Office 2000 CD-ROM, you’ll need to:
  • Prepare the system for deployment.
  • Understand how Windows Installer Technology works.
  • Create custom installations using the CIW.
  • Launch a custom installation using a Transform file.

Preparing for deployment
Before you prepare your custom installations of Outlook 2000, you need to perform some specific tasks:
  • Establish an installation share point.
  • Perform an administrative installation of Office 2000.
  • Install the ORK Tools.

After completing these steps, you’ll be ready to fire up the CIW and begin your deployment.

Establishing an installation share point
Since you won’t be carting the install CD-ROM around, you need to create an installation share point on a server or servers in your organization. You can locate the share points on the hard disks of the distribution servers, or you can use a shared CD-ROM. Hard disk access times are much shorter, so I recommend placing the installation files on a hard disk instead of on a CD-ROM.

There are advantages to using multiple distribution servers. The CIW will allow you to configure multiple servers that can be used for fail-over in the event the original distribution server becomes unavailable. This is useful if you want to take advantage of  Install On-Demand and the self-healing features of Office 2000.

Performing an administrative installation of Office 2000
To create the installation share point, you’ll need to perform anadministrative installation  of the distribution files. Click Start | Run. In the Run text box, type <drive_letter>:\<setup_folder>\SETUP.EXE /a, where drive_letter is the drive where the original Office 2000 source files are located, and setup_folder is the folder on the distribution medium that contains the SETUP.EXE file. Click OK to continue.

You’ll be presented with the Welcome page, as seen in Figure A. Type in your CD Key and company name and click Next.

Figure A

The Microsoft Office 2000 Location page shown in Figure B will appear. Type in a UNC path to the destination you’ve chosen for the administrative installation files, and then click Install Now. The files will be copied into the installation share point.

Figure B

Installing the Office Resource Kit tools
The next step is to install the ORK Tools. You can find them on the installation CD-ROM, or you can download them from the Microsoft Web site. After installing the tools, you’ll be able to access them from the Start menu.

Understanding Windows Installer technology
Before you proceed, you need to understand how Windows’ installation technology works. Office 2000 and Windows 2000 include the  Windows Installer  service. This application management service allows you to manage software on your networked machines in a way you couldn’t with previous Windows-based installation methods. The Windows Installer provides the following features:
  • Special Windows Installer shortcuts
  • Management of Installation States
  • Management of Self-Repairing Applications

Each of these Windows Installer features improves your ability to manage and repair applications in an enterprise environment.

Special Windows Installer shortcuts
When an application that uses Windows Installer technology is installed, it can place special Windows Installer shortcuts on the desktop interface. These shortcuts are not the “hard-coded” shortcuts you’re accustomed to using. Rather, these shortcuts include a GUID that controls the installation and maintenance behavior of the application associated with the shortcut.

If you right-click one of these shortcuts and then click Properties, you’ll see what’s shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Note the shortcut doesn’t have a “target.” The Change Icon and Find Target buttons are disabled, and the Target path is grayed out and only includes the name of the application. This shortcut is managed by the Windows Installer service and should not be altered. In order for Windows Installer shortcuts to work, you must have the Windows Desktop Update installed. This feature is automatically installed with Windows 2000 and Windows 98/Me. If you’re using Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, you’ll need to install the Active Desktop included with Internet Explorer 4.01 SP1 or the Windows Desktop Update included with Internet Explorer 5.0 and above.

You must use these shortcuts to take advantage of the self-healing features of Windows Installer programs. When you launch an application from these shortcuts, the Windows Installer service will check for the presence of critical files. If one of the application’s critical files is missing or corrupt, the Windows Installer service will reinstall these files. Non-critical files can be repaired or replaced using the Detect And Repair feature within the application.

Windows Installer’s Install On Demand features also use these shortcuts. Install On Demand allows the installer to put shortcuts on the desktop for user applications, but the applications themselves are not installed until the user actually clicks on the shortcut. After a user clicks the shortcut, the installation Wizard will automatically install the application.

Management of installation states
The Windows Installer can do more than just install an application onto a target computer. It can install an application in different states. The primary installation states are:
  • Run from My Computer—This installs an application onto a target computer in a manner similar to traditional non-Windows Installation applications. The entire application is installed on the computer. If you need to install other features, you must run the setup routine again.
  • Run from Network (Source)—This allows the application or feature to run from the source location. That location can be a distribution server hard disk or CD-ROM. Note that when you select this option, some files will be installed onto the target computer. The main application files will remain on the network server.
  • Installed on First Use—This places shortcuts to applications in the Start menu and in the Office toolbar. However, such an application won’t be installed until the user clicks on a Windows Installer shortcut.

Management of self-healing applications
The Windows Installer service is responsible for the self-healing capabilities of the appropriate applications. However, you must use the shortcuts created by the installer to begin the program. For example, if you manually create a shortcut to the file Winword.exe, the application won’t be able to fix itself in the event of missing or corrupt files. This type of shortcut, known as a  hard-coded shortcut, is not Windows Installer service-aware.

Creating a custom installation
To deploy Outlook 2000 as part of a custom installation of Office 2000, you must create what is known as a  Transform file. These Transforms use the file extension .MST. A Transform file is a record of the differences between an application’s Windows Installer file (the .MSI file) and the customizations made to the application’s .MSI file. The .MSI file contains all the instructions required to install a Windows Installer-aware application. The .MST file contains the installation customizations you applied to the .MSI file. You’ll use the Custom Installation Wizard to create a Transform file that will be applied to Office 2000’s .MSI file.

Creating the Transform file with the Custom Installation Wizard
Figures D through L

Assuming you’ve already installed the ORK, perform the following steps to create the Transform file with the CIW:
  1. From the Start menu, click Applications | Microsoft Office Tools | Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit Tools, and then click Custom Installation Wizard. This begins the CIW. The entire wizard is 17 pages long, so we’ll cover the pages specific to Outlook 2000 in more detail than the others. Click Next to move to the next page.
  2. Figure D shows the Open The MSI File page. Type in the UNC path to the DATA1.MSI file that is contained in the administrative install share you installed earlier. Click Next to continue.
  3. Choose Do Not Open An Existing MSI File, and click Next. The Select the MST File To Save page will appear. Type in a local path. When you’ve completed the wizard, you’ll move the .MST file to the same folder where the setup.exe file is located in the administrative installation share. Click Next.
  4. The Specify Default Path And Organization page will appear. Use the default installation path, which is \Program Files\Microsoft Office. You also have the opportunity to include your Organization name. Click Next to continue.
  5. The Remove Previous Versions page will appear, as shown in Figure E. Choose Default Setup Behavior to remove all previous versions of Office applications. However, if you want to keep a previous version of an Office application, choose the Remove The Following Versions Of Microsoft Office Applications option, and specify the files to remove, as shown in the figure. Click Next to continue.
  6. The Set Feature Installation States page will appear, as shown in Figure F. Since we want to install Outlook 2000 only, click Microsoft Office at the top of the hierarchy, and then click Not Available. Click the Microsoft Outlook For Windows icon, and then click Run All From My Computer. If you’d like to install other applications, just click the application icon and select the appropriate command. Click Next to proceed.
  7. On the Customize Default Application Settings page, select Do Not Customize; Use Microsoft Default Values. Also, select the Migrate User Settings check box. Click Next.
  8. On The Add Files To The Installation page, you can add additional files to install with Office. If you don’t want to add any other files, click Next.
  9.  On the Add Registry Entries page, you have the option to add new registry entries. If you don’t need to include additional registry entries, click Next to continue.
  10. On the Add, Modify, Or Remove Shortcuts page (Figure G), you can modify or remove Office shortcuts. Select the check box for Create Windows Installer Shortcuts If Supported. Click Next to continue.
  11. On the Identify Additional Servers page (Figure H), you can include other locations where copies of the administrative installation share can be found. You can copy the original installation share to other machines on the network. As mentioned earlier, including additional servers provides fault tolerance for the administrative installation share. Note that while this provides fault tolerance, it doesn’t provide for load balancing. The alternate servers will be used for Install On Demand and application self repair in the event that the original server is unavailable. Click Next to continue.
  12. On the Add Installations And Run Programs page, you can add programs that will run after the installation of Office completes. If you don’t want to add any new programs, click Next.
  13. On the Customize Outlook Installation Options page (Figure I), you can configure exactly how you want Outlook to work on users’ computers. Note that you have two options:
  • Do Not Customize Outlook Profile And Account Information—If you choose this option, the user will be asked to configure his or her own Outlook Profile.
  • Customize Outlook Profile And Account Information—In the Configuration type drop-down list, you have the options to use either the Corporate Or Workgroup Settings or the Internet Only Settings. Almost all companies will use the Corporate Or Workgroup Settings because the Internet Only Settings are severely limited.

It’s better to select the second option because the profile, and the services included in the profile, will be automatically configured for the user.

In the left pane below the configuration type are a number of options that allow you to make all the configuration settings you require for Outlook. These include settings such as the name of the Exchange server and the mailbox name on that server. Almost everything you’ll need to configure Outlook’s basic functionality is located there. Click each of the nodes in the left pane and select the options that fit your requirements. After selecting your options, click Next to continue. Then follow these steps:
  1. The Customize IE 5 Installation Options page will appear (Figure J). Windows 2000 includes Internet Explorer 5. If you’re installing Office on down-level Windows clients, you’ll need to include IE 5 with the Office installation, or have it installed prior to installing Office 2000. In this example, we’ll assume the company has upgraded to Windows 2000. Click Next to continue.
  2. On the Modify Setup Properties (Figure K) page, you can change some of the setup properties that you’ve already configured, or add new ones. The LIMITUI property will allow the installation of Outlook to proceed unattended. The OUTLOOKASDEFAULTAPP setting allows you to make Outlook the default mail application. For any of these setup properties, you can select the property and then click the Modify button to change its behavior. In this example, the LIMITUI option is set to True, and the OUTLOOKASDEFAULTAPP option is set to All. Click Next to continue.
  3. On the Save Changes page, you’ll be informed of the location where the .MST file will be saved. Click Finish to create the .MST file.
  4. The last page of the Wizard, as shown in Figure L, tells you that the file has been created. In addition, an example command line argument is given that you can use to begin the installation of Office using the Transform. The qn+ indicates that the installation will be done in quiet mode. Click Exit to exit the Wizard.

Performing the installation using the Transform file
After the Transform file is created, copy it to the administrative share point(s). Put the file in the same folder as the setup.exe file. When the .MST file is in the same folder as the setup.exe file, a path to the .MST file doesn’t need to be contained in the command line argument. For example, if the installation share point were located at \\constellation\office2k\, then the command you’d use to invoke the installation would be:
\\constellation\office2k\setup.exe TRANSFORMS=CustomOutlook.MST /qn+

If you don’t put the .MST file in the same folder as the setup.exe file, you must include the full path to the .MST file, as seen earlier in Figure K.

Distribute with Group Policy
As a final tip, you can also distribute applications via Windows 2000 Group Policy Application Management. When you open the property sheet of a software package created in Group Policy, click the Modifications tab (Figure M).

Figure M

It will have a list of all .MST files contained in the installation folder. Note that if there are no .MST files contained in the install folder, the Add button won’t be available.

ORKS aplenty
To find out more about the Office Resource Kit and the many tools included in the kit, check out Microsoft’s Web site. There you’ll find ORKs for all the versions of Microsoft Office.

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