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Using ZENworks 1.0 to Distribute Microsoft Office 97

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Posted: 4 May 1999

For months we've listened to you folks ask....(or should we say beg...?) for an article about distributing MS Office 97 Application objects. Truth of the matter is that we really couldn't do this topic justice until the the unveiling of, which sports several new ?suite friendly? features. More about those in a minute.

Distributing MS Office 97 is a straightforward process of snAppShotting the installation the way you want your users to see it, creating the .AOT that represents the entire suite, creating an Application object that represents the entire suite, then (here's the magical part) duplicating that Application object for each member of the suite and tweaking it so that it points to the correct executable, etc. Finally, you'll select all of the suite applications and synchronize the GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) that is stamped into the workstation's Registry at distribution.

Aside from a long installation, creating the MS Office 97 Application objects and distributing them was a piece of cake for us. There are basically three phases: Creating the .AOT file, Creating the Application objects, and Synching the GUIDs.

Phase 1: Creating the .AOT File
1. Run snAppShot on a clean and baseline machine using the "Custom" option.

2. Accept the snAppShot Default Settings.

3. Name the Application object something like ?MSOffice 97.?

4. Set your application files location (we highly recommend that you choose a network location).

5. Set the .AOT path and name (usually the same as the application files location and Application object name).

6. Scan all files/folders, .INI files, Configuration files, Windows shortcuts, and Registry hives.

NOTE: If you are distributing local copies of Office97, enter the drive you are installing to.

7. Review the summary page and take your first snAppShot picture.

8. Click the Run Application Install button, browse for, and run the MS Office97 installation.

9. Do a typical installation with typical components.

10. If you want, now is a good time to get rid of any icons on the desktop you don't want. We got rid of Setup for Internet Explorer and Outlook, and we also emptied our Recycle Bin.

11. Open a new MSWord document.

12. When MSWord prompts you for your name and initials, enter something generic like ?Enter your name here? so that each user can enter their own name and initials the first time they run an Office application.

13. While you're in MSWord, customize any settings that you want users to have. For example, we removed the Office Assistant, that annoying smily face paper clip that makes us feel like third graders.

Now that the application is installed and adjusted to your liking, it's time to take the second picture and ?discover? the changes.

14. Execute snAppShot again or toggle to the snAppShot dialog box (which still might be displayed). You should be at the ?Waiting for application install to finish? dialog box. Click Next.

15. Choose ?Copy if Newer,? ?Create Always? and ?Create Always,? which tells snAppShot how to add entries to the .AOT file.

16. Enter the location of the Application install directory (for example, ?C:\Program Files?). Click Next.

17. From the Macros dialog box, edit both SHORT_TARGET_PATH and TARGET_PATH and replace the drive letter and colon (that is, ?C:?) with %*WinDisk%.

This makes the Application object independent of drive letters (for example, you could use this Application object to install Office 97 to D:\Program Files).

18. Click Next to have snAppShot take the second picture and create the .AOT.

Now you've captured a template of the application that you can use to build an Application object.

Phase 2: Creating the Application Objects
1. Start NWAdmin32 (the one that ships with

2. Decide where you want to put your Application objects.

For example, we created a new OU called ?Applications.?

3. Right-click the new application container, choose Create, select Application, then choose OK.

4. Choose the second option, Create an Application object with an .aot/.axt file, then click Next.


5. Browse and find the .aot you created earlier, then click Next.

6. Change the Object name to be whatever application you want to distribute first (we distributed ?MS Word?). The source path should be OK (we'll change the Target Path a bit later). Click Next.

7. Click Finish to create the new Application object.

8. Open the Application object and click the System Requirements property page. Select Windows 95.

NOTE: We did encounter one little ?gotcha? that you should know about: Creating one set of MS Office 97 Application objects that work on both Windows 95 and Windows NT platforms requires a little magic in the Registry. To perform the magic yourself, link to the Tip of the Week that shows you how.

9. Do anything else that your organization deems appropriate like creating folders, setting up contacts, specifying icon location, etc.

10. Edit the Application object you just created by opening the Identification property page and changing the Application Icon Title to ?MS Word? or whatever is appropriate.

11. Open the Application Files property page and search for the WINWORD.EXE file. Select that file and click Edit. Copy the complete Target Path to the Clipboard.

Remember, this path uses the macro ?TARGET_PATH? and is independent of a ny drive letter (because we replaced ?C:? with the macro earlier).

12. Open the Identification property page and paste the full path into the ?Path to executable file? edit box.

13. Now let's get the right icon. Select Modify and browse down to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office and select the appropriate executable (such as winword.exe) and click OK. The icon is now stored in NDS, so you don't have to worry about whether or not anyone has access to your hard drive.

14. You have now created your first Application object. We recommend that you test this single Application object to make sure it is working as you expect it to. Once it is working the way you want it to, you'll create other MS Office 97 Application objects based on the one you just created.

15. Right-click the same OU container you selected in Step 3, click Create, Application, and OK.


16. Click Duplicate An Existing Application Object.

17. Browse for the Application object you created earlier and select it.

18. Type the appropriate Object name (Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Binder) and continue on as before. The Source and Target paths should be OK.

19. After you have created the new, duplicated Application object(s), repeat the appropriate steps to get the right executable file and icons. Do this for each Office97 application you intend to distribute.

Phase 3: Synching the GUIDs
Once you have created all your Application objects, you not only need to associate them with the users to whom you want to have them, but you also need to associate the applications themselves together. This association is called ?Synching the GUIDs.? GUID stands for Global Unique Identifier. Each executable has its own unique GUID. Once the GUIDs are synched, when users execute any of the Office 97 Application objects you just created, they will get a full distribution of Office 97. After that, if a user executes any of the other Application objects, or the same one they just executed, the Application object will just execute rather than distribute again.

1. Select all the Application objects that you want to associate (We like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Binder and Outlook).


2. Click Tools > Application Launcher Tools > Sync Distribution GUIDs.

Now your Application objects have been synched and you are on your way to distribution and execution on a large scale!


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