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Installing Multiple Versions of MS Office

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Stan Levine

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Posted: 7 Jun 2000

Current Version: ZENworks 2

About Stan: I'm a full-time network consultant and part-time computer programmer. I've been working with NetWare since it was called (gasp) Netware/86, believe it or not. I'm currently working on my CNE (finally). Never really felt a need for the "piece of paper" before, but now I want to go for my CDE as well as gain some legitimacy for future positions.

I'll keep sending suggestions as I keep working with ZEN works. I really like the product and feel I would really have a product to be proud of if they keep progressing and incorporating the ideas the user community suggests.

I started recently at an office that has a mishmash of versions of MS Office 97. Some have no SR install, some have SR-1. Most machines have Windows 95, a few have Windows NT. We are about to roll out ZENworks and the first big project is to get all machines up to the same version of MS Office 97. As part of this project, about 35-40% of the machines will be replaced with "clean" Windows NT machines with no MS Office installed whatsoever.

I had been wondering the best and most manageable solution to this dilemma, and searched your CoolSolutions pages for words of wisdom. What I found helped me greatly. I'd like to share my results with you and your readers. This is the plan of action that I devised:

First I created three snAppShots, one that pushed out a full installation of MS Office 97 with both of the SR's already in place, one that would upgrade a copy of MS Office with no SR's all the way up to SR-2, and one that would upgrade a copy of MS Office with SR-1 up to SR-2.

Using the Cool Solutions article "One Suite, Two Platforms, And a Little Registry Magic", I set up the Full Install app object so it can install to either Win 95 or Win NT. I then duplicated the MS Office full install three times as another of your articles "Using ZENworks 1.0 to Distribute Microsoft Office 97" mentioned, but I did not yet synch their GUID's.

Using the basic ideas behind another of your articles, "Office97 Service Pack Updates and ZENworks 2", I set up the two SR app objects so each one only installs when the appropriate criteria has been met. The difference between your article and my upgrade app objects is that both of my app objects will result in a machine that is SR-2. I set both app objects to be Run Once, Force Run, Prompt before Distribution.

With all of this now in place, I synched the GUID's on all SIX application objects. The result of all of this work is as follows:

  1. On any "clean", new machine with no MS-Office, the users see the four MS Office icons (Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint). Whichever one they click first will install the complete app with all service packs in place. Since all the apps have their GUID's synched, it will only install once regardless of which app they run first, second, etc.

  2. On any SR-1 or "SR-0" machine, immediately after login the user will see a window come up that allows them to receive the proper upgrade based on which criteria their machine meets. After the upgrade, because they are now synched with the GUID of the full install they are ready to go! When the four full install icons appear after the upgrade and a reboot each will work properly without having to go through any full install.

Hope all of this helps other people out as well. This method works great with just about any application where the users have many disparate versions sitting out there, and if other apps besides MS Office have 32-bit platform installs that can be made to work on both Windows 95 and NT then the work is cut in half! Thanks again, and keep up the great articles!

If you have any questions you may contact Stan at

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