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Distributing Office 2000 for Dynamic Access

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench

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Posted: 25 Oct 2000

We've had many inquiries about distributing Office 2000. Here's a typical one, from Allen W. "I have to distribute Office 2000 around our network. I have read the article about Office 2000 and ZENworks. This seems fine if users use the same desktop every time they login. We have the problem of up to 900 users being able to access a computer. I use dynamic access for obvious reasons. Any suggestions of how I can distribute Office 2000 would be much appreciated."

(Note: For more information about Microsoft Office 2000, check out their website.)

Here are some ideas from Cool Solutions readers:

Additional Questions:

Joseph Violanti

I'm not sure if I completely understand what you're asking, but here's my situation and what we did:

I direct technology for a school district of about 1300 students and 150 staff. Students share the same workstations. I created an install of Office 2000 using the customization wizard and added a command to create a text file o2k.txt in the Windows Directory. I then created APP Objects of each of the Office 2000 shortcuts. If o2k.txt exists, the install APP Object doesn't show, but the shortcuts do. If the txt file is missing, then it means the product needs to be installed and the Install APP Object shows, but not the shortcuts. This text file can be created with the MSI Install customization wizard or I believe it can also be done with the ZENworks App Object.

If this is what you are going for and need additional help, feel free to e-mail me:

Jimmy Benson

I recently setup the same configuration for the school system I work for in southern Indiana (West Clark Community Schools) and ran into the exact same issue of multiple users needing to access the same Office 2000 installation. Let me walk you through the steps I took, and if you follow this document step-by-step you can replicate my success.


Before I could do anything I'm about to talk about, I first had to obtain two things. I went to Microsoft's web site (I only go there when I absolutely have to) and downloaded the Office 2000 Resource Kit, and I also had to download the latest Windows Update which has their latest Microsoft Installer technology incorporated into it.

What you need to do first is update the workstations with the Windows Update which will install a minimal version of IE 5.5 unfortunately, but this can be hidden if you use Netscape. This update is required in order to take advantage of the elevated privileges feature from Microsoft which I will talk about later. With these prerequisites known, I will now continue.

Administrative Installation on a Server

First of all, I installed Office 2000 as an administrative installation to one of our six servers. To install Office 2000 in such a way you type D:\setup.exe /admin (D:\ being your CD-ROM drive) in which you will be prompted for information such as which server do you want to install to, the install path, etc. The great thing about creating an administrative installation point on a server is when patches/Service Releases become available from Microsoft for Office 2000, all you need to do is update the Administrative installation point, and not all of the workstations individually!

Once you have the installation location/folder installed on the server, you will then need to install the Office 2000 resource kit on a workstation, which you can download from the link provided above.

Once you have that installed you simply go into the Custom Installation Wizard and setup Office 2000 exactly as you want it to install on the workstations. For my example, I setup Office 2000's preferences, but I took away all shortcuts that were going to be placed on the workstation locally, I did not install any form of Outlook at all since we use GroupWise, and I also installed no form of IE 5.5 since we use Netscape.

When you have setup all of your settings and you get to the end of the setup process the installation wizard will give you a syntax sentence. Write this information down on a piece of paper, as you will be needing it for an application object in ZENworks.

After you have created your installation file, you will then go into a directory on the workstation where you installed the Office 2000 Resource Kit. Go into the C:\WINNT\INF directory if you installed it on an NT workstation, C:\WINDOWS\INF if you installed on a 95/98 workstation. You will want to copy all of the .ADM files you see in the INF directory.

Once you have all of them copied, place them in a folder off of the PUBLIC directory on your server. I put mine in \\SERVER\PUBLIC\EXTENSIBLE. The folder name is up to you.

Application Object

Now that you have all the exterior things finished, it's time to begin working with ZENworks.

First off, what you want to do is create an application called "Install Office 2000." In this application you want to use the syntax that you wrote down from the Custom Installation Wizard. This application will install Office 2000 using the Installation folder on your server, along with the settings that you setup in the installation wizard.

Once you have that application setup, you will need to create four additional application objects. You will need an application object for Word, Access, Excel, and one for PowerPoint. In these four application objects all you need to do is simply use them as pointers to the executables on the local workstation for each program (ex. for Microsoft Word's application object you would just point it to C:\Microsoft Office\Office\WINWORD.exe.)

The one and only trick in setting up the four applications is setting up an application dependency with each of the four applications. By that I mean, go to your "System Requirements" tab on each of the applications in NWAdmin, and set a dependency so that each of the four applications ONLY show up if the "Install Office 2000" application has been installed.


Once you have those setup you will then need to do the last step of setting up policies. Unless you are not concerned about security, it's likely that you don't allow your users full access (Administrator access) to the workstation. In my case, we do not, so this is where the .ADM files come into play that you stored on your server.

You will want to have both a workstation policy and a user policy for all of this to work in your environment.

User Policy

Within your user policy you want to go into "Extensible Policies" and setup a schedule for them to run (ex. at login.) Once you have that configured go into the portion where you add policies. You will click on the "Add" button and then go to the folder on your server where you stored the .ADM files. In my case, I added 5 extensible policies for the user policy. I added a policy for Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and of course the most important, one for the Windows Installer. For this to work, you must at least have an extensible policy for the Windows Installer.

Once you have the Windows Installer policy added, simply drop down the properties and you want to click (enable) "Always Install With Elevated Privileges" and then you want to check the box in the lower pane labeled "Check to force setting on."

(As a side note, the extensible policies under the user policy for the Office suite programs lets you specify settings within the Office 2000 program such as a default saving location, toolbars, etc. and I highly recommend them.)

One last thing you want to do within your user policy is go back to the main screen, and choose "Dynamic Local User." Within this policy you MUST have checked (enabled) "Remove User After Logout." The reason behind this is that when Microsoft Office is installed it also knows who installed the program. Then if user2 would come right behind user1 and try to run Office 2000, an error message would be displayed stating that "Only User1 can use this program since they installed it." So to get around this issue, you must remove the user from the system upon logout so that Microsoft Office can't pick up on who installed it, which means anyone can use the same installation.

Workstation Policy

Now with your user policy setup, we need to finally go to the workstation policy. Here you will once again want to setup the "Extensible Policies" just like you did in the User Policy, and you will want to add the policy for "Windows Installer" again. That's right, there is two policies that must be enforced/pushed in order for elevated privledges to work, a user policy and a workstation policy.

Within the workstation extensible policy for Windows Installer you will want to check/enable

  • Always Install With Elevated Privileges
  • Enable User Controls Over Installs
  • Enable User To Browse For Source When Elevated
  • Enable User To Use Media Source When Elevated
  • Enable User To Patch Elevated Products.

Also you will want to check in the lower pane of each of the above, the checkbox which states "Check To Force Setting On."

ZENworks for Servers

After this you will be finished, and if everything has been configured correctly anyone should be able to install Office 2000 throughout your company. I would also like to mention that ZENworks for Servers can also be very helpful in this setup. I used ZENworks for Servers once I had the Installation directory setup on the main server, to distribute the installation directory to the other 5 remaining servers that needed it in the middle of the night to avoid daytime network traffic over our WAN. A great tool when you are copying a 600 MB directory.

Q&A from Jimmy

JA wrote to Jimmy: Following your ZEN article, it seems you may be using NT or 2000. I find nothing like "Dynamic Local User" in the 9x user policy package. But this does exist in the NT policy package. Am I off base here?

Jimmy said: You were correct in assuming that we do use Windows NT as our workstation operating system, therefore implying that we must use the Dynamic Local User portion of the policy package. Since you are using Windows 9x as your workstation operating system, and since the Windows 9x user policy package in ZENworks has no option for Dynamic Local Users, you can simply bypass that portion of the article, and continue on with the process. Windows NT differs from Windows 9x in that you have local accounts created on the workstation for the users, whereas the Windows 9x operating system does not incorporate the same feature.

NEW BH wrote to Jimmy: I was wondering what kind of machines you use with this combination of software (CPU, RAM, & HDD).

Jimmy said: The computers in our corporation are of a variety. We have computers as low as 200 MHz, with 32 MB of RAM, and 2.5 GB HD's running the Office 2000 software, and we have workstations as high as 466 MHz, with 128 MB of RAM, with 8 GB HD's. Both run the setup/software alike, with no conflicts, although the low end workstations take much longer to open a document or a spreadsheet file.

If you have any questions at all relating to the setup of this suite, please feel free to contact me!

Additional Questions

Take a crack at these, all you ZEN masters...

Peter M.

My question is about Office 2000 install. I am SO very glad to see so many people giving great tips and ideas on how to handle this. I especially appreciate the latest tips about installing when many users use the same machine.

I want to take this one step further...

I have all my workstations imported into NDS and would like to associate the install app object to force run on a workstation in the middle of the night so no users need to be logged in and wait for the install.

I have done some testing, but keep running into Microsoft installer errors shortly after the install kicks off. Does anyone know - is this possible to do?, has anyone done it?, or is the install dependent on a user being logged in and I am just beating my head against a Microsft Wall....

John V. NEW

I have setup Office 2000 as Jimmy Benson has. I use NALSTAMP from the ZENworks Tool Kit to make sure that if a different user logs into that computer, the App will not re-install.

I actually have an additional Question:
Can Office 2000 be setup so that the first time the user clicks on the application, it installs Office (or at least the CD that that App is on). Then the next time you click on it, it will simply launch the Application. I tried to use Distribution Scripts to run the install with the Application pointing to the Executable, but it launches Word 97, for example, before the Application is finished distributing. If I have it remove Winword.exe it gives an error and asks if I want to verify the App, while it is still installing the App. I guess what I am really asking is, is there a way to have ZEN recognize that a Distribution Script is running as the Actual Distribution and only continue after the script, and all of its subsequent actions, are finished?

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