Distributing Office 2003 Product Updates

Microsoft® Office 2003 service packs and product updates are designed to help improve the security, performance, and reliability of Office applications. A service pack, such as Office 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), typically updates the entire Office package and represents a new baseline version of the product.

Between service packs, Microsoft may also offer product updates developed in response to emerging issues such as virus attacks or bug fixes. These interim product updates, which typically update specific applications or features, require the most recent baseline version of the product. Interim updates are also cumulative; for example, you can apply the fifth Microsoft Office Word 2003 patch without applying Word 2003 patches one through four.

 Note   Although interim product updates must be installed on the most recent baseline version of Office (for example, Office 2003 Service Pack 1), service packs themselves do not have this requirement. You can apply a service pack to any previous baseline version, including the initial release version of Office 2003.

Office updates are available in two forms:

  • Client updates, or binary patches. These are applied directly to the client computer and update, rather than replace, Office files. You download binary patches from the Office Update site.
  • Administrative updates. These provide full-file replacement of all files changed by a service pack or product update. They can be used to update an administrative installation point, but you can also apply them directly to client computers. You download administrative patches from the Office Admin Update Center Web site.

In some circumstances, users must have access to the original installation source in order to apply a client update. New functionality in Office 2003 Setup, however, has made this process more efficient. Administrators can now install Office from a compressed CD image on the network, which creates a local installation source on users' computers. Because users always have access to the local installation source in this scenario, they can apply binary patches. And because the original source on the network remains at a baseline level, clients never become out of sync with an updated version.

When you deploy from an uncompressed administrative installation point, Office Setup does not create a local installation source. If your organization uses this installation method, it is still more efficient to leave the original administrative image unchanged and distribute client patches to users. For users who do not have fast or reliable access to an installation source, you can distribute the full-file administrative version (MSP file) of each update.

 Note   When Windows Installer version 3.0 is released, it will allow users to apply binary patches even when they do not have access to the source. Future software update tools, such as Microsoft Software Update Service (SUS) version 2.0, also work more efficiently with binary patches.

The strategy you choose for updating Office on users' computers depends on several factors:

  • Deployment method

The method you use to deploy Office 2003 in the first place determines your options for updating clients later on. If you want to be able to distribute binary patches throughout your organization, deploy Office from a compressed CD image and take advantage of the local installation source, which Setup creates by default on users' computers.

  • Management practices

If your organization maintains strong centralized control over software deployment — for example, if you use Microsoft Systems Management Server to help control software distribution — you can more reliably keep clients synchronized with an updated administrative installation point. However, Microsoft still recommends that you maintain the original administrative image and deploy binary or full-file updates to users.

  • Network capacity

Recaching and reinstalling Office from an updated administrative image requires considerably more network bandwidth than distributing updates to users, and distributing full-file updates requires more bandwidth than distributing smaller binary patches.

  • Client hard disk capacity

Caching all installation files on the local computer requires approximately 240 MB of hard disk space in addition to the space required by a typical installation of Office 2003.

 Important    To help ensure that the update process works correctly over time, settle on one method of updating Office clients.

Caching installation files locally and distributing client updates

When you maintain a baseline installation image on the network and distribute binary patches, client computers never get out of sync with the image because the MSI file version remains the same on both the source and the client. Even during such operations as detect and repair or install on demand, client computers updated with binary patches work correctly with the original source.

To apply binary patches, users may need access to the installation source. If you plan to keep Office 2003 up to date by distributing client patches to users, you should deploy Office from a compressed image of the CD on the network and take advantage of the local installation source.

Typically, binary patches are smaller than administrative patches and, when compared to updating from an administrative image, easier to distribute to clients. When new users install Office from the baseline compressed CD image, however, you must chain any previously distributed binary patches to the Office installation, and that can increase the time it takes to install Office for the first time.

Microsoft recommends this updating strategy in most cases, particularly if you:

  • Have experienced synchronization problems between client computers and administrative installation points in the past.
  • Distribute software updates to different groups of users or at different times.

Because the original installation image remains at the same level, it can support clients with a variety of patches applied. You do not need to maintain different installation images for different clients.

  • Have network bandwidth limitations.

Binary patches are smaller than full-file patches.

  • Support users who have limited or unreliable network access — for example, traveling users.

This method requires the following:

  • An edition of Office 2003 that is compatible with the Custom Installation Wizard and other administrative tools (retail editions of Office 2003 do not support these tools).
  • A compressed installation source — such as a copy of the Office 2003 CD on a read-only share — with creation of a local installation source enabled.
  • Users who are administrators of their computers or who can easily be granted elevated privileges for the installation (for example, through a deployment tool such as Microsoft Systems Management Server).

Installing from a CD image

When users install Office 2003 from the CD or a compressed CD image, Setup copies installation files to a hidden folder on the local computer. Windows Installer uses this local installation source both to install Office initially and to repair and update Office later on. You can distribute the client patches reliably because users have the necessary access to the source on their own computers when applying a client patch requires it, even when they do not have access to the network.

To create a compressed CD image, you copy the contents of the Office 2003 CD (including all hidden folders) to a network share; you do not run Setup to create the image. After that, the process of customizing a compressed CD image is similar to the process of customizing an administrative installation point. Creation of the local installation source is enabled by default, and you do not need to set any additional local installation source options.

Unlike deploying from an administrative installation point, you must accept the EULA and enter a valid Volume License Key before users can install Office from the compressed CD image. New functionality has been added to the Custom Installation Wizard to handle these settings by means of a transform (MST file) applied during the client installation. For more information, click Help on the Configure Local Installation Source page of the Custom Installation Wizard.

 Note   When you create an administrative installation point, Setup extracts compressed cabinet (CAB) files from the Office 2003 CD. Once the files are extracted, Setup can no longer create a local installation source, and users must rely on the administrative image as a source from that point forward.

For more information about deploying from a compressed CD image, see Taking Advantage of a Local Installation Source.

Updating existing installations

The compressed CD image on the network represents the Office 2003 baseline for your organization. Once you have established a baseline, you can deploy client updates to individual computers as needed. You can use a variety of methods to distribute the patches to users, such as the following:

  • Use a tool such as Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) or Tivoli to deploy the update.
  • Post the EXE file that contains the patch on a network share and direct all users to run it.
  • Use the stand-alone version of the OHotFix utility to extract the patch (MSP file) from the EXE file and apply it to users' computers.

Toolbox     The OHotFix utility (Offinst.exe) is packaged in a self-extracting executable file and is available on the Office Resource Kit Web site. You can find this downloadable file on the Office 2003 Resource Kit Downloads page.

Creating new installations

When a new client computer installs Office from this image, you must include all current patches to help ensure that the new client has all the latest updates. While you can chain as many client patches as necessary to the core Office installation, Office 2003 patches are cumulative, so you only need to install the latest patches related to a particular application to get all the fixes included in earlier patches. You can apply a service pack to any previous baseline; for example, the client version of Office 2003 SP2 can be applied to either Office 2003 SP1 or the initial release version of Office 2003.

You can chain client updates to the core Office 2003 installation by adding the appropriate files to the [ChainedInstall_n] sections of the Setup settings file (Setup.ini). Use either the OHotFix utility or Windows Installer to accomplish this.

To use the OHotFix utility to chain client patches

  1. Extract each binary patch (MSP file) from the corresponding client update (EXE file).
  2. Modify the OHotFix INI file to run in quiet mode and to apply the patches.
  3. In the Setup.ini file, chain OHotFix.exe to the core Office installation.

For example:


For more information about OHotFix, see Installing Client Update Files with OHotFix on the Office XP Resource Kit Web site.

To use Windows Installer to chain client patches

  1. Extract each binary patch (MSP file) from the corresponding client update (EXE file).
  2. In the Setup.ini file, chain Msiexec.exe to the core Office installation.

You must create a separate [ChainedInstall_n] section for each patch.

For example:

CmdLine=\\server\share\admin_install_point\1234\[MSP file] 
     /qb /L*VX [path\name of log file]

Note that Microsoft Windows® correctly finds and starts Msiexec.exe even if the Windows folder is not in the same location on all computers in your organization.

For more information about chaining, see Deploying Office and Other Products Together.

 Note    If a user double-clicks a client update that is already installed on the computer, Windows Installer 2.0 reapplies the patch, even though no files are changed. If a user applies a client update by means of an Msiexec command line, however, the patch is not reapplied.

Distributing full-file administrative updates

If you deploy Office from an administrative installation point, then you do not have the option of a local installation source. However, you can still maintain a baseline administrative image and apply updates directly to users’ computers.

For users who do not have reliable access to an installation source, or for those whose local installation source may have been deleted or corrupted, you can distribute administrative updates (MSP files). Administrative updates provide full-file replacement of all files changed by a service pack or product update. By installing complete files, rather than patched files, the administrative update can correctly replace any files that have been modified with previous updates.

 Note   Applying a full-file patch to a client computer does not change the MSI file version; users can apply full-file patches and binary patches interchangeably.

You can use any method you choose to distribute MSP files to clients — an e-mail message, logon script, Microsoft Systems Management Server, and so forth. Users can double-click the MSP file to apply the patch to the local computer, or run the following command line:

msiexec /p [path\name of update MSP file]

Updating clients from a patched administrative image

You can apply a full-file update to an administrative installation point and let Windows Installer perform a recache and reinstallation of Office on users' computers. Recaching and reinstalling replaces the previously cached MSI file on users' computers and overwrites any old files with the newer versions. In an ideal computing environment, Office is recached and reinstalled promptly each time an administrative installation point is patched.

If you can impose a consistent update process throughout your organization, this may be a good method of keeping existing clients up to date with the latest patches. In addition, new clients that install from the administrative image automatically get the updated version — you do not need to chain patches to the core installation.

When there is a delay between updating the administrative image and recaching Office on clients, however, client computers can become out of sync with the administrative image. Operations that rely on the source — such as install on demand or detect and repair — fail because the client does not recognize the updated administrative image, which has a new version of the Office MSI file. Relying on this method of updating clients may require you to set up two administrative images: the patched image for updated clients and an unpatched baseline image for everyone else.

Microsoft recommends this updating strategy only if you:

  • Maintain strong, centralized control over software deployment and lock down user configurations.
  • Support users who have consistent and reliable network access.
  • Support users who are not administrators of their computers and to whom you cannot easily grant elevated privileges for the patching process.
  • Run any Office applications from the source.

You cannot use the Run from Network feature installation setting from a compressed source.

This method requires the following:

  • An edition of Office 2003 that is compatible with the Custom Installation Wizard and other administrative tools (retail editions of Office 2003 do not support these tools).
  • Sufficient network capacity to handle recaching and reinstalling Office throughout an organization.

For more information about deploying Office from an administrative image, see Running Setup from an Installation Image.

Patching an administrative installation point

You must install administrative updates (MSP files) from the command line. On the command line, you run Windows Installer with options to specify the path to the MSI file and the name and path of the MSP file.

The MSI file is the Windows Installer package file from your original administrative image. The MSP file is the Office administrative update file that contains information about the changes in the upgrade. The update instructs Windows Installer to add, update, or remove files in the administrative image.

 Note   Before you update an administrative installation point, make sure that no clients are using the share. If a file on the share is in use during the upgrade process, a newer version of that file is not copied to the administrative installation point.

To apply an update to an Office administrative installation point

  1. Download the self-extracting executable file for the update and double-click the file name to extract the MSP file.

Administrative updates for Office 2003 are made available on the Office Resource Kit Web site.

  1. Connect to the server share for your administrative installation point.

You must have write access to the administrative installation point on the server and the appropriate privileges to carry out the task, including the Change privilege.

  1. On the Start menu, click Run, and then type the Windows Installer command line with the appropriate options for your installation. Use the following syntax:
msiexec.exe /p [path\name of update MSP file]/a 
[path\name of MSI file] /qb /lv* [path\name of log file]

If an update contains multiple MSP files, you must run the command line separately for each MSP file that you apply to the administrative installation point. You cannot reference multiple MSP files on the same command line.

The following table describes the command-line options.

Command-line option Description
Msiexec.exe Executable file name for Windows Installer.
/p Directs Windows Installer to apply an update to an existing installation.
[path\name of update MSP file] Path and file name of the MSP file for the update.
/a Directs Windows Installer to perform an administrative installation of a product on a network share.
[path\name of MSI file] Path and file name of the Windows Installer package for your original administrative image.
/qb Sets the user interface to the basic level (simple progress and error handling).
/lpiwaeo Turns on logging and sets a path for the log file. The default setting /lpiwaeo logs a subset of information, such as error messages and warnings. Use /lv* to log all information.
[path\name of log file] Path and file name of the Windows Installer log file.

Updating client computers

After you update your administrative installation point, you need to perform a recache and reinstallation on all client computers that use the administrative image as a source. Any new client installations from the administrative installation point automatically include the updated version of Office.

To update an existing client installation from an administrative installation point, users need only rerun Setup.exe on the administrative installation point. If the administrative image has been patched, Setup automatically triggers the recache and reinstallation of all Office 2003 applications and features. Unless Setup is set to run in quiet mode, users are prompted to update.

Alternatively, you can distribute the following command line to the clients:

setup.exe REINSTALL=[list of features modified by the update] /qb

In this case, Setup.exe calls Windows Installer to perform the installation and automatically generates log files. You can run this command line by creating a logon script, distributing it as a batch file, deploying it by using SMS, or using other means according to your practice. The options for this command line are described in the following table.

Command-line option Description
Setup.exe Executable file name for Office Setup program.
REINSTALL=[value] Specifies whether to reinstall all applications or only the features affected by the patch. The default REINSTALL=all reinstalls all applications and features in the updated package.
/qb Directs Setup to run in quiet mode.

 Tip   Each update that Microsoft releases includes documentation listing all the features affected by the update. You can minimize the time and network bandwidth needed to update users' computers by setting the REINSTALL property to reinstall only the features modified by the update. Note that the values for REINSTALL shown in the feature list are case sensitive.

Synchronizing independently updated client computers

If you originally installed Office 2003 on a client computer from an administrative installation point, and you update that client directly by applying a binary patch, the client and administrative images become out of sync, which can cause future updates to fail. To synchronize an independently updated client computer to recognize an updated administrative image, users must uninstall Office and reinstall from the updated administrative image.

Related links

The strategies for applying updates to Multilingual User Interface Packs are identical to those for updating the core Office installation. For more information, see Distributing Multilingual User Interface Pack Updates.

Transforms can only be applied when Office is initially installed. You cannot apply transforms when you patch Office. For more information about updating users' configurations after Office is installed, see Updating Feature Installation States and Application Settings.

Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003