Creating an Administrative Installation Point

One method of deploying a customized version of the Microsoft® Office 2003 client to a large number of users is to create an administrative installation point on a network server and to run Setup from there. This method — the same method used with Office 2000 and Office XP — allows you to do the following:

  • Manage one set of Office files from a central location.
  • Create a standard Office configuration for a group of users.
  • Take advantage of flexible installation options.

For example, you can set Office features to be installed on first use or to run from the network. You can use other deployment tools, such as Microsoft Systems Management Server or Group Policy software installation, to install Office from an administrative installation point.

  • Manage updates of Office by patching a single administrative image.

 Note    Only editions of Office 2003 acquired through a Volume License agreement or other non-retail channel allow you to create an administrative installation point. You cannot run Setup.exe in administrative mode (/a) with an Office 2003 retail edition.

Running Setup to create an administrative image

To distribute Office from a network server, you must first install Office on an administrative installation point by running Setup.exe with the /a command-line option. Then you can customize your Office configuration before running Setup on users' computers.

To create an administrative installation point for Office

  1. Create a share on a network server for the administrative installation point.

The network share must have at least 550 megabytes (MB) of available hard disk space.

  1. On a computer that has write access to the share, connect to the server share.

The computer must be running a supported operating system: Microsoft Windows® 2000 Service Pack 3 or Windows XP or later.

  1. On the Start menu, click Run, and then click Browse.
  2. On the Office 2003 CD, double-click setup.exe and add /a to the command line.

Note that if you are using the Office 2003 Select CD, type the name of the Setup program for the package you are installing. For example, if you are installing Office 2003 Professional from the Select CD, type SetupPro.exe /a on the command line.

  1. Enter the organization name that you want to define for all users who install Office from this administrative installation point.
  2. Enter the server and share you created as the installation location.
  3. Enter the 25-character Volume License Key and click Next.

You must enter a valid Volume License Key when you create the administrative installation point; users who install Office 2003 from this administrative image do not need to enter the product key when they install Office 2003 or start an Office 2003 application for the first time.

  1. Accept the end-user license agreement and click Install.

By accepting the agreement here, you are accepting on behalf of all users who install Office from this administrative installation point.

Setup copies the files from the Office 2003 CD to the administrative installation point, extracts the compressed cabinet (CAB) files, and creates a hierarchy of folders in the root folder of the share.

 Note    When you install Office 2003 and you set features to run from the network (Run from Network or Run All from Network), you must create your administrative installation point in a subfolder on the share; for example, \\server\share\admin_install_point\setup.exe. If Setup.exe is stored at the root of the share, Office 2003 features do not run properly.

The following table identifies the location of key files on the Office 2003 administrative image.

File Location
Setup.exe Root of the administrative image
Setup.ini Files\Setup
Office 2003 package (MSI file) Root of the administrative image
OPC files used to clean up previous versions Files\Program Files\MSOffice\Office11

Setup also modifies the Windows Installer package for Office, identifying it as an administrative installation package and setting the ProductID and COMPANYNAME properties accordingly. After you create the administrative installation point, you make the share available to users by providing them with read access.

When users run Setup to install Office, any Office features that are installed to run from the network use this administrative installation point as the source of Office files, and Office runs the features over the network from this server. Similarly, for features that are set to be installed on first use, Office copies files from this server when needed. If you install features in one of these two states, then you must keep this network server available to users. You can copy the administrative image to one or more backup servers to help ensure that users always have access to the source.

When users install Office from the administrative installation point, Setup uses the organization name that you specify as the default. With the Office 2003 Custom Installation Wizard, you can create a Windows Installer transform (MST file) that modifies the organization name during installation. This flexibility allows you to create different organization names for different groups of users in your organization.

You can specify the organization name on the Setup Properties in the Office Resource Kit Reference.

Toolbox     The Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit (ork.exe) includes the Custom Installation Wizard as part of the core tool set and is available as a download. You can find this downloadable file on the Office 2003 Resource Kit Downloads page.

Copying the administrative image to alternate servers

To help improve source resiliency, you can replicate the administrative installation point to multiple backup servers from which users can install Office — and to which Windows Installer can connect to repair Office features or to install on demand. When you create and identify alternate administrative installation points, users can rely on any one of the installation servers as a source. Windows Installer automatically enumerates the servers on the list until it finds an available one.

As long as you use relative paths for any customizations that include paths, you can copy the complete folder hierarchy and files from one administrative installation point to another server. If you copy the folders, then each new administrative image that you create has the same default organization name and ProductID specified during the administrative Setup.

You list the paths to the servers that contain replicated administrative installation points on the Identify Additional Servers page of the Custom Installation Wizard. You can also identify additional installation servers by setting the SOURCELIST property on the Modify Setup Properties page of the Custom Installation Wizard, in the [Options] section of Setup.ini, or on the command line.

Copying the administrative image onto a CD

If you support users who cannot install or run Microsoft Office over the network, you can copy the entire Office 2003 administrative installation point (including custom Setup.ini or MST files) onto CDs and distribute them to users. For example, if your network is decentralized and some groups work over slow links, you can send a CD to each hub. When traveling users who have limited or inconsistent access to the network need access to the original source to repair Office or to install new features, you can ensure that the source is available by providing custom copies of the Office 2003 administrative image on CD.

In this scenario, the custom CD functions as an interchangeable equivalent to the administrative installation point on the network. Users are not prompted to enter a product key or accept the end-user license agreement when they install Office from your custom CD, because you entered that information for them when you created the original administrative installation point.

When you run Setup with the /a option to create an administrative installation point, however, Windows Installer automatically sets the DISABLEMEDIA property to 1. This property prevents users who install from the administrative image from using any physical media, including your custom CD, as an alternate source.

To allow users to rely on a CD as an alternate resiliency source, set the MSINODISABLEMEDIA property to 1 on the command line or in Setup.ini when you create the administrative installation point. MSINODISABLEMEDIA prevents Windows Installer from setting the DISABLEMEDIA property. For example:


 Important    You must obtain the proper user licenses before copying, modifying, or distributing a customized version of the Office 2003 CD. For more information about volume licensing programs, contact your software reseller or see the Microsoft Licensing Web site.

Storing additional files on the administrative image

The administrative installation point is a logical place to store custom files that you create, including transforms (MST files), custom Setup settings files (INI files), and batch files or shortcuts to Setup.exe. If you are customizing user settings, you can store the Profile Wizard and Office profile settings files (OPS files) in the same location. If you are planning a staged deployment and you use the Custom Maintenance Wizard to create a configuration maintenance file (CMW file) to distribute after your initial deployment, you can store the CMW file on the administrative installation point, too.

If you are chaining additional packages to the Office 2003 installation, storing them on the administrative installation point simplifies file management and replication of the administrative image. For more information about chaining additional packages to the Office installation, see Deploying Office and Other Products Together.

You can deploy the core Office 2003 package and other stand-alone packages — such as Microsoft Office InfoPath™ 2003, Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003, or the stand-alone version of an Office 2003 application — from the same compressed installation image. Storing all the installation files on one image is convenient when you are chaining additional packages to the core Office installation or when you are staging deployment of Office 2003 applications.

When different packages use the same name for the Setup settings file, however, the second Setup.ini file overwrites any existing Setup.ini file on the same image. To avoid this problem, give each Setup.ini file a unique name. When you run Setup, use the /settings option to specify the correct Setup.ini file. Alternatively, you can rename Setup.exe to match the INI file name (for example, ProSetup.exe with ProSetup.ini, and FPSetup.exe with FPSetup.ini).

Specifying an installation point on a Web server

Office 2003 Setup does not support installing from an installation point on a Web server. For security reasons, Microsoft no longer recommends installing any Windows Installer package (MSI file), including Office applications, from an HTTP source. For this reason, you cannot use the /webinstall command-line option to specify an Office 2003 administrative installation point on a Web server. However, you can still use a hyperlink on a Web page to point to an administrative installation point that is hosted on a file server (for example, a UNC path).

Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003