Deploying Product Updates from an Administrative Installation Point

After Microsoft® Office XP or Office 2000 is deployed, Microsoft releases product updates that help improve the performance and reliability of Office applications. Although product updates are often developed in response to emerging issues, such as virus attacks, they may also contain bug fixes or updated features.

In the past, administrators who deployed Office from an administrative installation point typically chose to patch the administrative image and then recache and reinstall Office on client computers. This method of keeping clients up-to-date with the latest products and updates is still supported and may work for organizations that have robust network resources and strong centralized control of software deployments.

Use this patching strategy if:

  • Your organization maintains strong, centralized control over software deployment.

For example, you may use a deployment tool such as Systems Management Server or Tivoli to deploy applications to users.

  • You run any Office applications from the source.

If a patch is applied directly to a client computer running an application from the source, the application is downloaded to the local computer and no longer runs from source.

  • You have already established this method of deploying product updates in your organization.

Requirements for this patching strategy include the following:

  • Sufficient network bandwidth

Your network must be able to handle recaching and reinstalling Office on all users’ computers every time the administrative image is patched. Users need fast and reliable access to the source on the network.

  • Elevated privileges

Unless all your users are the administrators of their computers, you must be able to grant them elevated privileges for the update. For more information, see Installations That Require Elevated Privileges.

  • Reliable update processes

This patching strategy works well only when you can impose a consistent update process throughout your organization and can ensure that Office is recached and reinstalled promptly on users’ computers each time the administrative installation point is patched.

The chief drawback of this patching strategy is the risk that clients will delay updating their computers from the patched administrative image and end up out-of-sync with the source. 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.

If you are staging your upgrades over a period of time, you may need to maintain two administrative installation points during the process:

  • The original share to serve as a source for clients who have not yet upgraded.

Until they upgrade, some clients may need access to the original share for install on demand, automatic feature repair, and other services.

  • An updated share from which clients can upgrade to the updated version.

If you need to create administrative installation points in multiple locations, you can copy the folder hierarchy and files from one administrative installation point to additional servers.

 Note   A recommended alternative to this patching method is to maintain the administrative installation point at a baseline level and then deploy either full-file (administrative) or binary (client) patches directly to users. These alternatives avoid the synchronization problems between unpatched clients and a patched source. For more information, see Distributing Office XP Client Updates to Users.

Upgrading an administrative installation point

When Microsoft Office issues a product update, two versions are made available:

  • Administrative (full-file) updates. These can be used to patch an administrative installation point or applied directly to clients. The administrative update is typically a larger file that provides full-file replacement for all changes contained in the update.
  • Client (binary) updates. These patch existing files instead of replacing them. Client updates are designed only for client computers and cannot be used to update an administrative installation point.

When you patch an administrative image, Windows Installer performs a recache and reinstallation of the original version of Office. This process replaces the previously cached MSI file and overwrites any old files with the newer versions. By installing complete files, as opposed to patched files, the administrative update can correctly replace any files on the server that have been modified with Microsoft quick fix engineering (QFE) updates.

On the command line, you run Windows Installer along with options to specify the path to the updated MSI file and the name of the updated 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 on the changes in the upgrade.

The update instructs Windows Installer to add, update, or remove files in the administrative image.

Administrative update files for Office XP are made available on the Office Admin Update Center Web site. The following procedures describe how to apply an update to an administrative installation point.

 Note   Before you update an administrative installation point, make sure that no users 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 installation point.

To apply an update to an Office administrative installation point

  1. Download the self-extracting executable file for the update from the Office Resource Kit Web site and double-click the file name to extract the MSP file.

 Important    Instructions for installing the administrative version of Office XP Service Pack 3 have changed. Instead of double-clicking the EXE file to extract the MSP file, you save the download (the EXE file) in a local folder and then extract the patch and apply it to the administrative image by using a command line. For more information, see Office XP Service Pack 3. You can find this downloadable file on the Office XP Resource Kit Downloads page.

  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.

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

If an update contains multiple MSP files, you will need to 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
[start] Required only for Windows 98 systems where Msiexec is not directly in the path.
Msiexec Executable file name for Windows Installer.
/p Enables 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 Enables 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.
SHORTFILENAMES=TRUE Directs Windows Installer to create all file names and folders with MS-DOS–compatible file names. Required when you run Windows Installer from the command line.
/qb Sets the user interface to the basic level (simple progress and error handling).
/L* Turns on logging and sets a path for the log file. The * flag causes the switch to log all information.
[path\name of log file] Path and file name of the Windows Installer log file.

Updating client computers from an administrative installation point

After you update your administrative installation point, you need to recache and reinstall Office on existing client computers that use the administrative image. Any new client installations from the administrative installation point will automatically receive the updated version of Office.

To update an existing client installation from an administrative installation point, run the following command line on the client computer:

[start] msiexec /i [path to updated .msi 
file on the administrative image] 
REINSTALL=[list of 
features] REINSTALLMODE=vomu

You can run this command line by creating a logon script, distributing it as a batch file, deploying it using Systems Management Server, or using other means according to your practice. The options for this command line are as follows.

Command-line option Description
[start] Required only for Windows 98 systems where Msiexec is not directly in the path.
Msiexec Executable file name for Windows Installer.
/I Enables Windows Installer to apply an update to an existing installation.
[path to updated .msi file on the administrative image] Path and file name of the Microsoft Installer (.MSI) file on the administrative installation point.
REINSTALL=[list of features] Specifies whether you want to reinstall specific features or reinstall all applications on the administrative image.
REINSTALLMODE=vomu Triggers the recache and reinstallation on the client computer.

Customizing Office XP while deploying a product update

If you want to modify your existing installations at the same time as you're deploying a product update, you must plan to carry out the two actions separately. For example, to make changes such as adding applications or changing the installation states of existing Office features, you should first deploy the update, and then proceed with the changes.

To make changes to an existing installation, you can run Office Setup in maintenance mode or take advantage of the Custom Maintenance Wizard to change installation states either before or after an update. For more information about the Custom Maintenance Wizard, see Changing Feature Installation States.

You cannot redeploy a transform (MST file) when you update an existing installation of Office. A transform can only be used to configure Office during the initial installation. If you try to apply a transform against existing installations, the transform is ignored and the existing settings are maintained.

Applying an administrative update under Windows 2000

If your administrative installation point and all of your client computers are running Microsoft Windows 2000, you can use IntelliMirror® technology to manage the installation of an administrative update.

 Note   Be sure to test all software updates in a controlled setting before modifying your administrative installation point or deploying the update throughout your organization.

To deploy a QFE fix or update under Windows 2000

  1. Apply the updates (MSP files) to the original Office administrative installation point.

You will need to 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.

  1. Open the Software Installation snap-in within the Group Policy Object (GPO) that you are using to manage the existing Office installation.
  2. In the details pane, right-click the Office package, point to All Tasks, and click Redeploy application.

The next time the Group Policy Object is applied to the designated users or computers, the updated files are copied to their computers.

 Note   You can redeploy a package only if it is being managed by Group Policy — that is, only if you originally installed it by using IntelliMirror software installation and maintenance or if you brought it into a managed state under Windows 2000.

Related links

Information on specific updates is posted on the Microsoft Office Online home page Web site. Administrators and information technology (IT) professionals can refer to the Office Admin Update Center Web site for details on administrative issues associated with a given update.

Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003