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Overview of Setup architecture for Office 2013

Published: July 16, 2012

Summary:  Provides information about the Windows Installer-based Office 2013 Setup architecture.

Applies to:  Office 2013 

Audience: IT Professionals

The Setup architecture in Office 2013, introduced in Microsoft Office 2007, streamlines all aspects of installing, customizing, and maintaining Office.

The Setup program unifies and manages the complete installation process. This includes customizing users' Office configuration, deploying multiple languages at the same time, and applying software updates to new installations. This article provides an overview of the Setup architecture, Setup sequence of events, language-neutral design and deployment of multiple languages, customization methods, required local installation source, and updates process.

The Setup architecture helps administrators manage tasks such as the following more efficiently:

  • Deployment process so that Office is installed in the most efficient way for their environment.

  • Customization of Office so that users get optimal configuration on their computers.

  • Deployment of language-specific features for users who are located in offices around the world.

  • Deployment of Office in a way that makes future maintenance, such as software updates, as efficient as possible.

In versions of Office earlier than Office 2007, a single Office product such as Microsoft Office Standard was contained in a single Windows Installer (MSI) file. An MSI file is a relational database that Windows Installer uses to install a product. As with the Office 2007 and Office 2010, the Office 2013 products consist of multiple MSI files, and no single MSI file represents a complete product. A language-neutral core package (MSI file) is combined with one or more language-specific packages to make a complete product. For example, an Office product such as Office Professional Plus 2013 consists of the core package plus one or more language-specific packages. Setup assembles the individual packages, orchestrates a seamless installation, and handles customization and maintenance tasks during and after installation of Office on users' computers.

Office 2010 introduced native 64-bit versions of Office products to support 64-bit processors, which are becoming the standard for systems ranging from servers to desktop computers. Office 2013 also provides support for 32-bit Office 2013 applications that run on 64-bit Windows operating systems by using Windows-32-on-Windows-64 (WOW64). WOW64 is the x86 emulator that enables 32-bit Windows-based applications to run seamlessly on 64-bit Windows. Office 2013 lets users continue to use existing third-party Office add-ons, which are primarily 32-bit because no 64-bit versions are available yet for many add-ons. Providing support for 32-bit Office 2013 that runs on 64-bit operating systems prevents the 32-bit add-ons from being blocked. For more information about 64-bit editions of Office 2013, see 64-bit editions of Office 2013.

In this article:

Setup process

Typically, the first step in a corporate installation of Office is to create a network installation point, a task as easy as copying all files and folders from the Office product CD to a shared network location. At a minimum, the network installation point contains the language-neutral core package plus language-specific folders for one language. This installation point serves as the initial source for all users who install Office.

In the simplest scenario, you deploy an Office product from the network installation point with one language version and a single set of customizations for all users. Setup handles this scenario automatically. If you deploy multiple products or languages, you can add them to the same network installation point and specify exactly which products and languages to include in the installation. In all these scenarios, Setup performs the same tasks to assemble the correct set of MSI files and complete the installation.

note Note:

The Office 2013 does not let you create an administrative installation point by running Setup with the /a command-line option to extract compressed source files, as was possible with Office versions earlier than the 2007 Office system. All installations now occur from the compressed source.

Setup sequence of events

The basic Setup sequence of events is as follows and occurs in the same order in every deployment scenario:

  1. Run Setup.

  2. Check prerequisites.

  3. Read XML data.

  4. Build the feature tree.

  5. Create a local installation source on the user's computer.

  6. Install Office.

  7. Apply the customization file.

  8. Apply software updates.

Run Setup

Setup.exe is the program that begins all the mechanisms of the installation process. It is located at the root of the network installation point. You run Setup one time for each Office product that you install. When it runs, Setup searches the network installation point for an Office product to install. If the installation point contains more than one Office product, Setup gives the user a choice of products to install.

You can circumvent the selection process and determine which Office product is installed by pointing Setup.exe to the Config.xml file in a core product folder. For example, if you want to install Office Professional Plus 2013, you can use the following command line:

\\server\share\Office15ProPlus\setup.exe /config \\server\share \Office15ProPlus\Pro.WW\Config.xml

where Office15ProPlus is the root of the network installation point.

In versions of Office earlier than Office 2007, Setup.exe called Windows Installer (Msiexec.exe) to install Office. Although Setup still uses Windows Installer, Setup bypasses the Windows Installer executable program. The Msiexec.exe command line cannot be used to install the Office 2013 (or Office 2007 or Office 2010).

note Note:

This version of Setup.exe recognizes only a few command-line options.

Check prerequisites

When Setup starts, it checks for several installation prerequisites. This includes minimum operating system requirements and administrative permissions. A user must be an administrator of the client computer to install Office, or you must use a tool such as Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to run the installation by using elevated permissions.

When you run Setup.exe from the x64 folder, Setup determines whether there are 32-bit Office applications installed. If Setup detects 32-bit Office applications, it displays an error message that informs users that they must first uninstall all 32-bit Office applications if they want to continue with the installation of Office 2013 64-bit. The error lists the installed 32-bit Office applications. If Setup does not detect 32-bit Office applications, it installs the 64-bit edition of Office 2013.

When you run Setup.exe from the x32 folder, Setup determines whether there are 64-bit Office 2013 applications installed. If Setup detects 64-bit Office 2013, an error message is displayed and Setup is blocked. If Setup does not detect 64-bit Office 2013, it installs the 32-bit edition of Office 2013. For more information, see Setup process in 64-bit editions of Office 2013.

note Note:

To install Office on computers where users lack administrative permissions, you must run Setup in a context that provides it with administrative permissions. After Office is installed, users who do not have administrative permissions can run all installed features. This includes installing features on demand.

For example, in organizations where users are not the administrators of their computers, administrators can use the following methods of providing Office Setup with the appropriate permissions:

  • Log on to the computer as an administrator and install Office 2013.

  • Use a software management tool, such as Microsoft Systems Management Server or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

  • Deploy Office 2013 to computers by using Group Policy computer startup scripts.

Read XML data

Setup collects information about each package on the installation point, collects default settings for the installation, and incorporates customizations that you specify. Setup collects all this information in the form of XML data from several sources:

  • Setup.xml and Package.xml files for each package   Each folder on the installation point — both the folder for the language-neutral core package and the folder for each language-specific package — contains a Setup.xml and a Package.xml file (for example, ProPlusWW.xml for Office Professional Plus 2013). Information in these files enables Setup to do the following:

    • Identify a product and the available languages for that product.

    • Match language-neutral and language-specific elements to create complete features.

    • Build a consolidated feature tree.

    • Collect the set of MSI files that are required for the installation.

    note Note:

    The Setup.xml and Package.xml files are signed and cannot be changed. Altering these files causes Setup to fail.

  • Setup customization file   Early in the installation process, Setup determines whether you have specified a Setup customization file (.msp file) for the product that is being installed. A Setup customization .msp file is created when administrators use the Office Customization Tool (OCT) to customize an installation of Office 2013. The OCT is part of the Setup program and is the recommended tool for most customizations. The customization file contains all the modifications that you specify for an installation. This includes customizations that control the installation process.

    The OCT is available in volume licensed versions of Office 2013, Office 2010, and Office 2007. To determine whether your Office 2013 installation is a volume licensed version, check the Office 2013 installation disk to see whether it contains a folder that is named Admin. If the Admin folder exists, the disk is a volume license edition; otherwise, the disk is a retail edition.

    If no customization file is specified on the command line or in the Config.xml file, Setup searches the Updates folder on the installation point for a customization file that is specific to the product that is being installed. By default, the Updates folder is included on the installation point. In most cases, it is the recommended location in which to store both a Setup customization .msp file and software updates for all the Office products included on the installation point.

    Important Important:

    If you plan to deploy multiple Setup customization files (.msp files), you can place only one customization .msp file in the Updates folder for each Office 2013 product that you are installing during the initial installation. Only one Setup customization .msp file (patch) for each Office 2013 product that you are installing is supported in the Updates folder. You must deploy the rest of the customization .msp files for a product after the first Office installation is completed.

    If you are deploying multiple Office 2013 products, such as Office Professional Plus 2013 and Visio Professional 2013, you can include one customization .msp file for Office Professional Plus 2013 and one customization .msp file for Visio Professional 2013 in the Updates folder. The customization .msp files that you place in the Updates folder will be deployed first. Therefore, they must include any Setup customizations that cannot be changed after the installation, for example, the installation location.

    If you are deploying an initial installation of Office 2013 and you also want to deploy Office 2013 software updates, such as service packs and hotfixes, Setup can apply the product updates as part of the installation process. You can place the Office 2013 product updates in the Updates folder. In scenarios such as this where the Updates folder includes both one Setup customization .msp file and product updates, Setup applies only the Setup customization .msp file during the initial installation The product updates are applied after the installation is complete.

    Setup uses XML data that is appended to the customization file to determine how to install the product. For example, it determines whether to run quietly and which features to display in the feature tree. Settings in a customization file overwrite default settings contained in the Setup.xml and Package.xml files.

    For more information about Setup customization files, see Streamlined customization model. For information about how to use the OCT, see Office Customization Tool (OCT) reference for Office 2013.

  • Config.xml file   Each core product folder contains a Config.xml file that directs Setup to install that product. You can edit Config.xml to customize the installation process. For example, you can use elements in Config.xml to specify which products or languages to include in the installation. Settings in Config.xml take precedence over settings in a customization file and default settings that are contained in the Setup.xml and Package.xml files.

    For more information about how and when to edit Config.xml, see Config.xml file reference for Office 2013.

Build the feature tree

Setup uses the information that is contained in the XML files to create a single feature tree that includes all available applications and features in the product. You view the feature tree and specify which applications and features to install on users' computers by using the Office Customization Tool. If you let users run Setup interactively, they view the feature tree, which includes your modifications, in the Setup user interface.

Create a local installation source on the user's computer

Setup calls a program named Office Source Engine (Ose.exe) to create a required local installation source (LIS) on the user's computer. To create the local installation source, Setup copies files from the installation point to a hidden folder on the user's computer. The default location is \MSOCache\All Users at the root of the drive on which Office is installed. Later, Setup uses Windows Installer to install Office from this local installation source.

The local installation source provides several important benefits:

  • After Office is installed, Setup can repair, reinstall, or add Office features by using the local source.

  • Users who apply software updates are less likely to be prompted for a network or CD source because an installation source is available locally.

  • You can deploy the local installation source in advance and trigger the installation of Office on users' computers later to reduce the load on the network. In this scenario, you can even run Setup from the local installation source. This lets users complete the Office installation without using a network connection.

For more information about the local installation source, see Required local installation source.

Install Office

When the installation starts, Setup checks for required disk space and feature dependencies, and then calls Windows Installer to install the correct set of packages (MSI files) on the user's computer from the local installation source. Setup uses the XML data that was described previously to determine which set of MSI files to include. The progress bar that Setup displays to users during the installation takes the whole installation process into consideration. This includes applying customizations and software updates from the Updates folder.

note Note:

Although Setup uses Windows Installer to install Office, Windows Installer alone cannot install the individual MSI files independent of Setup.

Apply the customization file

During the installation process, Setup applies the customization file to the user's configuration. The result resembles the effect of applying a Windows Installer transform (MST file) in earlier versions of Office: your customizations become the default configuration for users. In addition to the XML data that customizes the installation process, the customization file might include default user settings, feature installation states, Outlook profiles, and other modifications to the user's configuration.

Customization files are product-specific; Setup applies only those files that are relevant to the product being installed.

note Note:

If you plan to deploy multiple Setup customization .msp files (patches), you can place only one Setup customization .msp file for each Office 2013 product in the Updates folder for an initial installation. You must deploy the rest of the customization .msp files after the Office installation is complete. Only one customization file for each product patch in the Updates folder is supported. The customization .msp file that you place in the Updates folder will be deployed first. Therefore, it must include any Setup customizations that cannot be changed after the installation, for example, the installation location.

If you create different configurations for different groups of users, we recommend that you store the customization files in another location and then use the /adminfile option on the Setup command line to specify the file that you want. For example:

\\server\share\Office15\setup.exe /adminfile \\server\share\Office15\MyUpdates\Engineering.msp

where Office15 is the root of the network installation point.

note Note:

When you precache the local installation source, Setup copies the Updates folder from the network installation point to the local installation source. In this manner, your customizations can be included in offline installation scenarios. This is the only circumstance in which Setup caches the customization file on the local computer before the installation.

For more information, see Precache the local installation source for Office 2010. The information also applies to Office 2013.

Apply software updates

At the end of the installation process, Setup checks the Updates folder on the installation point for software updates (.msp files). Unlike Setup customization files that you create by using the Office Customization Tool, software updates are distributed by Microsoft to enhance the product.

If you are deploying Office to users and you also have to deploy a set of software updates, Setup can apply the updates as part of the initial installation process. Costing (estimated required disk space) and progress bar indicators all take this step of the installation process into consideration. From a user's perspective, the complete process is a single event. This model preserves the original installation point and still lets you give new users the most up-to-date version of the product.

note Note:

The Updates folder is used only for initial or new installations of Office 2013. The Updates folder can contain only one Setup customization .msp flle, and multiple service packs and hotfixes that are in .msp format only.

For more information about the software update process, see Consolidated update process.

Including more than one product on the installation point

If the network installation point contains more than one Office 2013 product, Setup searches all folders and subfolders for Config.xml and Setup.xml files and then prompts the user to select a product to install.

If you are installing more than one Office product, it is more efficient to store all the products on the same installation point and then customize Setup to install a specific Office product on users' computers.

note Note:

When you copy multiple Office products to the same installation point, you might be prompted to overwrite shared Setup files. Because these files are duplicated among all Office 2013 products, you do not have to recopy any of the duplicate folders. When you are prompted to overwrite duplicate Setup files, choose No. This efficient design saves space and ensures consistency when you create and replicate network installation points.

Running Setup interactively

You can choose to run the installation quietly so that users see little or none of the process. However, if you let users view the Setup user interface, the choices that you make affect several aspects of Setup behavior. For example:

  • If more than one Office product is available on the installation point and a user runs Setup.exe without command-line options, Setup gives the user a choice of products to install.

  • If more than one language is available on the installation point, Setup matches the language of Office to the Windows user locale on the user's computer. This is by default. However, if a user selects the Customize installation option, the Languages tab in the Setup interface gives the user a choice of all available languages on the network installation point.

  • If you enter a product key and accept the Microsoft Customer License Terms in the customization file or Config.xml, those Setup screens are not displayed to the user during Setup.

    note Note:

    A product key entry is not required for enterprise deployments that use Key Management Service (KMS) activation because all Volume License editions of Office 2013 have a KMS client key pre-installed. KMS is one of the methods that are provided by Office Activation Technologies for activating products that are licensed under Microsoft Volume Licensing programs. A prompt for a product key does not occur for Volume License editions of Office 2013, even when Setup runs in interactive mode. For more information about volume activation, see Plan volume activation of Office 2013.

  • If you use a customization file to hide and lock certain features, those features are not displayed in the feature tree.

To learn more about how to customize display settings, see Customize Setup before installing Office 2013.

Language-neutral design

In Office 2013 (and in Office 2010and Office 2007), an Office product such as Office Professional Plus 2013 is organized as follows:

  • Language-neutral elements are grouped in one core package (MSI file).

  • Language-specific elements are organized in separate packages by application.

This arrangement of files simplifies international deployments. The most basic installation of an Office product consists of the core package plus one language. Adding more languages is as easy as copying additional Single Language Packs (SLPs) to the network installation point — all work with the core product in exactly the same way. All language versions of Office, including the English version, are deployed in the same manner. Setup combines the language-neutral core package with the language-specific packages in a seamless installation process.

Important Important:

The current Office 2013 release includes English, Japanese, and Spanish language sources only. Later releases will provide additional languages.

Language versions of Office

Every Office product must include at least one set of language-specific packages. You cannot deploy just the core package (MSI file) by itself. On the Office product CD and the network installation point, these language packages are contained in folders. Each folder name includes a language tag, in the form ll-cc (for example, en-us for English U.S.), that identifies the language. Each folder also contains a set of installation files.

For example, the Office Professional Plus 2013 product is spread out among the files in these folders. Elements that are not specific to any language, such as Winword.exe (the executable file for Word 2013), are located in the core ProPlus.WW package. Other elements, such as Help and the user interface for Word 2013, are located in the appropriate language-specific package for Word or for shared Office features.

Both language-neutral and language-specific elements are required to make a functionally complete feature. Winword.exe by itself does not represent a Word application that anyone can use. Similarly, the core Office Professional Plus 2013 MSI file in the ProPlus.WW folder does not represent a complete Office product.

Setup assembles all these parts into a whole product. The Package.xml and Setup.xml files in each folder contain information that Setup uses to assemble complete features, build a consolidated feature tree, and collect the correct set of MSI files for the installation. After collecting the XML data and assembling the required MSI files, Setup uses Windows Installer to install Office on the user's computer. From a user's perspective, this process happens automatically and seamlessly.

You cannot deploy a specific application in Office 2013 by detaching the language-specific folder that contains the individual MSI file, such as the Word.en-us folder. However, you can determine which applications and features are installed on users' computers by customizing the installation.

note Note:

None of the MSI files on an Office installation point can be installed independently by using Windows Installer or any other method. Also, none of the digitally signed XML files (Setup.xml and Package.xml) can be edited or altered. In Office 2013, Setup is required to collect the files and installation information and to orchestrate the installation process.

Language packs for Office

Language-specific packages are used in two contexts: in the language version of an Office product, and in the Single Language Pack (SLP) for that language. For example, the Japanese version of Office Professional Plus 2013 includes a language-specific folder for each application and for shared features in Office Professional Plus 2013. The same folders are included in the Japanese SLP, which includes language-specific folders for other products in Office 2013.

Language packs can be deployed as separate products, or they can be used to deploy an Office product in multiple languages. You are not required to enter a unique product key for language packs, whether you are deploying them separately or as part of the installation of another product.

note Note:

In versions of Office earlier than the Office 2007, enterprise customers added languages by deploying Multilanguage User Interface (MUI) packs after a U.S. English version of Office was installed. Localized versions, such as the Japanese version of Office Standard Edition, were not identical to the core version with a Japanese MUI pack. This design was simplified and improved in Office 2007 and is the same in Office 2013 and Office 2010.

Streamlined customization model

In versions of Office earlier than Office 2007, several tools were required to customize Setup and to manage Office after installation. Office 2007 introduced a consistent, streamlined model. In Office 2013 (as in the Office 2007 and Office 2010), administrators can use Setup to install, customize, and manage Office. To enforce specific user and computer settings, administrators can use Group Policy (see Using Group Policy).

Using the Office Customization Tool

You customize an Office installation by using the Office Customization Tool, a component of Setup, which is included in volume licensed versions of Office 2013 client. Start the OCT by running Setup with the /admin command-line option. By using the OCT, create a Setup customization file (.msp file), which you place in the Updates folder in the network installation point. The Updates folder is used only for initial or new installations of Office 2013 (and Office 2010 and Office 2007), and only one customization patch in the Updates folder is supported.

A Setup customization file is an expanded form of a Windows Installer .msp file. Each file is configured for a specific product, such as Office Professional Plus 2013 or OneNote 2013. When you run Setup to install an Office product, Setup looks in the Updates folder for a customization file that corresponds to the product that you are installing. As Setup installs the product, it applies the customizations from this file.

You can create more than one Setup customization file to configure Office for different groups of users. When you run Setup, you specify the appropriate customization file to use for each installation by using the Setup command-line option /adminfile, or by using Config.xml (see Using the Config.xml file to customize Office).

For complete details on how to use the OCT to create a Setup customization file, see Office Customization Tool (OCT) reference for Office 2013.

Customizing a new installation

By using a Setup customization file that you create with the OCT, you can modify the way Setup installs Office on a user's computer the first time. For example, the OCT lets you customize Office in the following ways:

  • Direct Setup to run without user interaction (quietly).

  • Predefine the product key and accept the Microsoft Software License Terms on behalf of the user.

  • Specify where you want to install Office files on the user's computer.

  • Choose whether to remove earlier versions of Office before you install the Office 2013.

    note Note:

    We recommend that enterprise customers first uninstall any earlier versions of Office before they install Windows Installer-based Volume License editions of Office 2013.

  • Determine which Office features are installed.

  • Specify the default values for many user options, including Outlook settings.

note Note:

Office 2013 does not support side-by-side installations of 64-bit and 32-bit Office, including across applications. For example, there is no support for side-by-side installations of the 2007 Office system 32-bit with Office 2013 64-bit, or for Access 2013 64-bit and Excel 2013 32-bit. You cannot use the Office 2013 customization tools to configure side-by-side installations or customizations of 64-bit and 32-bit Office. For example, you cannot create a custom side-by-side installation by using 64-bit Office Professional 2013 and 32-bit Visio 2013 single image. For more information about 64-bit Office 2013, see 64-bit editions of Office 2013.

For information about how to customize Setup, see Customize Setup before installing Office 2013.

Making changes to an existing Office installation

If you have to change an existing Office installation, use the same tool that you used to customize the original installation: Run the OCT to update a Setup customization file or to create a new one. Then apply the customization file to the user's computer exactly as you would a software update. The user's existing Office installation will be updated with your customizations. This means that the customizations that are available when you install Office are also available when you change Office after installation.

note Note:

There are some customizations that Setup applies only when you are installing Office for the first time. These include the following: specifying where you can install Office on the user's computer, defining the product key, and removing earlier versions of Office applications. The OCT identifies the customizations that apply only to a new installation.

Using the Config.xml file to customize Office

You can use the Config.xml file to change your Office installation. You can customize most of the same options that you can with the Office Customization Tool, including some additional options that are not available in the OCT.

Using the Config.xml file is the recommended method for performing the following installation tasks:

  • Instructing Setup to copy the local installation source to the user's computer without installing Office.

  • Specifying the path of the network installation point.

  • Selecting the product or language to install.

  • Changing where Setup looks for Setup customization files and updates.

  • Making last-minute or one-off customizations that do not warrant running the OCT to create a new customization file.

If you put the Config.xml file in the same folder as Setup.exe, Setup finds and uses the file. You can also specify the location of the file by using the /config Setup command-line option.

note Note:

If you specify both a Setup customization file and the Config.xml file, the customizations that you define in Config.xml take precedence over the same customizations in the customization file.

For a complete description of the contents and format of the Config.xml file, see Config.xml file reference for Office 2013.

Using Setup command-line options

Setup recognizes only a few command-line options in the Office 2013. This is the same as for Office 2007 and Office 2010. The OCT is the primary tool to configure Setup properties and specify other customizations.

You can use Setup.exe commands to perform the following tasks:

  • Run the Office Customization Tool to create a Setup customization (.msp) file.

  • Apply the specified Setup customization file to the installation. For example, you can specify a path of a specific customization file (.msp file) or to the folder where you store customization files.

  • Specify the Config.xml file that Setup uses during the installation.

  • Run Setup in maintenance mode and change an existing Office installation.

  • Run Setup to repair the specified product from the user's computer.

  • Run Setup to remove the specified product from the user's computer.

For more information about the Setup.exe commands, see Setup command-line options for Office 2010. The information also applies to Office 2013. For information about Windows Installer properties that were used in earlier versions of Office, and about properties that can be used when you install Office 2013, see Setup properties in Office 2010. The information also applies to Office 2013

Using Group Policy

Administrators can use Group Policy settings to define and maintain an Office configuration on users' computers. Group Policy is used to configure the Office 2013 policy settings that are contained in Administrative Templates, and the operating system enforces those policy settings. In an Active Directory environment, administrators can apply policy settings to groups of users and computers in a site, domain, or organizational unit to which a Group Policy object is linked. True policy settings are written to the approved registry keys for policy, and these settings have access control list (ACL) restrictions that prevent people who are not administrator users from changing them. This allows administrators to create highly restricted or lightly managed configurations.

Administrators can use policy settings for the Office 2013 applications to manage most options that configure the Office user interface. These include the following:

  • Menu commands and their corresponding toolbar buttons

  • Shortcut keys

  • Most options in the Options dialog box

note Note:

Most of the Office 2013 policy settings are also available in the OCT (OPA settings). To configure initial default settings in a Setup customization .msp file, administrators can use the OCT. However, users can change most of the settings after the installation. Use Group Policy if you want to enforce specific configurations. Group Policy settings have precedence over OCT settings.

Required local installation source

In Office 2013, Setup creates a local installation source on the user's computer as part of the default installation process. Setup installs all Office 2013 products in a two-step process. First, Setup copies compressed installation source files to the user's computer. Second, Setup calls Windows Installer to perform the actual installation from the local installation source. After the installation is complete, the local installation source remains available for any Setup operations that require access to an original source. Minimum disk space requirements include the local installation source.

note Note:

In Office 2003, large organizations typically installed the product from an administrative installation point. Installing Office from a local installation source was optional. However, In the Office 2013,and in Office 2010 and Office 2007, the administrative installation option no longer exists. The local installation source is a required part of the design.

The local installation source makes the distribution of software updates process more efficient and reliable. Neither the network installation point nor the user's local installation source is ever updated directly. Users' installations remain synchronized when they apply the client version of software updates.

Additional benefits of having a complete installation source always available on the local computer include the following:

  • You can deploy the local installation source to users before they install Office. This minimizes the effect on the network and makes sure that all users install the product and begin to use Office 2013 applications at the same time.

  • Users can perform maintenance tasks, such as applying software updates, without being prompted for their Office CD or a network source.

  • Traveling users, or users who have slow or intermittent network connections, can run Setup without access to the network if they have a local installation source that was installed in advance.

These benefits come at minimal cost. Although the local installation source does use some hard disk space, creating the local installation source and installing Office takes approximately the same time as installing Office by itself.

Creating a local installation source on users' computers

When users install Office from a DVD or from a network installation point, Setup creates the local installation source by using a program called the Office Source Engine (Ose.exe) to copy required installation files to a hidden folder on the local computer. The default location is \MSOCache\All Users at the root of the drive on which Office is installed.

Each package that consists of an Office product, both the language-neutral core package and one or more language-specific packages, has a separate download code. The package is cached in the subfolder under MSOCache\All Users. Setup always caches a complete local installation source, which includes all the files that are associated with the product that is being installed. If the installation point includes multiple languages, Setup caches only the packages for the languages that are installed on the user's computer.

When additional Office products are installed on the user's computer, those products are cached in the same local installation source.

note Note:

If a user installs a second Office product on a different drive, Setup creates a second local installation source at the root of that drive. In this scenario, shared files might be duplicated between the two local installation sources. However, this design makes sure that each local installation source is complete and functions correctly.

Users cannot unintentionally delete the local installation source or remove it by using the Setup user interface or the Windows Disk Cleanup Wizard. If the MSOCache folder is deleted or corrupted, Setup automatically re-creates or repairs the folder the next time that a source is required. If users do not have sufficient disk space, they are prompted to free up space. You can rely on the fact that every user has access to a source when you distribute new updates or customizations.

note Note:

Once the local installation source is created, its location on the user's computer is fixed. Unless the user specifies a different drive, additional Office products installed later are always added to the existing MSOCache\All Users folder.

Deploying the local installation source by itself

Because Setup performs the installation of Office from the local installation source, you can minimize the demand on the network by deploying the installation source beforehand. For example by using your usual method for running Setup on users' computers, you can distribute the local installation source to one group of users at a time. After all users have a precached source, you can have everyone run Setup to install Office at the same time. In this scenario, most of the installation activity occurs on the local computer instead of over the network.

For more information, see Precache the local installation source for Office 2010. This information also applies to Office 2013.

You can also run Setup directly from the local installation source on the local computer. Running Setup locally means that no activity, even loading Setup files and reading metadata, occurs over the network. In this scenario, you must identify the subfolder in MSOCache\All Users that contains the core product that you want to install. Each core product subfolder contains a copy of the Setup program, and running Setup from a specific folder installs that product. This method lets users install Office without relying on a network connection.

For more information, see Install Office 2010 from local installation source. This information also applies to Office 2013

Consolidated update process

In versions of Office earlier than Office 2007, you made several choices to make sure that client computers received the latest Office software updates and that client computers did not become out of sync with the administrative installation point. You might have configured Setup to chain software updates with new installations of Office, or you might have applied updates to the administrative installation point and reinstalled Office on all the client computers.

The architecture that was introduced in Office 2007 makes this process much simpler. In Office 2013, Office 2010, and Office 2007, you create a network installation point that you never have to update. Instead, a simple copy operation makes software updates available for new installations. You update existing installations independent of the network installation point so you do not have to worry about keeping client computers synchronized with the installation source.

Applying Office updates during new installations

When you obtain Office software updates from Microsoft, copy the updates into the Updates folder in the root of the network installation point. The existing files in the network installation point remain the same as when you first copied them from the Office CD.

note Note:

You can use the Updates folder to incorporate the installation of updates with an initial installation of the Office 2013 products. Only Windows Installer update files that are contained in this folder are installed with the initial installation. Therefore, you must extract the updates from Microsoft Self-Extractor packages. You can also place a Setup customization .msp patch in the Updates folder to customize initial installations.

When you run Setup to install Office on a client computer, Setup looks in the Updates folder for software updates and incorporates the updates automatically as it installs Office. If there are multiple updates in the folder, Setup applies only those updates that are targeted at the Office product being installed. If the Updates folder includes both a Setup customization .msp file (patch) and product updates, Setup applies only the Setup customization .msp file with the initial installation and the product updates are applied after the installation is completed. Setup also applies the updates in the correct sequential order. The result is that the user receives the latest updates with the new installation of Office.

Tip Tip:

To direct Setup to look for software updates in a folder other than the Updates folder, use the SetupUpdates element in the Config.xml file. For more information, see SetupUpdates element in Config.xml file reference for Office 2013.

Updating existing Office installations

After Office is installed, you apply software updates directly to the client computer without returning to the network installation point. You do this through a deployment management program such as Microsoft Systems Management Server or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, by using Windows Server Update Services, or by updating computers directly from the Internet by using Microsoft Update.

note Note:

After Office is installed on a client computer, a reinstallation of Office reapplies only those software updates that were applied during the original installation. If you copied new software updates in the Updates folder, they will not be applied during the reinstallation.

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