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Deploy Office 2013 by using Group Policy computer startup scripts

 

Applies to: Office 365 ProPlus, Office 2013

Topic Last Modified: 2013-12-18

Summary: Provides information about how to use Group Policy and a computer startup script to install Office 2013.

Audience: IT Professionals

One way that you can deploy Office 2013 is to use a script that installs Office when the computer starts. To deploy this script to a computer, you use Group Policy. Group Policy is a feature of Windows Server and Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and it enables you to create policies to apply standard configurations to computers and users in your organization. For more information about Group Policy, see Group Policy.

One situation in which it makes sense to use a computer startup script to install Office is when users are not local administrators on their computers. To install Office, you must be a local administrator on the computer. Because the startup script runs in the context of the Local System account, the script has the necessary permissions to install Office on the computer.

You might also want to use a computer startup script if you must install Office only on certain computers in your organization or if you want to automate the installation of Office for users.

You can use a computer startup script to deploy a Windows Installer-based (MSI) version of Office, such as Office Standard 2013, or a Click-to-Run version of Office such as Office 365 ProPlus.

ImportantImportant:
You can't use the following in Group Policy to deploy Office 2013:
  • Group Policy Software Installation

  • The "Always install with elevated privileges" Group Policy setting for Windows Installer

This is because the setup architecture for Office 2013 uses multiple .msi files and the Office Setup program is an executable (.exe) file.

In this article:

To use a computer startup script, start by copying the Office product and language files to a central location, such as a network share. All computers on which you want to install Office must be able to reach the network share. Also, Authenticated Users must have Read permissions to the network share.

To deploy a Windows Installer-based (MSI) version of Office 2013, copy the Office product and language files from the installation media to the network share. For more information about how to create a network share to install Office, see Deploy Office 2013 from a network installation point.

NoteNote:
To customize the installation of a Windows Installer-based version of Office, use the Office Customization Tool. For example, you can do this to specify which applications and features are installed. For more information, see Office Customization Tool (OCT) reference for Office 2013.

To deploy a Click-to-Run version of Office, use the Office Deployment Tool to download the Office product and language files to the local network. For more information about how to use the Office Deployment Tool, see Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run.

After you copy the Office product and language files to a network share, create a script that runs Setup from the network share and installs Office on the user's computer. You can write the script in any language that is supported by the client computer. To create scripts, people frequently use Windows Scripts Host-supported languages such as VBScript and Jscript, command files such as batch files, and Windows PowerShell.

Remember that, because the script runs before a user logs in to the computer, you must write the script to perform a silent (unattended) installation of Office that requires no input from the user. For more information about how to perform a silent installation of Office, see the following:

Because the startup script runs every time that the computer starts, the script should check whether Office is already installed on the computer before the script continues.

After you create the script, test that the script works in a controlled test environment before you use the script as a computer startup script in Group Policy.

After you test the installation script, do the following:

To create a Group Policy Object, use the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). By default, only domain administrators, enterprise administrators, and members of the Group Policy creator owners group in AD DS can create and edit GPOs. For more information about how to use the GPMC, see Group Policy Management Console.

One possible configuration is to create an organizational unit (OU) in AD DS and place the computers on which you want to install Office into that OU. Then, create the GPO and link the GPO to that OU.

CautionCaution:
Group Policy enables you to affect configurations across hundreds and even thousands of computers in an organization. Therefore, make sure that you rigorously test all new Group Policy configurations or deployments in a test environment before you move them into a production environment.

After you create the GPO, copy the script to the Startup folder for the GPO on a domain controller for the Active Directory domain. The path of the Startup folder for the GPO is as follows:

%systemroot%\sysvol\domain\Policies\{GPO ID}\Machines\Scripts\Startup

where:

  • %systemroot% is an environment variable that represents the drive and folder where the operating system is installed. For example, c:\windows.

  • {GPO ID} is the unique ID for the GPO. For example, {467FE97D-0A65-4EE1-AE41-EB9A27E7DC7A}. To find the ID for the GPO, select the GPO in the GPMC, and then in the details pane, select the Details tab. The ID is listed as Unique ID on the Details tab.

The GPO and the script are replicated automatically to all domain controllers in the domain.

After you copy the script to the Startup folder for the GPO, configure the GPO to use the script as a computer startup script. To configure the GPO, use the GPMC and follow the steps in the Assign Computer Startup Scripts.

By default, the total time that the system waits for all logon, logoff, startup, and shutdown scripts that are applied by Group Policy to finish running is 600 seconds (10 minutes). If necessary, you can use the "Maximum wait time for Group Policy scripts" Group Policy setting to adjust this time to make sure that the startup script finishes running. The path of this setting in the GPMC, when you edit a GPO, is Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\System\Scripts.

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