Deploy the 2007 Office system with limited network capacity

Updated: November 16, 2006

Applies To: Office Resource Kit

This Office product will reach end of support on October 10, 2017. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see , Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.


Topic Last Modified: 2008-10-14

If you are deploying 2007 Microsoft Office system in an environment with limited network resources, the Setup architecture in the 2007 Office release allows you to minimize the demand on the network and still ensure that all users install the new version at exactly the same time.

For example, perhaps you have distant branch offices that connect to your corporate network over a limited or expensive wide area network (WAN). Or you have a higher capacity corporate network that supports thousands of users. If you distribute Office by using a typical log-on script, and 10,000 users access the network at the same time, they might have to wait too long for 500 MB of installation files to travel across the network.

In these types of environments, you can distribute the Office source files to users over time. Once your targeted user groups have a local installation source deployed on their computers, you can schedule a simultaneous installation of Office without overtaxing your corporate network.

This deployment strategy works because Setup always installs 2007 Office release products in two stages. First, Setup copies all required installation files from the network installation point to a hidden folder on the local computer. Second, Setup calls Windows Installer to perform the installation from each user's local installation source. Separating these two phases of the process allows you to manage the load on the network more efficiently.

You configure Office before you distribute the local installation source. To specify most user configuration options, you run the Office Customization Tool to generate a Setup customization file (MSP file). The recommended location in which to store customization files is the Updates folder at the root of the network installation point.

For some customizations, such as specifying additional languages, you must edit the Config.xml file for the product you are installing. You also edit the Config.xml to specify that Setup deploy only the local source.

When your customizations are complete, you run Setup to distribute the local installation source to one group of users at a time. You can use any distribution method, such as a log-on script, a batch file, or another deployment tool such as Microsoft Systems Management Server. In the precache scenario only, Setup copies the Updates folder from the network installation point to the local source. All your customizations are included in the local source.

Setup also includes a copy of itself in the local installation source. After your targeted users have a local installation source on their computers, you can trigger Setup to run from the local source and complete the installation at the scheduled time. The installation, including application of your customizations and software updates, happens locally with no file transfers or any other activity over the network.

When Setup installs Office from the local installation source, it does not return to the original network installation point to look for new customization files or software updates. Only the files cached in the local installation source on the user’s computer are applied. If you make additional customizations or add new software updates to the network installation point after you precache the local source, you must distribute them separately, after Office is installed.