Important Concepts and Issues

Published : November 11, 2004

This section is an overview of the technology issues related to Office 2003 deployment with SMS. It is important to understand the concepts needed to deploy and update Office 2003 source files before you deploy Office 2003 with SMS 2003. You must also understand the strategies available after deployment to ensure that Office 2003 source files remain available to client computers.

The deployment of Office 2003 is very similar to the deployment of Office XP. The two main differences are that Office 2003 does not require System File Updates (SFU) and that Office 2003 can take advantage of Local Installation Source (LIS) for maintaining Office 2003 source files for install on demand and self repair.

Office 2003 only supports Windows 2000 operating systems and later. Because Windows 2000 operating systems and later include functionality to update system files, SFU is not included in Office 2003.

On This Page

Package Definition Files
Multilingual User Interface Packs
Windows Installer Versions
Windows Installer Transform Files
Windows Installer Updates
How Office 2003 is Updated
Using the Windows Installer Install on Demand Feature
Using the SMS Administrative Rights Installation Context
Office Resource Kit Tools
Office 2003 CD and Administrative Installation Source Issues
Using the Office 2003 Local Installation Source
Using Resilient Sources

Package Definition Files

A package definition file (.sms) is a file that contains the SMS definitions necessary to create an SMS package. SMS uses packages to distribute software such as Office 2003.

Office 2003 includes two main package definition files that you can use as a template to install any combination of Office 2003 suites.

Table  2   File Names and Descriptions

File name



For all Office 2003 product suites


For the Office 2003 Multilingual User Interface Packs

Microsoft updates these files as improvements are made. You can obtain the most recent package definition files from the Office 2003 Resource Kit Package Definition Files Web page at

In Office 2003, package definition file files have .sms extensions, and contain one .sms file for Office 2003 and one .sms file for Office 2003 multi-language deployments.

To access the package definition file files, install the Office 2003 Resource Kit.

Multilingual User Interface Packs

You can install, customize, and maintain a single version of Microsoft Office 2003 that meets your organization’s multilingual needs. The plug-in language features in Office 2003 and Office multilingual resources , such as the Multilingual User Interface Pack, allow users in international locales to work in their own languages. Users can also use a localized version of Office for the language needs of a select locale.

Deploying Microsoft Office 2003 with the Microsoft Office 2003 Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI Pack) is typically a straightforward process. You can easily include one or more MUI Packs with your Office deployment by using several methods, including package dependencies. For additional information about Office 2003 MUI Packs files, go to the Office 2003 Worldwide Deployment Web page at

Windows Installer Versions

Several different versions of Microsoft Installer are currently in use. Table 3 is a list of the different versions and their delivery vehicles.

Table  3   Windows Installer Versions

Windows Installer Version


Windows Installer 1.0

Included with Office 2000.

Windows Installer 1.1

Included with Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Professional.

Windows Installer version 2.0

Included with Windows XP Professional. Also provided as a separate installable component from for earlier versions of the operating systems.

Office 2003 requires Windows Installer 1.1 or later. Because Microsoft Windows 2000 includes Windows Installer 1.1, no Windows Installer update is required for computers running Microsoft Windows 2000.

Windows Installer version 2.0 fixes a number of problems in prior versions (including the ability to read source from an uncompressed source if installed from a compressed source, or vice versa). It is highly recommended that client computers be upgraded to this version prior to deployment of Office 2003.

Windows Installer Transform Files

A Windows Installer transform (.mst) file provides configuration settings for a customized Office 2003 installation. A transform file contains information about components, features, setup properties, and changes that you can use to customize your Office 2003 installation. For example, if there are groups of computers in your organization that all require Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel to be installed locally, but Microsoft Access and Microsoft PowerPoint® are set to install on demand, you can use a single transform file to configure the installation state you want for that entire collection.

The Office Resource Kit includes a tool called the Custom Installation Wizard that lets you change particular Office 2003 installation settings and create an .mst file. This file is then distributed with the source files for Office 2003, so that the modified settings override the default values in Windows Installer when the installation is initiated on the client.

Windows Installer Updates

Windows Installer update files allow the binary content of a Windows Installer installation to be changed without having to distribute an entirely new Windows Installer file. Office 2003 hotfixes and service packs use Windows Installer administrative update files.  

Windows Installer uses an administrative update file to modify local or administrative installations. An administrative update is a file with an .msp extension that can contain a modified version of any component in the original .msi file. An administrative update might contain a portion of the binary information for a particular component. Therefore, in most cases, the administrative update relies on the original installation .msi file to be available when the patch is applied.

There are two types of Windows Installer updates that Office 2003 can use:

  • Administrative updates

  • Client updates, or binary patches

Administrative Updates

Administrative updates provide full-file replacement of all files changed by a service pack or product update. They can be used to update an administrative installation point, but you can also apply them directly to client computers. You download administrative updates from the Office Resource Kit Web site. However, you cannot use administrative updates with SMS 2003 for patch management.

Administrative updates apply the Windows Installer update to the original Windows Installer source (the source on the SMS distribution points or, for most deployments, Windows Installer source servers). An advantage of this method is that it permits new client installations of Office to install the latest update components without needing separate distributions of updates. A disadvantage of this method is that clients that have not been instructed to install the new update cannot use this source for maintenance operations such as adding, removing, or repairing an installation until they have synchronized with the latest source. This is because the original Windows Installer source is changed (the package code of Windows Installer is changed). As a result, there is a risk that clients with Office installations can become orphaned, unable to run repair operations from the source, until they are instructed to apply the update. However, correct deployment of updates using SMS software updates can mitigate this risk considerably.

Binary Patches

Client updates, or binary patches, are applied directly to the client computer and update, rather than replace, Office files. You can manually download binary patches from the Office Update Web site. However, you can apply binary patches with SMS 2003 using its software update functionality.

A client update is the distribution of the actual .msp file to individual client computers without changing the original source on the server. One advantage of this is that the server Windows Installer source remains valid for both patched and non-patched clients for maintenance operations. As a result, users do not experience problems using Office 2003. One disadvantage of this method is that new client installations receive only the original non-patched Office version. They still need to receive the specific patch distributions to upgrade to the required Office component level. However, if the patches are being targeted using SMS software inventory information, then the upgrade occurs with no administrator intervention. However, additional client programs must run and a delay occurs in upgrading the client Office installation to its required state. As a result, client patching requires more SMS administrator overhead than administrative patching.

In most situations, the original Windows Installer source is required when you are applying a patch. For reliable patching, the original source should always be available when applying a client patch.

How Office 2003 is Updated

An Office update file is a packaged file that contains the .msp files for the update. Client updates also include the OHotFix patching program and .ini file. You can use SMS software update functionality to download and apply Microsoft Office updates, or you can manually download and apply Microsoft Office updates to clients in your organization.

SMS Software Updates

Using the software updates features in SMS, you can centrally manage Office client updates for your entire organization. Using SMS you can:

  • Scan client computers to determine the versions of installed Office applications

  • Download required client updates with SMS 2003

  • Authorize updates

  • Deploy the updates to a collection of client computers with the Distribute Software Updates Wizard

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    Complete documentation about how to use SMS to manage Office updates is beyond the scope of this white paper. You can find more information about this topic in the Scenarios and Procedures for Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003:  Software Distribution and Patch Management document available from the Systems Management Server 2003 Product Documentation Web page at

Office Updates

An Office update that is downloaded from the Office Web site is a file that contains one or more Windows Installer patch files and a file (ohotfix.exe) to apply them. The update file can be for an administrative update or a client update. Both types of updates must be manually applied. The correct type of patch must be used for the appropriate installation. For more information about these issues, see the Distributing Office XP Client Updates to Users Web page at Information at this Web page applies to both Office XP and Office 2003.

Windows Installer patches are used for distributing both Office 2003 Public Updates and service pack components. In fact, an Office 2003 service pack includes all previously released Public Update patches, in addition to new fixes. However, service packs are particularly important for patch management because they apply a new baseline for the installed components against which future Public Updates (individual patches) are applied. To apply an individual Office public update, the appropriate service pack for the patch must already be applied to the original Office source.

Using the Windows Installer Install on Demand Feature

Windows Installer Install on Demand allows Office 2003 features to be installed when the user selects them. Install on Demand is configured in the Custom Installation Wizard by selecting the Install on first use option for the specific applications.

The following are advantages of using Install on Demand:

  • Less disk space is required initially on the client computer.

  • Peak network bandwidth utilization is potentially decreased because Windows Installer components are copied over a longer period of time instead of simultaneously.  

A disadvantage of using Install on Demand is that the original Windows Installer source must be accessible at the time that the Office 2003 feature is selected. Install on Demand is not a good choice for mobile laptop computers when the Windows Installer source is not stored locally on the computer.  

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Install on Demand applications generate status messages when SMS runs the Office 2003 installation for the first time. However, SMS does not generate status messages when the user initiates the Install on Demand installation (after the initial installation) because later Office 2003 component installations are not initiated via the SMS client.

You can customize and extend the basic methods of installing Office 2003 on clients to help support your specific deployment needs. After you run Install on Demand Setup, you can send additional Office 2003 Setup command lines to clients to trigger the installation of a specific Office 2003 program. This can be helpful if you want to stage your Office 2003 deployment.

For example, you might want to install the full version of Word and Excel on clients, but make PowerPoint and Access available for installation on first use. By setting some of the programs to install on first use, the network bandwidth required at initial deployment time is reduced, and setup time for users is faster. However, in this case, SMS status is not generated in this case.

Later, if you want complete versions of PowerPoint and Access installed on all clients, you can send an additional setup command line program to accomplish this using SMS.  In this case, SMS status is generated because SMS initiated the action.

For additional information about Office 2003 features and Install on Demand, see the Microsoft Office 2003 Resource Kit.

Using the SMS Administrative Rights Installation Context

The Run with administrative rights option on the Environment tab of the Program Properties dialog box ensures that a different user context is used with Administrative credentials, if the user is a low-rights user. This option ensures that low rights users can complete Office 2003 installations. The Administrative context of the local Administrator Account on the client computer is maintained until the computer restarts. Advanced Clients running the program do so using the Local System Account.

For additional information about the security context of a program’s properties, read the Scenarios and Procedures for Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003:  Software Distribution and Patch Management document available from the Systems Management Server 2003 Product Documentation Web page at

Office Resource Kit Tools

This section describes the following tools for deploying Office 2003 with SMS that are included in the Microsoft Office 2003 Resource Kit:

  • Custom Installation Wizard

  • Office Profile Wizard

Custom Installation Wizard

The Custom Installation Wizard is automatically installed on your computer when you install the Office 2003 Resource Kit. You can use the Custom Installation Wizard to interactively build your transform files.

You can use the Custom Installation Wizard to make changes to the master installation in an .mst file without altering the original Office 2003 source files. Because the original package is never altered, you can create a different transform file for every installation scenario you have. When you run setup with both the package and the transform file, Windows Installer applies the transform file to the original package, and Setup uses your .mst file to obtain the configuration for the installation. All of this can be done without building a new package, which minimizes bandwidth usage.

Office Profile Wizard

You can use the Microsoft Office Profile Wizard to save configuration settings for Office 2003 applications. These settings are saved in a profile settings file (.ops), which is a snapshot of registry settings and related files for an Office user configuration. Using the Profile Wizard, deployment experts can further configure the deployment of Office 2003 to include a wide range of settings. These settings are more detailed than the Custom Installation Wizard. For example, the Profile Wizard allows an administrator to configure a test system. The Profile Wizard then collects the registry information as the administrator configured it, and the resulting .ops file is embedded in an .mst file.

Using the Profile Wizard, the administrator can create a virtual image of the Office 2003 installation as it should be configured when it is deployed. With the Profile Wizard, the administrator captures all settings that represent a combination of registry settings and files providing a specific user with a customized working environment. Typical customizations are the use and alignment of toolbars, common menu options, and language or tool visibility. Many customizations are set in the Tools, Options or Tools, Customize menu option of most Office applications.

Office 2003 CD and Administrative Installation Source Issues

The type of Windows Installer source used for an Office 2003 installation depends on how you install Office 2003. When Office 2003 is installed using Setup from the CD or a network share, it uses the Windows Installer compressed source. When Office 2003 is installed from an administrative installation point created by running setup /a, it uses an uncompressed source.

The Office Windows Installer source types from these two types of sources are not compatible with each other. As a result, if you use a different source type after installation, your installation either fails or Office 2003 is uninstalled and then reinstalled from the new source type. This problem typically occurs when Office 2003 has been installed directly from an Office 2003 CD, but then an update to the Office 2003 installation is distributed that references an administrative installation point source. This issue is fixed with Windows Installer version 2.0.

You can avoid this incompatible source problem by enforcing the use of one type of Office 2003 source in the enterprise. For example, if an administrative installation of Office 2003 is being used within an environment managed by SMS, then give users CDs of the administrative installation image that they can install manually. For more information, see the Office deployment section in the Microsoft Office Resource Kit. Users should then be discouraged from using retail versions of Office 2003 installations. In addition, computers with the retail version of Office 2003 (for example, vendor or non-corporate owned computers) should not be deployed in the SMS hierarchy.

It is technically possible to maintain both a standard non-compressed and an administrative compressed version of Office 2003 on the SMS distribution points, and then direct clients to the appropriate source based on the installed Office source type. However, this is difficult to enforce reliably and is beyond the scope of this white paper. A better approach is to periodically distribute a command for the client to synchronize the installed Office 2003 source with that on the installation point. This procedure is the same as that described for synchronizing following the patching of the installation point source with a Windows Installer patch:

  1. Create a program for each site called Office Synchronization Program.

  2. Add the command line:

    setup.exe /fvm
  3. For setup command-line options, see the Office 2003 Setup Command-line Options Web page at

  4. Create an advertisement for each site to advertise this program.

Using the Office 2003 Local Installation Source

When users install Office 2003 from the CD or from a network share, setup, by default, uses a system service named Office Source Engine (Ose.exe) to copy required installation files to a hidden folder on the local computer. This installation source is called a local installation source. Windows Installer uses this local installation source to install Office, and the local source remains available for repairing, reinstalling, or updating Office later. Users can install features on demand or run setup in maintenance mode to add new features.

If sufficient hard disk space exists on the local computer, setup caches a compressed version of the entire installation source by default. Maintaining this local installation source after Office 2003 is installed offers a number of benefits to users in large organizations:

  • Traveling users, or users with slow or intermittent network connections, can install features on demand or run setup in maintenance mode to add new features without requiring a source on the network.

  • When Office is updated, administrators can distribute smaller client updates and users can apply them, even when they do not have access to the original source.

  • Because setup caches the compressed cabinet (CAB) files, the local installation source requires considerably less hard disk space than a copy of the entire uncompressed administrative image requires.

Whether you deploy Office 2003 from a compressed image of the CD or an uncompressed administrative image, you can use SMS 2003 with Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to manage the process more efficiently.

When you deploy Office 2003 from a compressed source to SMS 2003 Advanced Clients, however, you can capitalize on the features of both products:

  • Instead of pointing SMS to an uncompressed administrative installation point to create the package source file, specify a compressed source (an image of the Office 2003 CD copied to a network share). You can still use Office deployment tools such as the Custom Installation Wizard to customize Office 2003 when you deploy from compressed source.

  • Use BITS to transfer the compressed source files from the distribution points to the Advanced Client download cache on client computers. The default location of the download cache is \%Windir%\System32\Ccm\Cache.

    • The compressed source is faster and easier to download — the source files for Office 2003 Professional Edition take up approximately 400 megabytes (MB) of hard disk space on the client computer. An uncompressed administrative image takes up approximately 632 MB of hard disk space.

      important.gif  Important
      The Advanced Client download cache is a temporary program download folder, and it can be cleared when the installation is complete. However, make sure the cache has sufficient free space for the Office package you are deploying. You specify the default size for the Advanced Client download cache when you install the Advanced Client on client computers. By default, the default cache size is 250 MB. For many Office 2003 packages, you will need to increase the client cache size before clients can download the source from an SMS distribution point.

  • Use SMS to start the installation, but let Office Setup manage the source.

    • At the start of the installation, the Office Source Engine creates a hidden cache (\Msocache) on the local computer for the Office 2003 source files, and Windows Installer performs the actual installation from there. After the installation is complete, Windows Installer continues to use the local installation source for operations such as installing features on demand and repairing Office installations. As long as the local installation source is complete and uncorrupted, users do not need to gain access to a network source or CD to perform these tasks.

  • When you are ready to deploy Office 2003 updates, maintain your installation image at a baseline level and use the SMS 2003 Software Update Management feature to distribute smaller, binary versions of Office patches to client computers.

    • Binary patches typically require access to an Office 2003 source, which users have in the local installation source.

Using Resilient Sources

Depending on your environment, you can take advantage of an advanced installation option called resilient sources. Resilient sources are called additional servers in the Office 2003 Custom Installation Wizard.

Resilient sources are created when multiple sources of Office 2003 (for example, administrative installation points on a distribution point) are made available to the clients. By default, Office 2003 returns to the share point from which Office 2003 was installed. If you choose to use resilient sources, clients use those sources whenever the original source location (distribution point) is unavailable.

Creating resilient sources is valuable because:

  • They provide fault tolerance.

  • They enable the number of SMS distribution points with Office 2003 sources to be reduced after deployment.

These share points can be located on many different SMS distribution points. The resilient sources do not have to be SMS distribution points, because network share points of any type can be used to provide self-healing and sources for resilient installations of Office 2003. However, over time you might choose to reduce the number of distribution points. Typically, the path to the distribution point you use for installation servers is stored by default as a source. But, if servers are unavailable, then its role as a distribution point path is no longer valid. Alternatively, administrators might want to have several sources during initial rollout but then reduce the number of sources to save disk space. Establishing resilient sources allows administrators to reduce the number of distribution points, while continuing to allow installation on first use and repairs to take place. The clients would use their list of resilient sources, and when the primary source was unavailable, they could use a second or third resilient source. If no resilient resources are available, the user is instructed to provide a path to the Office 2003 source files.

Windows Installer requires users to retain access to the source files throughout the life of the programs, so that advanced features, such as program repair and Install on Demand, can return to a share point other than the originating distribution point. Office 2003 provides the option of establishing a valid universal naming convention (UNC) path (for example, \\<server>\<share>), or a list of valid UNC paths or mapped drives for the source files.

Using the Custom Installation Wizard, you can set up a list of sources for Office 2003 to use when it requires source files. The resilient source list remains available for as long as Office 2003 is installed on the clients.

You must have the name of each server you want to use for resilient sources in order to populate a property called SOURCELIST. To configure the Windows Installer SOURCELIST parameter for the Office 2003 installation, use the Custom Installation Wizard. In the Identify Additional Servers page of the Custom Installation Wizard, enter the server names and share names you want to use as resilient sources.

When you create resilient sources, keep in mind the following:

  • In the Custom Installation Wizard, you must enter the server name and the share name. To use resilient sources, you must use a customized name in the SMS package creation process. This is located in the package Properties dialog box, on the Data Access tab, in the Share distribution folder Share name field. Knowing the share name in advance is necessary when creating the .mst file in the Additional Servers phase of the Custom Installation Wizard.

  • It is important to define a share distribution folder on the Data Access tab of the Package Properties item in the SMS Administrator console. If you do not provide a name for this folder, SMS uses a default name—the package ID or the drive ID—that is not always known. For large organizations, the package ID is not predictable in advance, so it is difficult to anticipate the complete path to the distribution point share, unless it is set specifically in Share distribution folder Share name field.

  • If you use resilient sources, and you have more than one site in your hierarchy, you might need to create a separate customization file (transform file) to reflect the different resilient sources. Then, use a separate SMS program within your package that points to each .mst file. You might have a separate custom program for each site. Configuring separate transform files for each individual site allows each site’s clients to carry a local list of resilient resources, which are most likely the distribution points for that site. This avoids unnecessary WAN traffic.

    The enumeration of the resilient sources should include the planned network share points for Office 2003, whether they are SMS distribution points or not. As a result, you will have a program that is specific to each site which references the Windows Installer transform file containing the resilient sources specific to that site with all other options identical.

When you use SMS 2003 to distribute Office 2003, by default, SMS randomly selects the distribution point to which specific clients connect to for installations if multiple distribution points are in the same boundary.  This effectively distributes the load on the available distribution points. However, if there is only one distribution point within a boundary, clients access that single distribution point.

The administrator can also distribute the load by selecting collections and distribution points for an installation.

After you install Office 2003, Office installations are repaired and Install on Demand features install. You can distribute the load caused by Install on Demand feature by configuring additional resilient sources for installing these components rather than relying on clients randomly accessing an installation distribution point.

For more information about resilient sources, see the Office 2003 Resource Kit Web site at

Using Windows Installer Source Location Manager

When you use SMS 2003 to distribute Office 2003, you can use and configure the Windows Installer Source Location Manager. Windows Installer Source Location Manager will automatically configure the list of available network sources for a Windows Installer application that is hosted on an SMS 2003 distribution point.

Product Source Update Management is a component of SMS 2003 that allows client computers to dynamically update their Windows Installer network locations, also referred to as source locations. There are several important aspects to Product Source Update Management:

  • Source locations for each configured Windows Installer application are automatically updated from one central location.

  • Source locations are automatically updated as an SMS Advanced Client computer roams the network.

  • Source network locations are updated for Windows Installer applications currently installed on the computer, even if SMS didn’t install the application.

  • Windows Installer per-machine and per-user installed applications are supported.

  • Windows Installer applications that are installed with elevated or non-elevated privileges are supported.

For detailed information about using the Windows Installer Source Location Manager, read the Windows Installer Source Location Manager white paper available from the Systems Management Server 2003 Product Documentation Web site at