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Deploying Office 2010 at Microsoft

How Microsoft IT deployed Office 2010 to more than 100,000 computers by using Microsoft deployment technologies

Technical White Paper

Published: July 2010

The following content may no longer reflect Microsoft’s current position or infrastructure. This content should be viewed as reference documentation only, to inform IT business decisions within your own company or organization.

Microsoft IT (MSIT) developed a testing and deployment strategy to deliver Office 2010 to more than 100,000 desktop computers at Microsoft. The testing strategy resulted in a robust product that has been rigorously tested in a production environment. Learn about the best practices that MSIT developed, the deployment tools that MSIT used, how MSIT tested Line of Business applications, and the key communications and training that MSIT created for the Microsoft user community.



Download Technical White Paper, 264KB, Microsoft Word file





Products & Technologies

Microsoft wanted to deploy Microsoft Office 2010 products and applications throughout its enterprise. Microsoft wanted to test the prerelease versions of Office 2010 in order to help provide feedback to the Office 2010 product group during development. Microsoft also wanted to test deployment tools to ensure that scenarios were fully tested for enterprise-wide rollout before the release of Office 2010.

Microsoft developed a testing and deployment strategy that delivered Office 2010 to more than 100,000 desktop computers around the world. Microsoft used its own deployment tools and management technologies to reduce the time, cost, and complexity of planning, building, and deploying Office 2010. Microsoft made the installation of prerelease versions of Office 2010 voluntary for its employees and enjoyed enthusiastic adoption throughout the company. The testing strategy resulted in a robust product that has been rigorously tested in a production environment.

  • Allowed information workers to take advantage of a range of new productivity features and product capabilities
  • Improved the final product by providing feedback to the product group during deployment
  • Achieved the shared goal of rigorously testing the new Microsoft Office applications in a large-scale enterprise environment


  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007


Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Executive Summary

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Introduction

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Overview of Microsoft IT

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Deployment Planning

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Office 2010 Deployment

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Employee Adoption

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Best Practices and Lessons Learned

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Conclusion

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif For More Information

Ff823756.arrow_px_down(en-us,TechNet.10).gif Appendix A: Microsoft Training Resources

Executive Summary

The prerelease version of Microsoft® Office 2010 gave Microsoft Information Technology (Microsoft IT) the opportunity to validate Office 2010 during its development and to test deployment tools and processes designed to simplify the enterprise-wide rollout of applications. The team also wanted to extend the productivity-increasing benefits of the enhanced Office 2010 applications to users throughout the company while minimizing the impact on productivity.

Microsoft IT partnered with the Office 2010 product group around a number of shared goals that described the scale of the deployment required to effectively validate the products while also validating some key scenarios and new features. By using Microsoft employees to test the prerelease versions of Office 2010, Microsoft IT also achieved the shared goal of providing a real-world testing environment for capturing product and deployment feedback. Collaborating with the Office 2010 product group helped improve the product before it was released to customers.

Before deploying Office 2010 to a large group of early adopters within the company, Microsoft IT provided the Office 2010 suite to line-of-business (LOB) application developers. This plan ensured that the existing LOB applications would be compatible with Office 2010. Providing the suite also enabled the application developers to develop enhancements to LOB applications based on new features and functionality offered in Office 2010.

This white paper describes Microsoft IT's experience with the delivery process, installation, and use of new deployment tools for the Office 2010 client. This white paper is written specifically for enterprise technical decision makers, technical architects, and deployment managers who are considering a deployment of Office 2010 within their companies.

This white paper is based on Microsoft IT's experience and recommendations as an early adopter. It is not intended to serve as a procedural guide. The Microsoft environment is unique in that its users tend to be more technically inclined than average users, and its desktop management philosophy is to give users control over their own computers. Installation of prerelease software is strictly voluntary at Microsoft, and Microsoft IT made the Office 2010 client available to all employees during the deployment process.

Each enterprise environment has its own unique circumstances. Therefore, each organization should adapt the plans and activities described in this white paper to meet its specific needs and use this information along with the guidance provided by the Office 2010 site for IT pros, which you can find at http://www.officeitpro.com.

Note: For security reasons, the sample names of internal resources and organizations used in this paper do not represent real resource names used within Microsoft and are for illustration purposes only.


Office 2010 offers new workflow and collaboration features and can help businesses address needs that range from personal productivity management to complex project management.

The Microsoft Office 2010 suites deliver the core desktop productivity applications. In addition to the core desktop applications, the 2010 release includes new applications, servers, services, solutions, and other technologies that build on the productivity software skills that employees already possess and that help address a broad array of business problems.

Each Office 2010 suite is designed for a specific set of users. This white paper focuses on the deployment of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 at Microsoft. However, the methods that Microsoft used to deploy Office Professional Plus 2010 may also apply to other versions that medium to large enterprises are likely to deploy.

Note: For more information about the available Office 2010 suites, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ee523662.aspx.

Overview of Microsoft IT

Microsoft IT is unique in terms of its broad variety of responsibilities. Microsoft IT's primary role, as in any other large organization, is to support server and desktop hardware. Microsoft IT provides services that range from user support and telecommunications management to server and network operations, including managing the connectivity for more than 300,000 client computers and devices worldwide. Microsoft IT ensures that the nearly 89,000 employees, 10,000 contractors, and 75,000 vendors in more than 400 Microsoft locations around the world can access the corporate network 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Microsoft IT operates and manages the Microsoft global IT infrastructure, including network, telephone, and server infrastructure. In this role, the team supports all messaging and collaboration tools within Microsoft. The team is also responsible for running several different services inside Microsoft related to Microsoft Office clients, Microsoft Office servers, and Microsoft SharePoint® Server 2010. Microsoft IT hosts and maintains these services on SharePoint portals.

Another responsibility is managing the internal LOB applications that facilitate day-to-day business operations at Microsoft. In addition, Microsoft IT uses the large enterprise and user base at Microsoft as a proving ground for new products before release. Because the primary focus of Microsoft is developing software, early adoption and testing of prerelease software is a part of the culture and mission of Microsoft as an organization. Early adoption and testing validates compatibility with LOB applications. It also enables Microsoft IT to provide real-world feedback to the product development groups to help ensure that the released products are of the highest quality, which improves the overall customer experience.

Deployment Planning

For the Office 2010 deployment, Microsoft IT followed an internal model similar to the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Team Model for Operations. This model offers guidelines for various processes, such as software development, deployment, and other functions related to IT operations. The members of the teams organized under the MOF team model share responsibilities to focus tightly on the project at hand. Although the size and depth of the teams may vary with the extent of the operation, the best practices and lessons learned from each phase carry over to the next phase. This method helps ensure that the total cost of repeated deployments stays manageable.

Note: For more information about MOF, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc506049.aspx.

Client System Requirements

Before the deployment, the standard supported version of Microsoft Office at Microsoft was Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2007 running on the Windows Vista® Professional operating system. In addition to the standard supported version, various combinations of operating systems and Microsoft Office software existed on computers throughout the company, mostly on test, research, and support computers. The Windows® 7 operating system formed a significant portion of the targeted user population. However, Microsoft IT must support a wide range of operating systems in use at Microsoft.

Microsoft IT found no need to inventory existing hardware because the minimum hardware requirements did not change between Office Professional Edition 2007 and Office Professional 2010, and the team was sure of a smooth transition for existing Microsoft Office clients. Not having to create an inventory eased deployment of Office 2010 because the IT expenditures for hardware remained unchanged during the deployment.

Office 2010 also is available for the first time in a 64-bit edition. Computers running a 64-bit edition of Windows on compatible 64-bit hardware can use more memory than 32-bit editions. For example, companies running large calculations in Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets, or working with larger data sets in any Office 2010 application, can take advantage of the greater memory allowed by 64-bit editions of Windows 7 and Office 2010.

However, IT personnel in charge of deploying Office 2010 should be aware of the following when running existing solutions with the 64-bit version of Office 2010:

  • Native 64-bit processes in Office 2010 cannot load 32-bit binaries, which causes problems when companies have existing ActiveX® controls and add-ins.
  • Microsoft Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA) code written for 32-bit must be recompiled to work with the 64-bit version of Office 2010.
  • Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is not compatible.

Installing a 64-bit edition of Office 2010 requires one of the following Windows versions to be installed on a computer:

  • Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1), 64-bit edition
  • Windows 7, 64-bit edition
  • Windows Server® 2008 operating system with SP1, 64-bit edition
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, 64-bit edition

Note: For detailed information about Office 2010 system requirements, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ee624351.aspx.

To learn more about the 64-bit versions of Office 2010, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ee681792.aspx.

To learn more about compatibility between 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Office 2010, go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/ee691831(office.14).aspx.

Analysis of the Environment

Microsoft IT used Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to analyze the network environment before deployment. In particular, Microsoft IT used System Center Configuration Manager to perform the following activities:

  • Plan deployment by determining:
    • How many computers were running Office 2007.
    • How many computers were running the prelease version of Windows 7 (or the release to manufacturing [RTM] version during later stages) or Windows Vista.
    • How many computers were running a 64-bit operating system.
  • Scan computers across the network for add-ins related to the Microsoft Office deployment.

Other tools from Microsoft are also available for analyzing an environment before deployment of Office 2010, including the Microsoft Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM) and the Office Environment Assessment Tool (OEAT). The "Office Deployment Tools" section later in this white paper provides more information about these tools.

LOB Application Compatibility Testing

Internal LOB applications at Microsoft include large-scale, strategic business management software, in addition to internally built applications that employees use on a daily basis. The purpose of LOB application compatibility testing at Microsoft is to ensure compatibility with new Microsoft desktop software by identifying and resolving issues early in the product development cycle. This minimizes the impact to internal end users, Helpdesk, and ultimately, Microsoft customers.

Microsoft IT used a central repository to track the details of all LOB applications used by company employees—details such as dependencies on the Windows Internet Explorer® browser, Windows, or Microsoft Office. Through a process of continuous refinement, Microsoft IT targeted a small set of mission-critical Office-dependent applications (approximately 2 percent of the portfolio) for product validation testing. This list of Office-critical applications included high-usage and high-complexity examples, as well as applications known to experience issues when changes are introduced to Microsoft Office. Microsoft IT determined through analysis of the data from earlier testing programs that more-extensive testing would result in the reporting of a larger number of duplicate issues.

Microsoft IT employs a distributed testing process. The IT engineering groups that own specific applications conduct their own testing on virtual clients provided by a centralized LOB testing coordinator. This model is extremely efficient. Those who know the applications best conduct the testing in a virtual environment that does not require them to repurpose their personal hardware to participate. The low barrier to participation fosters additional voluntary testing, and another 6 percent of the LOB portfolio contributed feedback to the Office 2010 product group.

Also important to LOB application testing for Office 2010 was consideration of deployment of the 64-bit version of Office 2010. To work with a 64-bit version of Office 2010, 32-bit add-ins must be recompiled or modified for 64-bit use. Deployment of 64-bit editions of Office 2010 was a fairly large subset of overall deployment—about 21 percent of client computers. Microsoft IT had to take care during deployment because application compatibility is the single biggest source of issues during a wide-scale deployment. Having such a high percentage of employees install the 64-bit version of Office 2010 helped Microsoft IT validate the new 64-bit architecture.

Employees at Microsoft were allowed to make their own decisions about when and whether to install Office 2010, including deciding whether to install the 64-bit edition. Microsoft IT made details about the potential compatibility issues of running a 64-bit edition available to employees through an internally published matrix of application compatibility to help them make that decision.

LOB application compatibility testing was very effective in keeping costs down. As proof that this highly focused testing process works, Microsoft internal Helpdesk call volume for LOB application-related issues in the Office 2010 deployment was less than 1 percent.

Note: To read the technical white paper on LOB application compatibility, go to http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/e/8/4e8c1b99-54f1-4be7-8e9b-78024015848d/LOBApplicationCompatibilityTesting_TWP.doc.

Reporting Model

Microsoft IT was interested in capturing installation data such as the total number of installations and the success and failure rates of installations. This reporting information was vital in meeting the agreement with the Office 2010 product group surrounding shared goals and tracking deployment. It helped ensure that the desired number of users was testing Office 2010 in appropriate scenarios, such as multilingual installations and the ratio of 64-bit to 32-bit installations. The reporting model also enabled Microsoft IT to target specific messages to users about available updates, training, and other critical items.

Microsoft IT used System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to obtain this data and to produce reports that identified whether software was deployed successfully to the targeted group of desktop computers. Microsoft also used System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to identify all computers with common features, such as the same hardware or software. This knowledge was important in determining which computers had installed Office 2010 and ensured test coverage on both Windows 7 and Windows Vista computers. It also helped Microsoft IT understand who in the company, by division and geographical location, was running Office 2010.

During the deployment period, it was critical for Microsoft IT to know how many clients were running various versions of Office 2010. The larger the installed base, the more feedback System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 could provide to the deployment team and product developers. The deployment reports provided details that Microsoft IT compared to goals to ensure that the project was on track.

Communications Framework

Throughout the Office 2010 deployment, Microsoft IT used an intranet site that hosted key information, including installation guidance, training material, known issues, and frequently asked questions (FAQ). This site served as the cornerstone of Microsoft IT's communications model.

Microsoft IT developed an integrated marketing campaign with a phased IT-to-enterprise communications approach by ensuring high-quality strategic messaging via e-mail, its intranet site, and print. Throughout this campaign, Microsoft IT used custom branded templates to differentiate communications to employees at each major milestone. These communications helped drive awareness of the deployment. Microsoft IT was able to target these communications by using the data from System Center Configuration Manager when milestone migration was required from one build of Office 2010 to the next. Microsoft IT also created custom digital collateral to drive awareness and educate employees.

Microsoft IT also partnered with service managers to ensure that employees received well-written, relevant, and timely information throughout the Office 2010 deployment. Microsoft IT provided messaging to the field technicians via an internal forum, and they provided deployment communication kits for regional localizations.

User Education

As a part of the effort to support end users throughout the product cycle, Microsoft IT created content—user guides, demos, and presentations—for Microsoft employees. In preparation for the deployment of Office 2010, Microsoft IT collaborated with the Office 2010 product group and various content publishing teams to plan the Office 2010 content for Microsoft employees.

Microsoft IT created Work Smart productivity guides (previously known as Everyday Productivity Education guides). Work Smart guides provide employees with scenario-based, best-use productivity aids on Microsoft products and technologies. These aids include instructional content, best practices, and more. Customers can download Work Smart guides in a compressed (.zip) file and customize the contents to fit their own environment and technologies.

Note: For a link to Work Smart guides, go to the End User Readiness resource center at www.officeitpro.com.

To help ensure smooth upgrades to Office 2010, Microsoft IT provided live training and brown bag sessions. The goal of the sessions was to enable field technicians to effectively support deployment milestones with little to no delay, and to coordinate training and readiness activities across the regions. In addition to making this information available on an intranet Web site, Microsoft IT sent employees e-mail messages to inform them when an updated version of Office 2010 was available for installation. These messages included links to product installation pages, training resources, and community resources for helping to drive excitement about the deployment.

Microsoft IT also made training content readily available to employees during and after the deployment of Office 2010. Microsoft IT provided this content in various media both online and offline so that employees had a wide variety of learning resources. Microsoft IT also created weekly tips and e-mailed the tips to Office 2010 users to drive awareness and excitement and to encourage adoption of the new features.

Note: For a link to training courses on the Getting Started with Office 2010 page, go to http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/getting-started-with-office-2010-FX101822272.aspx.

For a link to Office end-user readiness resources for IT, go to http://www.officeitpro.com.

To learn where menu and toolbar commands are in Office 2010, go to http://office2010.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/learn-where-menu-and-toolbar-commands-are-in-office-2010-HA101794130.aspx.

For links to more training resources, see "Appendix A: Microsoft Training Resources."

Helpdesk Readiness and Support Feedback Loop

A strong support model is critical to performing a successful deployment of Office 2010. Because the Microsoft deployment was based on prerelease software, limited help and support information was available and had to be created in-house. Microsoft also created a FAQ page on its intranet site that included all known issues. This FAQ page was useful for:

  • Helping to reduce the number of calls to the Helpdesk support staff
  • Providing feedback to the Office 2010 product group during the development of Office 2010
  • Creating additional self-help support tools

In the deployment of Office 2010 at Microsoft, the majority of Helpdesk support calls arose from issues related to upgrading from one prerelease version of Office 2010 to the next—for example, from Office 2010 Technical Preview to Office 2010 Beta. Prerelease builds did not support in-place upgrades. Instead, users had to uninstall the previous version and then install the next version. This is not an issue for customers because the released version of Office 2010 does support in-place upgrades from most previous in-market versions of Microsoft Office.

The supportability program manager is a key role within Microsoft IT for client deployment of products such as Windows 7 and Office 2010. The person in this role is responsible for discovering trends within the incoming Helpdesk support data, prioritizing the feedback, and giving this information to the product groups so that the product groups can address the most critical issues first. The supportability program manager also uses the support feedback loop to create additional training material, FAQ, and known issues for newly discovered issues or issues that generate significant numbers of Helpdesk support calls.

Note: For more information about how Microsoft IT Helpdesk prepared for the Office 2010 deployment, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ff655019.aspx.

Deployment Goals and Shared Goals

As part of planning, the establishment of goals was important for tracking the success of the deployment. Microsoft IT's goals for deploying Office 2010 were to:

  • Validate functionality, business features, and deployment tools.
  • Provide feedback to the Office 2010 product group and marketing department.
  • Educate the LOB application developers about the new development features of Office 2010 so that the developers could create LOB applications to take advantage of the new features.
  • Deliver a deployment experience to external customers to aid with their own deployment planning and execution.
  • Deploy escrow releases internally four to six weeks before releasing public-facing milestones, such as the Office 2010 Technical Preview or Office 2010 Beta. These escrow releases provided Microsoft IT and the Office product group a valuable opportunity to validate the quality of the release before providing the final build to customers.

In addition to the preceding deployment goals, Microsoft IT and the Office 2010 product group shared the following basic goals:

  • Test all critical LOB applications and mitigate 100 percent of problems reported as failed or blocked before internal deployment.
  • Make sure that zero critical Microsoft Office product issues remained by the time Office 2010 was released to manufacturing.
  • Reduce the incident rate over deployment of Office 2007 for comparative milestones.
  • Provide Microsoft IT with documentation on features, changes that affect users, and known issues three weeks before deployment at each milestone to heighten Helpdesk readiness.
  • Create articles regarding the deployment and the client experience at each milestone.
  • Test and validate the Office Customization Tool (OCT) during development.
  • Test and validate System Center Configuration Manager during deployment.
  • Test and validate the client experience when deploying a virtualized client.
  • Offer a Windows Deployment Services image that included both Windows 7 and Office 2010.

Resolve the top 10 support call drivers (issues) and any blocking issues for each milestone before subsequent milestone delivery.

Successfully meeting these shared goals was critical to developing a reliable, well-tested, and properly validated software product that could withstand enterprise-level scrutiny before it was released to customers.

Office 2010 Deployment

Microsoft IT identified specific deployment goals that it targeted at each phase of the software release cycle. Table 1 depicts the software release phases that Microsoft IT used for early deployment of Office 2010.

Table 1. Software Release Phases


Microsoft IT goals

Release summary

Technical Preview Escrow

Internally deployed build that enabled validation of the Technical Preview milestone build before releasing to customers

Deployed in May 2009 (four to six weeks before public Technical Preview release)

Technical Preview

Deployment experience validation, proof of concepts, LOB application compatibility testing, feature breadth validation, and feedback to product group

Deployed in June 2009 to 30,075 computers

Beta Escrow

Internally deployed build that enabled validation of the Beta milestone build before releasing to customers

Deployed in September 2009 (four to six weeks before public Beta release)


Deployment validation, and feedback to product group

Deployed in October 2009 to 59,457 computers

Release Candidate (RC)

Continuation of broad campus and global deployments

Final LOB application compatibility testing and signoff

Deployed in January 2010 to 61,533 computers

Release Candidate 2 (RC2)

Final validation of key scenarios before release

Deployed in February 2010 to approximately 1,000 testers


Production release; global deployment

Deployed in April 2010 to 99,551 computers worldwide

Microsoft employees were familiar with the download procedures to install software from installation servers because historically, this method has been the primary software installation method. Microsoft IT submitted each build to the product replication team, which replicated the installation source files to regional servers.

Microsoft IT notified employees about the availability of each new version via e-mail at the Technical Preview, Beta, Release Candidate, and RTM phases. The e-mail message included a link to an intranet Web site, which in turn contained a link to the network installation point where the Microsoft Office setup files were available. The e-mail message also contained key information regarding the upgrade, such as possible application compatibility issues and hardware requirements. Most employees were familiar with a similar process for the deployment of Office 2007, so this method saved time and resulted in rapid installation.

Office Deployment Tools

Microsoft offers several tools and technologies to assist customers and solution partners with planning and deploying Office 2010. The tools and technologies reduce the costs associated with large deployments. These tools also enhance security, simplify management, and provide better integration with LOB applications.

Some of the tools are grouped under the Microsoft Office Migration Management Technologies umbrella and are part of Office 2010. Customers and partners can download other components from the Microsoft Office.com Web site at no charge.

When Microsoft IT started deploying Office 2010 to its employees, not all of the deployment tools were available. As the tools became available, the team was able to test and use them.

Office Activation

Office 2010 now includes volume activation for Office 2010 Standard and Office 2010 Professional Plus. To simplify deployment as much as possible, enterprise customers should deploy only one of these editions throughout the organization whenever possible. If necessary, deployment can be configured to deliver certain applications or features to specific groups or departments.

Activation establishes a relationship between the software's product key and the installation of that software on a computer system. It requires the end user or IT professional to perform steps such as entering a product key or contacting a networked server or telephone service center. Use of activation technologies helps protect license keys. Previous systems that relied on distribution of license keys to users were vulnerable to being leaked or pirated.

Two volume activation methods for Office 2010 are available:

  • Key Management Service (KMS). KMS uses a KMS host key to activate a KMS host computer and establish a local activation service on the network. Office 2010 connects to the local KMS host for activation. KMS activation is targeted to managed environments where more than 50 physical or virtual computers regularly connect to the organization’s network. Windows Server 2008 R2 can be configured as a KMS server for both Windows and Office 2010, which lowers the requirement for additional infrastructure.
  • Multiple Activation Key (MAK). With a MAK, clients activate Office 2010 online with the Microsoft-hosted activation servers or by telephone. MAK activation supports users whose computers are unable to connect to the company network or experience unreliable connections. MAK activation behaves similarly to activation keys that retail customers use, except that a single key supports as many users as required. As with retail keys, computers must be activated with a Microsoft server over the Internet or by telephone through a Microsoft call center.

Microsoft IT used KMS to deploy Office 2010. With KMS, the whole activation process stays within the company, and there is no requirement to activate the clients over the Internet or phone.

Note: For more information about volume activation for Office 2010, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/office/ee691939.aspx.

Microsoft Office Migration Planning Manager

Microsoft Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM) is a group of tools that assist administrators who want to plan and test the deployment of Office 2010. OMPM includes the following features:

  • OMPM File Scanner, which is a command-line tool for finding Microsoft Office files and detecting conversion issues. OMPM also includes a set of tools for managing a central OMPM database that stores the results from File Scanner.
  • Features to aid in detailed macro compatibility analysis and 64-bit Office compatibility.
  • A Microsoft Access® reporting solution for analyzing and managing conversion issues.
  • Office File Converter, which is a tool for facilitating bulk conversion of older Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint® files to the new Microsoft Office Open XML formats.
  • The Version Extraction Tool, which enables administrators to extract saved versions of Microsoft Office Word 2003 (or earlier) files to separate files.

Microsoft IT did not use OMPM during the deployment of Office 2010. Because the majority of employees were already running Office 2007 on their computers and because no file conversion is required for documents created in Office 2007 when an organization is deploying Office 2010, mass file conversion was not necessary. What few files did exist in older formats could easily be converted by users on an as-needed basis after deployment simply by opening the older files and saving them in the newer format. But customers that have significant numbers of Office 2003 installations should explore the use of OMPM to manage conversion to the new file format.

Note: To learn more about OMPM, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc179179(office.14).aspx.

To download the technical white paper "Deploying the 2007 Office System at Microsoft" and learn more about how Microsoft used OMPM and other tools during the Office 2007 deployment, go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=73467139-28e6-4081-9773-2d24ecb44aa9.

Office Environment Assessment Tool

The Office Environment Assessment Tool (OEAT) is a free downloadable executable file that scans client computers for add-ins and applications that interact with Microsoft Office 97, Microsoft Office 2000, Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office 2007, and Microsoft Office 2010. Microsoft IT did not use OEAT during the deployment of Office 2010 because the majority of employees were already running Office 2007. However, customers can use OEAT to assess applications that may require remediation before deployment of Office 2010.

OEAT detects add-ins and applications by using the following two methods:

  • OEAT checks a predetermined list of folders and registry locations on each client computer for the presence of add-ins that are used for Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. The add-in types include Automation add-ins, Component Object Model (COM) add-ins, VBA add-ins, and application-level add-ins created through the Microsoft Visual Studio® development system.
  • Optionally, OEAT runs a passive scan against client computers to monitor for applications that call Microsoft Office application programming interfaces (APIs). The passive scan works by enabling auditing on certain registry keys (over a configurable period of hours or days) that are used when Microsoft Office APIs are called. Based on this auditing, OEAT can determine which applications are calling Office APIs. This includes the name and version of each executable file, and the date and time that the executable file was run. When the auditing period is complete, OEAT disables auditing on the registry keys.

For each client computer that is scanned, OEAT generates a uniquely named .xml file that contains details about add-ins and applications that are detected. The file also contains system information about each client computer, such as drive space, memory, and the versions of Microsoft Office and Windows that are installed. OEAT can save each .xml file to a central shared folder, or an administrator can use System Center Configuration Manager to collect .xml files saved on each client computer.

When all client scans are complete, customers can use OEAT to compile the scan results for each client computer into an Excel spreadsheet. As part of this compilation, OEAT can compare the discovered add-ins and applications against the list of compatible add-ins that the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Application Compatibility Visibility Program tracks. The resulting spreadsheet can be used to analyze and prioritize add-ins and applications for testing and remediation.

Note: For more information about the Office Environment Assessment Tool, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ee683865(office.14).aspx.

Office Customization Tool

The Office Customization Tool (OCT) is part of the Office Setup program. The OCT is also integrated into Update 1 of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010. The OCT is the recommended tool for most customizations. The OCT is available only with volume-licensed versions of Office 2010. An administrator can access the OCT by running setup.exe /admin at the command prompt. The OCT provides a choice to create a new Setup customization file (an MSP file) or to open an existing MSP file. If creating a new file, the OCT displays a list of the products that are available on an installation point.

The OCT enables the customization of setup options, user setting preferences, feature states, and additional content. An administrator can use the OCT to change the default way that Microsoft Office features are installed, setting some to be installed on a user's computer, some to be installed only on first use, and some not to be installed. Features can be hidden or locked to prevent a user from running Setup interactively and from changing the intended configuration. Setup applies the configuration options selected in the OCT on all computers to which the saved MSP file is applied.

The MSP file is added to the Updates folder. The Updates folder is located within the folder that contains the Microsoft Office source files. The Microsoft Office setup engine then processes the MSP file during setup without requiring any additional changes. If an administrator places the MSP file in a folder other than the Office source folder, the administrator must run the setup by either using the /adminfile command-line option with the Setup program or specifying where the MSP file can be found within Config.xml.

During its deployment of Office 2010, Microsoft IT used the OCT to customize how Office 2010 was installed, and to customize the resulting user experience. Microsoft IT also used this tool to include additional files and install additional programs alongside Office 2010. The OCT provides the potential for rich customization. However, because a major goal of the deployment was for employees to provide feedback to the Office 2010 product group, Microsoft IT did not overly customize the Office 2010 installation.

Microsoft IT did customize the default behavior of the Setup program to run the installation with minimal user interaction by prepopulating as much configuration information as possible, such as the license agreement and the organization name. To manage such customization, the team used the OCT to create an MSP file that the Setup program calls during the installation process.

In addition to the settings configured by the OCT, Microsoft IT used the Administrative Template files to enforce key configuration changes using Group Policy Objects.

Note: To learn more about OCT, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc179097.aspx.To download the OCT, go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=C3436A99-5C80-48CE-83E8-481F9C3D2288.
To learn more about Office GPO management, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc179176.aspx#Administrative_templates.
To learn more about the Office 2010 Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML), go to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=189316.
To learn about MDT 2010, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/solutionaccelerators/dd407791.aspx


In versions of Microsoft Office before Office 2007, the Setup program used the Setup.ini file at the start of the installation process. To customize the installation, the administrator either edited the default Setup.ini file or created a custom initialization file. Beginning with Office 2007, and continuing in Office 2010, the Config.xml file replaced the initialization file. The Config.xml file takes precedence over all other customization options. Config.xml can also be used to add languages to an Office 2010 installation or to chain the installation of additional programs to the installation process.

Early in the installation process, Setup determines whether or not an MSP file is specified for the product being installed. By default, Setup searches the Updates folder on the installation point for a customization file specific to the product being installed. The Updates folder is included by default on the installation point. The customization file can contain modifications for an installation, including customizations that control the installation process.

By default, Setup also checks the core product folder for the presence of the Config.xml file. If a Config.xml file is found, Setup processes any configuration attributes that the file contains. By using Setup command-line arguments, administrators can specify a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to a custom MSP and/or Config.xml file.

Microsoft IT used the Config.xml file to customize the pre-installation and post-installation tasks for Office 2010. For example, the team launched a Web page at the end of the Office 2010 installation process that thanked the user for taking part in the early adoption of Office 2010 and provided key information, such as how to report a bug.

The following is an example of how to reference a custom Web page in the Config.xml file that opens at the end of the Office 2010 installation.


<Command Path="%programfiles%\Internet 
Explorer\IEXPLORE.exe" Args="http://intranetsite/office2010/thank_you" /> 


When making changes to the Config.xml file, an organization should note that the elements and attributes are case-sensitive.

Note: For more information about using the Config.xml file to perform installation tasks, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc179195(office.14).aspx.

To learn more about the command element section of the Config.xml file, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc179195.aspx#ElementCommand.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats

Office 2010 uses default file formats that were introduced with Office 2007 for its programs, including Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Excel 2010, and Microsoft PowerPoint 2010. Versions of Office before Office 2007 do not recognize these new Open XML file formats unless certain product updates exist. The Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats enables clients running Office 2003 to recognize the new formats as Microsoft Office files and to be able to open, edit, and save those formats.

Microsoft IT did not deploy the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats during its deployment of Office 2010 because employees of Microsoft were already running Office 2007 before deployment of Office 2010. However, to ensure that employees running Office 2010 can collaborate and share files seamlessly with employees running Office 2003, companies can deploy the compatibility pack to all Office 2003 clients before the deployment of Office 2010. Deploying the compatibility pack before deploying Office 2010 provides an improved user experience because it prevents employees from having to install it after deployment of Office 2010.

Note: To learn more about the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats, go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466.

Deployment Methods

The Office Setup architecture is a flexible design that supports deployments ranging from small-scale to enterprise-wide. For example, a customer may have only a small number of computers, no enterprise deployment tools, and no Active Directory® Domain Services (AD DS) infrastructure. In such a case, Office Setup can take on more of the installation needs, including remote or local command-line execution, applying service packs and software updates, and migrating user settings. If enterprise deployment tools are available, a customer can use them to package the Office 2010 core and manage deployment updates separately.

During its deployment of Office 2010, Microsoft IT used a combination of methods, including deployment shares, installation via System Center Configuration Manager 2007, and installation along with Windows 7 in Windows Deployment Services images.

Note: To learn more about choosing an option for deploying Office 2010, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ee624360.aspx.

CD/DVD or File-Based Installation

An organization can provide an installation CD/DVD or file for each computer on which users will install Office 2010. This method is suitable for small organizations where users typically are responsible for installing their own software.

Installation from a Deployment Share

Installing Office 2010 from a deployment share is the simplest way to provide an installation source for Office 2010 products over a network. Creating a network point involves sharing a folder on a computer on the network and copying the content of the Office 2010 media to that folder. Permissions must be set on the share so that other computers or users can access the installation source over the network. This method provides the advantages of being easier for smaller IT departments to implement and allowing users to initiate installation on an as-needed basis. Disadvantages include difficulty controlling and monitoring which users install Office 2010 and difficulty managing installation times by users, which can lead to a negative impact on network infrastructure.

Managing Installations with Group Policy Objects

Customers can also use Group Policy objects (GPOs) to assign specific startup scripts for starting an Office 2010 installation for computers on the network by using any script language, such as Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript), the Microsoft Jscript® development software, or command lines. Using GPOs to trigger installation provides the advantages of being able to use AD DS and Group Policy infrastructure and being able to use similar scripts to apply security updates and service packs. Customers can also control which users can install Office 2010. Disadvantages include difficulty monitoring installations.

Note: To learn more about deploying Office 2010 by using Group Policy, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ff602181.aspx.

Installation with System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Customers can use change and configuration management system software, such as System Center Essentials or System Center Configuration Manager 2007, for the deployment of Office 2010 and for follow-up maintenance like patch management and installation of service packs. Advantages of using this method are that Office 2010 can be deployed to thousands of computers in a relatively short amount of time, bandwidth can be controlled by pushing installations out to certain groups at certain times, and centralized reporting and monitoring are possible. The main disadvantage to using this method is that it requires a supporting infrastructure and appropriate technical expertise.

Note: For more information about deploying Office 2010 by using System Center Configuration Manager 2007, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ff404178(office.14).aspx.

For information about System Center Essentials, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ff404177.aspx.

Installation with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 uses a deployment share for installation, but it provides a console that enables customers to predefine installation settings. During a Microsoft Office deployment, MDT also offers additional functionality that enables customers to configure the setup behavior for Office 2010. As with using a simple deployment share, the biggest advantage of using MDT is that it is relatively easy for smaller IT departments to implement. Disadvantages include difficulty controlling and monitoring which users install Microsoft Office at which times. Also, MDT supports only first-time installations.

Installation with Microsoft Application Virtualization

Customers can use Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) as part of a deployment option to enable users to run Office 2010 applications on their workstations. App-V streams applications on demand to the workstation. However, the application is not installed physically on the workstation. App-V is also a good approach for addressing application compatibility issues. Using App-V packages has the advantage of providing centralized management of applications, supporting roaming, and allowing multiple versions of Microsoft Office to coexist to help mitigate compatibility issues. However, there are also disadvantages. Using App-V packages requires a supporting infrastructure and technical expertise, increased bandwidth usage for streaming applications to users, and the need to integrate the applications into the existing infrastructure.

Note: To learn more about deploying Office 2010 by using Application Virtualization, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/ff602185.aspx.

Installation with Presentation Virtualization

Customers also can use Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services as a virtualized deployment option to enable users to operate the Office 2010 applications from their workstations. Terminal Services runs on a shared server and presents the application user interface on a remote system, such as a local workstation. Using Terminal Services to take advantage of App-V enables the optimization of the application through the sequencing process of Application Virtualization and then uses Terminal Services to deliver the application as a presentation virtualization. Advantages to using this method include centralized management of applications, roaming, and reduced network traffic over Application Virtualization. Disadvantages include a reliance of application availability on the network infrastructure and possibly lower performance for graphic-intensive applications and documents.

Windows Deployment Services Images

Windows Deployment Services allows for the rapid deployment of operating systems by making installation images available over the network. Users can select an image to install when a client computer is started, or images can be selected automatically to be installed at system startup without user intervention.

Microsoft IT added Office 2010 to the default image used by Microsoft employees at the Office 2010 Beta milestone. Microsoft IT made Office 2010 the default choice for new installations of the Windows 7 operating system, but users could choose between Office 2007 and Office 2010 during installation. Microsoft IT achieved this by creating a simple interface that enabled users to choose between the two versions; Office 2010 was selected automatically after a specified period.

Microsoft IT used Windows Deployment Services as the primary image distribution method. However, Microsoft IT also provided the same functionality to employees on the Redmond campus via System Center Configuration Manager Operating System Deployment (OSD). Users had the same option for selecting Office 2010 or Office 2007, with Office 2010 set as the default choice.

One notable difference in using OSD was that the technology enabled more flexibility for managing the image components in the sequence and did not require a full build/test/release cycle. In the future, Microsoft IT will use OSD as a key deployment scenario because of the flexibility that it provides for managing images and the user deployment experience.

Employee Adoption

One of the most important deliverables for any technology deployment is to ensure a successful adoption by employees. During the Office 2010 deployment, Microsoft achieved this by:

  • Providing a simple and easy installation
  • Providing Work Smart productivity training
  • Capturing feedback to improve the overall experience

Between April and June, 2010, over 51,000 employees self-installed Office 2010. 80 percent of these employees adopted the new product with very little IT support. Some employees opted to attend local self-installation fairs or Work Smart productivity training courses hosted by IT managers worldwide.

Following the deployment of Office 2010 RTM, Microsoft IT conducted a satisfaction survey that included a sample of employees from around the world. Results from the survey indicated that:

  • 91 percent found Office 2010 easier to use than Office 2007.
  • 94 percent reported that the new features in Office 2010 will improve their productivity.
  • The Net Satisfaction (NSAT) score for Office 2010 was 152 (target was 130), an extremely high score for a new product.
  • Employees surveyed reported a potential savings of 15,459 hours in productivity, which equated to about $1 million for the number of employees include in the sample.

Employee comments

“Main benefit to me is speed - vast performance improvement is great.”

“I love the photo editing capabilities built into PowerPoint, Word, OneNote, and Excel.”

“I love the social network features of Outlook.”

“I think Office 2010 will be a real breakthrough for our productivity.”

"PowerPivot for Excel is very powerful.”

“I love Office 2010; I was blown away at how much of an improvement that could be made to 2007 because I thought it was rock solid.”

“The feature I like the most is the Outlook e-mail sorting by conversation which improved my productivity a lot.”

“Before joining Microsoft Slovakia I used to work for a company using Win XP and Office 2003 for over eight past years so switching to Win 7 Enterprise and Office 2010 RTM was a GREAT upgrade for me.”

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

Microsoft IT learned that the following best practices can help ensure a more successful deployment of Office 2010:

  • Try to anticipate the top client issues and address those issues in advance. Use companywide communication to help discover these issues.
  • Educate users:
    • Provide training before, during, and after the deployment. Make sure that a range of training aids are available to suit the time and location requirements of employees.
    • Take the time to market the new products and features to employees to help build excitement before the deployment.
    • Create FAQ for employees and include known issues.
    • Create an internal Web site that makes content about the new features readily available to all employees, including information about how the new version of Office will help increase productivity.
    • Offer the ability for certain enthusiastic users to be early deployers of the product and become advocates within the business groups as deployment becomes mainstream.
  • Use information gained from Helpdesk calls as feedback for creating self-help support tools.
  • Make communications about the deployment that come from the IT department readily distinguishable from routine e-mail announcements so that employees are less likely to disregard them. Be sure to include information about the deployment, scheduling, and available training.
  • Train Helpdesk technicians on the new Office 2010 features before deployment. If possible, deploy Office 2010 to Helpdesk staff before deploying on a larger scale. Have training and support content ready, especially if any issues were found during application compatibility testing. These issues will generate the most Helpdesk support calls. A well-prepared Helpdesk staff can result in significant cost savings for the company by helping employees to remain productive during and after the deployment.
  • Get stakeholder signoff. Before the deployment begins, any organization should ensure that key stakeholders review all possible customizations so that only the relevant settings are modified. Reviewing customizations with appropriate stakeholders ahead of time helped Microsoft IT ensure a successful deployment and avoided confusion.
  • Customize the deployment appropriately. Microsoft IT considered the effect of customizing a deployment by using both the Office Customization Tool and Config.xml to apply the customization as intended. The customization settings defined in Config.xml take precedence over the customizations in the Setup file that the Office Customization Tool creates. Use caution in editing the Config.xml file. Introducing errors while editing the Config.xml file causes the file to ignore customization settings.

Microsoft IT also learned that the following best practices specifically contributed to the success of LOB application compatibility testing, as part of the larger deployment:

  • Ensure that all critical Office-dependent LOB applications are tested, and address issues before deploying, if possible.
  • Focus on applications that export or import from Excel spreadsheets or use Excel add-ins. Excel accounted for almost two-thirds of the issues found in testing internal LOB applications at Microsoft.
  • Plan and budget sufficient resources for the project to perform the testing tasks and participate in the program.
  • To streamline the entire application compatibility testing, create a centralized application compatibility program with a dedicated testing coordinator.
  • To monitor issues discovered during LOB application testing, use an issue-tracking system.
  • Maintain an application portfolio database that tracks application technology dependencies, contacts, purpose, and test results for each application.
  • Enable the application owners to do the actual testing because they are most familiar with the applications. Their knowledge of the application's functionality is essential for obtaining the best results.
  • Create an overall schedule of testable software builds to be released to the IT engineering groups and develop a testing schedule based on this release schedule.
  • Create an internal Web site to communicate the schedules for deployment and application compatibility testing. Use the site to provide details for individual application compatibility testing projects.


The early deployment of Office 2010 involved Microsoft IT, the Office 2010 product group, LOB application developers, and Microsoft employees across the global enterprise. By RTM, more than 100,000 copies of Office 2010 had been installed on employees' computers. Constructive feedback from Microsoft employees helped the Office 2010 product group make numerous enhancements and ultimately produce a higher-quality product.

Due to the careful planning and cross-team effort, as well as the technical savvy and eagerness of Microsoft employees, early adoption of Office 2010 was a success. This early adoption helped validate the functionality and features of Office 2010, in addition to the tools and processes used during deployment. It also provided the compatibility testing of all Microsoft Office-dependent LOB applications. The successful testing of the deployment in a real-world environment offers lessons for IT customers and solution partners so that they can simplify the process and reduce the costs associated with planning and conducting an Office 2010 deployment.

For More Information

For consumer information about Microsoft Office 2010, see the Microsoft Office 2010 page on the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/default.aspx.

For the best source of technical information about Microsoft Office 2010 for IT pros, see the information on the Microsoft TechNet site at http://www.officeitpro.com.

For more Microsoft IT Showcase content on Office 2010, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/library/bb687792.aspx#EOC.

For more information about Microsoft products or services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Order Centre at (800) 933-4750. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information via the World Wide Web, go to:



The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


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Appendix A: Microsoft Training Resources

Enterprise Learning Framework

The Enterprise Learning Framework (ELF) is a tool that helps corporations develop a training and communication plan for employees during Windows and Microsoft Office deployment. ELF identifies the most relevant learning topics on Windows Online Help and Office.com for different stages of deployment and different types of users. By using the ELF, an organization can:

  • Minimize concern by preparing employees for deployment and raising awareness of the benefits of the new versions.
  • Minimize disruption on deployment day by giving employees a short list of important topics that will help them learn quickly.
  • Select tips and other productivity topics to help employees get the greatest benefit from the Microsoft Office release after deployment.

Note: To read more about the Enterprise Learning Framework and how to use it, go to http://www.microsoft.com/technet/desktopdeployment/bdd/elf/AboutRoadMap.aspx.

Microsoft Learning

Microsoft Learning builds innovative learning products that help organizations maximize their investment in Microsoft technology. Microsoft Learning offers a diverse range of products—including classroom training, e-learning, certification, Microsoft Press books, and skill assessments—to serve the needs of customers and partners worldwide.

Note: Many training sessions are available to customers that have Software Assurance benefits. For more information, visit the Software Assurance Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/business/software-assurance.aspx.


Office.com is a definitive source for all Microsoft Office-related resources, especially for end users. Office.com includes product information, training, webcasts, demos, tips and tricks, templates, and downloads. Office.com offers a significant amount of content in downloadable format. Courses and demos available on Office.com provide a good alternative to the e-learning solutions provided by Microsoft Learning for users who cannot access those, and to enable other scenarios. They can be accessed directly online, published to an intranet, distributed to a local desktop computer, or included in the desktop image.

These resources use simulations, demonstrations, animations, and hands-on exercises. However, they provide a somewhat lower-quality training experience than the e-learning solutions because they do not provide usage tracking, and users cannot save a profile or a session. In addition, many courses are available only from Office.com, so users must access them over the Internet.

Note: For more information about Office.com, go to www.office.com.


MSDN®, the Microsoft Development Network, provides a portal that has many resources for developers. Rich content is available for Microsoft products, technologies, and services. These resources are also available in many different forms, such as online libraries, downloadable white papers and guides, webcasts, demos, blogs, wikis, and forums.

Note: For more information about MSDN, go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/.

Microsoft TechNet

TechNet is another portal that offers many resources for IT professionals. Rich content is available for Microsoft products, technologies, and services. These resources are also available in many different forms, such as online libraries, downloadable white papers and guides, webcasts, demos, blogs, wikis, and forums.

Note: For more information about Microsoft TechNet, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/. To go directly to the Office 2010 section on TechNet, go to http://www.officeitpro.com.

Microsoft Support

Microsoft Support is the official Microsoft support site for home users, business users, and IT pros. Rich content is available for all Microsoft products. This site also includes the Microsoft Support Knowledge Base.

Note: For more information about Microsoft Support, go to http://support.microsoft.com/.

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