Administrators planning to deploy Office 2003 throughout an organization shouldn't drive themselves crazy trying to do everything by hand. Microsoft has provided a free toolkit for administrators looking to deploy Office 2003 that allows close customization of many aspects of the deployment.
The Office 2003 Resource Kit Tools are available as a free download. The kit will only run on Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP, and of course requires the presence of an Office 2003 or MSI packages created for an Office 2003 deployment to be useful.
Here is a quick rundown of the tools available in the kit:
Custom Maintenance Wizard: Allows the administrator to automatically create a CMW file which can be used to update an existing Microsoft Office installation after it's been deployed.
Custom Installation Wizard: Allows the administrator to create a MST (Windows Installer Transform) file for Office. This allows for a more detailed customization of an Office setup than would be allowed only through unattended setup files. Some of the changes that can be made through the CIW include choosing where to install Office, custom keyboard shortcuts, enabling or disabling feature installation states, or specifying security settings for Office.
Profile Wizard: Allows Office 2003 user settings to be saved to a profile setting file (OPS) so that user settings can be preserved and migrated to one or more machines.
CMW File Viewer: Allows the contents of a CMW file to be examined.
OPS File Viewer: Allows the contents of an OPS file to be examined.
Removal Wizard: Walks the administrator through a detailed removal of previous versions of Microsoft Office. This is useful if the rollout consists of an upgrade over earlier versions of Office.
Windows Installer Transform Viewer: Lets an administrator preview the changes an MST file makes to an MSI file. Both the original MSI and the MST must be present for this to work.
Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!