by Dr. Thomas Shinder MCSE, TechRepublic
To send and receive e-mail, a user must have an e-mail client application. There are many e-mail clients available, but the e-mail package of choice for most businesses is Microsoft Outlook. Not only does Outlook have POP3/SMTP compatibility, it is also a full-fledged groupware client designed to integrate with Microsoft Exchange. Together, Microsoft Outlook and Exchange is the most popular and powerful groupware client/server combination on the market.
In this article, Ill examine the issues, methods, and technologies used to roll out Microsoft Outlook as a corporate messaging client. There are many facets to an Outlook deployment that must be attended to prior to the rollout. I will examine the following subjects:
- Deployment scenarios
- Windows Installer technology
- Office Resource Kit tools
- Outlook deployment preparation
- Outlook deployment
After understanding these issues, you will be in a good position to begin your Outlook 2000 deployment and implementation plan.
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Outlook 2000 is a member of the Microsoft Office 2000 family of products. It is included with each version of Office 2000. A stand-alone version of Outlook 2000 is also available. If you purchase a corporate license for Office 2000, you have permission to deploy the stand-alone version of each product. This provides flexibility in your deployment plan.
There are four main scenarios for deploying Outlook 2000:
- Outlook only
- Outlook before Office
- Outlook after Office
- Outlook and Office simultaneously
Each scenario presents different requirements and challenges for the administrator.
You may want to install Outlook 2000 as a stand-alone product. This is the most simple deployment option. When you use the stand-alone version, you dont have to worry about accommodating settings for other Office 2000 applications. Another advantage of deploying Outlook 2000 as a stand-alone product is that you have to maintain only a single distribution share and create transforms for a single application. This simplifies software management.
Outlook before Office
Outlook can be deployed before other Office applications. You might want to do this when you deploy Microsoft Exchange 2000 and want to take advantage of the client-side features Outlook 2000 provides as an Exchange client. However, you will want to keep your existing Office Suite in place until you have the opportunity to upgrade your hardware infrastructure.
When deploying Outlook before Office, you can use the stand-alone version of Outlook 2000 to do the initial rollout. When you are ready to deploy the rest of the Office 2000 Suite, you can use Disk 1 of Office 2000 to install the other applications. This is slightly more complex than Outlook 2000 as a stand-alone client because you may need to maintain two different distribution shares.
If you install Outlook 2000 from the Office 2000 Disk 1, then you must make sure that your transform files are configured to support each type of installation. This requires more record keeping, and software management can become more complex.
Outlook after Office
Installing Outlook 2000 after other Microsoft Office 2000 Suite applications allows you to keep your existing messaging software while taking advantage of Office 2000 applications. You might do this when you are planning to migrate over to Exchange 2000 but have not yet done so.
Deploying Outlook 2000 after the other Office 2000 applications has similar requirements to the deployment scheme above. You may end up needing at least two deployment shares, and you may also have to create multiple transforms to support this staged Office 2000 deployment.
Deploying Outlook and Office simultaneously
You can deploy Outlook 2000 and the rest of the Office 2000 Suite simultaneously. This is the most common and, fortunately, the easiest method for deploying Outlook 2000. You can use CD 1 and create a single distribution share. You need only a single transform file. Also, software management is less complex.
To appreciate the methods used to deploy Outlook 2000, you need to understand Windows Installer technology. Office 2000 is the first version of Microsoft Office to support Windows Installer features.
Office 2000 and Windows 2000 use the Windows Installer service. This application management service allows you to manage software on networked machines and reduce total cost of ownership and administrative hassle. The Windows Installer service provides the following:
- Special Windows Installer shortcuts
- Management of installation states
- Management of self-repairing applications
Each of these Windows Installer features improves your ability to manage and repair applications.
Special Windows Installer shortcuts
When the Windows Installer service installs an application, it can place special Windows Installer shortcuts on the desktop and Start menu. These shortcuts are not hard-coded. They include a GUID that controls the installation and maintenance behavior of the application associated with the shortcut.
Right-click on one of these shortcuts and then click the Properties button, and youll see the dialog box in Figure A.
This is the Properties dialog box displaying shortcut information for the Microsoft Word application.
Note that the shortcut doesnt have a target. The Change Icon and Find Target buttons are disabled, and the Target path is grayed out. This shortcut is managed by the Windows Installer service.
For Windows Installer shortcuts to work, you must have the Windows Desktop Update installed. This feature is installed with Windows 2000 and Windows 98/Me. If you use Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, you need to install the Active Desktop included with Internet Explorer 4.01 SP1 or Windows Desktop Update included with Internet Explorer 5.0 and above.
You must use these shortcuts to take advantage of the self-repairing features of Windows Installer programs. When you launch an application from a Windows Installer shortcut, the Windows Installer service checks for the presence of critical application files. If one of these files is missing or corrupt, the Windows Installer service reinstalls it. Noncritical files are repaired or replaced using the Detect And Repair feature within each Office 2000 application.
These shortcuts allow the Windows Installer Install On Demand feature to work. Install On Demand allows the Installer to put a shortcut on the desktop or Start menu when installing the application. After clicking the shortcut, the application is automatically installed.
Management of installation states
The Windows Installer does more than just install applications. It can install applications in different states. The installation states are:
- Run From My Computer. This installs the application and supporting files on the target computer. If other features need to be installed, the setup routine must be run again.
- Run From Network (Source). This allows the application or feature to run from the source location. That location can be a distribution server hard disk or CD-ROM. Note that some files will be installed on the target computer. The main application files will remain on the network server.
- Installed On First Use. This places shortcuts to applications in the Start menu and in the Office toolbar. However, the application is not installed until the user clicks on a Windows Installer shortcut.
- Not Available. This prevents the application from being installed. No shortcuts are placed in the user interface.
Management of self-repairing applications
The Windows Installer service is responsible for the self-repairing capabilities of Windows Installer applications. You must use the shortcuts created by the Installer to take advantage of this feature. For example, if you create a shortcut to the file Winword.exe, the application would not be able to fix itself. This shortcut is a hard-coded shortcut, and the Installer Service cannot use it.
Microsoft provides a number of tools and resources that allow you to customize and manage your Outlook 2000 deployments. These tools are part of the Office Resource Kit (ORK). They can be found on the Microsoft Web site. The ORK tools are available for all versions of Microsoft Office, so be sure to get the tools for Office 2000.
There are a number of tools in the toolset. The most helpful in customizing and deploying Outlook include:
- Custom Profile Wizard
- Custom Installation Wizard
- Office Removal Wizard
- Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK)
- Office 2000 System Policies
You can use some or all of these tools to customize and deploy Outlook 2000.
Custom Profile Wizard
The Custom Profile Wizard allows you to capture application settings for an established Office 2000 install. These settings include the default document location, E-mail, Calendar, and Contacts options. Any settings in the Options dialog box for any Office 2000 application can be captured using the Custom Profile Wizard.
The Custom Profile Wizard analyzes Office 2000-based registry settings and copies them to a file with the .ops file extension. When you start the Profile Wizard, youll see a Welcome page, as shown in Figure B.
Make sure you exit any running Office applications before proceeding with the Profile Wizard.
After the application settings are saved to the .ops file, they can be used in the Custom Installation Wizard. The Profile Wizard can also be used to restore standard settings on a corrupted machine. Rather than having to spend a lot of time troubleshooting the problem, just use the Custom Profile Wizard and an .ops file and the original options will be restored.
Custom Installation Wizard
The Custom Installation Wizard is used to create a transform file. To deploy Outlook as part of a custom installation of Office 2000, you create a transform file. A transform file has the file extension .mst.
The .msi file contains the basic instructions for installing a Windows Installer application. The .mst file contains the settings that are different from those in the .msi file. When the Windows Installer service installs an application, it looks for an .mst file with the same name as the .msi file. If it finds one, it will apply the differences found in the .mst file.
The Custom Installation Wizard allows you to customize almost any aspect of Office 2000, including Outlook 2000. The Wizard contains 17 dialog boxes that allow you to do things such as import Office 2000-specific registry keys, configure the services used by Outlook 2000, set the default mail agent, and many more.
We will look at how to use the Custom Installation Wizard later in this article.
Office Removal Wizard
If you have ever tried to remove Office 95 or Office 97, you have probably noticed how tenaciously they stick to the system. If you wish to remove previous versions of Office prior to installing Office 2000, you can use the Office Removal Wizard.
This application performs a more comprehensive removal than using the Add/Remove Programs applet found in the Control Panel. The Wizard provides you with several removal options, as shown in Figure C.
To remove previous versions of Office, use the Microsoft Office Removal Wizard or the Custom Installation Wizard.
The Custom Installation Wizard will create settings to remove any earlier Office applications. If you want to remove Office prior to installing Office 2000, use the Removal Wizard.
Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK)
To take advantage of Windows Installer shortcuts, you need to have the Windows Desktop Update installed by enabling Internet Explorer 5.0. The IEAK is included with the Office Resource Kit to help roll out Internet Explorer to Office 2000 clients.
Internet Explorer 5.0 can be installed on the target machines during Office 2000 installation, or you can do it before the Office 2000 rollout. I suggest you install Internet Explorer 5.0 before installing Office components.
The IEAK allows you to customize and control all aspects of Internet Explorer. You can run IEAK separately or as part of the configuration of your .mst file when you run the Custom Installation Wizard.
Office 2000 System Policies
The ORK includes a version of System Policy Editor that automatically loads template files pertaining to Office 2000-specific registry settings. You can use the System Policy Editor (Figure D) to create registry settings that control virtually any configuration aspect of Office 2000 applications.
Control nearly all configuration aspects of Office 2000 with System Policy Editor.
If you run a Windows 2000 network, you should not use the Windows NT-style
.adm template files. The old-style templates tattoo the registry
of Windows 2000 client machines. This prevents Group Policy from adding and
removing registry settings. If you do wish to use Office System Policies, the
best approach is to apply the system policy to a test machine. After the system
policy is applied, export the registry key:
When creating a system policy for export, be sure to set the System Policy
Editor in registry mode by clicking File | Open Registry. This saves the policy
settings directly to the registry.
To prepare for the Outlook 2000 rollout, you need to attend to one or more of the following tasks:
- Creating the distribution share
- Using System Policy Editor to create registry keys
- Running the Custom Profile Wizard
- Running the Custom Installation Wizard
You do not need to run the System Policy Editor if you do not wish to import registry keys into transform files. The same is true for the Custom Profile Wizard. However, for all installations, you will need to create a distribution share point. You will also need to run the Custom Installation Wizard to create the transform file.
Creating the distribution share for Office 2000 and Outlook 2000
To install Outlook 2000 with the rest of Office 2000, you only need to create a single administrative share point. If you install the stand-alone version of Outlook 2000 before or after installing Office, you have the option to create a second administrative share point containing only the Outlook 2000 installation files.
Another option is to create an administrative share point of the stand-alone version of Outlook 2000. After Outlook 2000 is deployed, install the rest of the Office 2000 CD into the same share. If you choose this method, pay attention to which files need to be renamed so that the Office 2000 installation files do not overwrite your Outlook files.
To create an administrative share point for Office 2000, perform the following
Click Start | Run.
In the Run dialog box, type
where the drive letter is the drive where the original Office 2000 source files
are located, and the setup folder is the distribution medium that contains the
Setup.exe file. Click OK to continue.
You will be presented with the Welcome page, as shown in Figure E.
Type in your CD key and company name before clicking Next.
The Microsoft Office 2000 Location page (Figure F) will appear next.
Type in the UNC path to where the administrative installation files are located, and then click Install Now.
The files are copied into the installation share point.
To create an administrative share point for the stand-alone version of Outlook,
perform the same steps as above. After the share point is created, perform the
Rename Setup.exe, Setup.ini, Data1.msi, and Autorun.inf to prevent these files from being overwritten by the Office installation. The files must all have the same names (o2ksetup.exe, o2ksetup.ini, o2kdata1.msi, and o2kauto.inf, for example).
Edit the o2ksetup.ini file to specify the transform and the new names of the setup and autorun files. For example:
Using System Policy Editor to create registry entries
The System Policy Editor allows you to create registry entries for Office applications. The best way to approach creating registry entries is to build a test system and then install Office 2000. After Office 2000 has been installed, run the System Policy Editor in registry mode. Make the changes you want, and they are immediately written to the registry.
After the changes are written to the registry, export the Office 2000-related
registry keys by performing the following steps:
Open Regedit and drill down to the key:
Click Registry | Export Registry File.
Save the entry with the .reg file extension to the hard disk.
You can now use this registry key in the Custom Installation Wizard.
Running the Custom Profile Wizard
The Custom Profile Wizard allows you to capture customizations made to Office 2000 applications. You must install Office 2000 and then make the configuration changes in each applications interface. After making the changes, perform the following steps:
Open the Custom Profile Wizard. The first page explains what the Wizard will do. Note that you must close all Office applications before you begin. Click Next.
On the Save Or Restore Settings page, select the Save The Settings From This Machine button. Type in the path and filename for the .ops file or click the Browse button to select a location. Click Finish.
The file is saved to the hard disk. Use this file in the Custom Installation Wizard.
Running the Custom Installation Wizard
You are ready to create the transform (.mst) file. The Custom Installation Wizard creates the transform file, which includes all the customizations you wish to make to Outlook 2000, as well as to other applications.
To create the transform file, perform the following steps:
From the Start menu, click Applications | Microsoft Office Tools | Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit Tools | Custom Installation Wizard.
The Wizard will start. Because the Wizard is long, we will cover the Outlook 2000-specific pages only. Click Next.
The Open The .msi File page will appear. Type in the UNC path to the Data1.msi file that is contained in the administrative install share. Click Next.
The Open The .mst File page appears. Choose the Do Not Open An Existing .msi File option and click Next.
The Select The .mst File save screen appears. Type in a local path and filename. When you have completed the Wizard, move the .mst file to the same folder where the Setup.exe (or the renamed setup file) is located in the administrative installation share. Click Next.
The Specify Default Path And Organization page will appear. Use the default installation path, which is \\Program Files\Microsoft Office. You also can include your Organization name. Click Next.
The Remove Previous Versions page will appear. Choose the Default Setup Behavior option, which allows the removal of all previous versions of Office applications. If you wish to keep a previous version of an Office application, choose the Remove The Following Versions Of Microsoft Office Application option. Click Next.
The Set Feature Installation States page (Figure G) will appear. Since we want to install Outlook 2000 only, click on Microsoft Office at the top of the hierarchy, and then click Not Available. Click on the Microsoft Outlook For Windows icon and then click Run All From My Computer. If you wish to make an application unavailable to users at any time, right-click the application and click Hide. This will prevent the application from appearing in the Add/Remove Programs applet. Be careful when using this option because if you wish the application to be available again, you will have to reinstall Office with another .mst file. Click Next.
If there are other applications you wish to install, just click the application icon and select the appropriate installation state.
On the Customize Default Application Settings page, select the Do Not Customize; Use Microsoft Default Values radio button. Select the Migrate User Settings check box. When you select the Migrate option, any conflicts between custom settings configured in the .mst file and existing settings will default to the existing settings. Click Next.
On the Add Files To The Installation page, add additional files to install with
Office and click Next.
On the Add Registry Entries page, you can add new registry entries (see Figure H).
Click the Import button and select the .reg file you created earlier, and then click Next.
On the Add, Modify, Or Remove Shortcuts page, modify or remove Office shortcuts. Place a check mark in the check box for Create Windows Installer Shortcuts, if supported. Click Next.
On the Identify Additional Servers page, you can include other locations where copies of the administrative installation share can be found. You can copy the original administrative share to other machines on the network. Including additional servers provides fault tolerance. While this process provides fault tolerance, it does not provide load balancing. The alternate servers will be used for Install On Demand and application self-repair in the event that the original server is unavailable. Click Next.
The Add Installations And Run Programs page will appear. You can add programs that will run after the installation of Office is complete. Click Next.
The Customize Outlook Installation Options page (Figure I) will appear. On this page, you can configure exactly how you want Outlook to work on the users computers. Note that you have two options:
- Do Not Customize Outlook Profile And Account Information
- Customize Outlook Profile And Account Information
With the first option, the user will be asked to configure his or her Outlook profile. By selecting the second option, you can have the profile and the services that are included in the profile automatically configured for the user.
Select the Customer Outlook Profile and account information for more control.
In the Configuration Type drop-down box, you have the option to use either the Corporate Or Workgroup Settings or the Internet Only Settings. Almost all companies will use the Corporate Or Workgroup Settings, because the Internet Only Settings are severely limited. In the left pane below the configuration type are a number of options that allow you to make all the configuration options you require for Outlook. These include settings such as the name of the Exchange server and the mailbox name on that server. Almost everything you need to configure for Outlooks basic functionality is here. Click on each of the nodes in the left pane and select the options that fit your requirements. After selecting your required options, click Next to continue.
The Customize IE 5 Installation Options page will appear. Windows 2000 includes Internet Explorer 5. If you are installing Office on non-Windows 2000 clients, you need to include IE 5 with the Office installation or have it installed prior to installing Office 2000. In this example, well assume the company has upgraded to Windows 2000. Click Next.
In Modify Setup Properties, you can change some of the setup properties that you have already configured or add new ones. The LIMITUI property allows the installation of Outlook to proceed unattended. The OUTLOOKASDEFAULTAPP setting makes Outlook the default mail application. For any of these setup properties, select the property and then click Modify to change its behavior. In this example, the LIMITUI option is set to True and the OUTLOOKASDEFAULTAPP option is set to All. Click Next to continue.
On the Save Changes page, you are informed of the location where the .mst file will be saved. Click Finish to create the .mst file.
On the last page of the Wizard (Figure J), the Wizard tells you that the file has been created. In addition, an example command-line argument is given, which you can use to begin the installation of Office using the transform. Click Exit.
The qn+ at the end of the command line indicates that the installation will be done in quiet mode.
Now that you have the advance work and planning done, you are ready to begin the Outlook 2000 deployment. There are several ways to start the installation:
- Using the command line
- Using Setup.ini
- Using Windows 2000 Group Policy Software Management
Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages.
Using the command line
The installation can begin by using a command-line string. For example, when we finished with the Custom Installation Wizard, the last page of the Wizard provided a command-line string we could use to begin the installation. You can start the installation from the Run command, or use this string in a script.
If you enter the string from the Run command, you always run the risk of typo errors, especially if the string is long and complex. For this reason, it is better to copy a simple script to a floppy for technicians to use to begin the installation.
The Setup.ini file includes directives that begin the installation process. You can get around entering long command strings in a script or at the Run command by entering setup information in the Setup.ini file. You can include the name of your .mst file and other important setup parameters.
By creating a custom Setup.ini file, all you have to do is run the Setup.exe file. The Setup.exe routine will read the contents of the Setup.ini file and will automatically run the .mst file. The Setup.ini is richly commented. Be careful to uncomment out the lines you intended for your eyes only.
Using Windows 2000 Group Policy Software Management
If your client computers run Windows 2000 Professional or Windows 2000 Server, you can take advantage of the Active Directory Group Policy Software Management feature to distribute and manage Microsoft Office 2000 and Outlook 2000. Software Management is able to take advantage of Windows Installer technology and use .mst files to customize the installation.
You can create different .mst files to meet the needs of different departments in the organization. After creating the custom file, you can assign or publish software to an entire domain or to individual Organizational Units. Active Directory Software Management also allows you to remove and update the software via Group Policy.
If you are interested in using Active Directory Software Management, check out the Windows 2000 Server Help File and Microsoft TechNet for details on how to do this.
In this article, you learned about the methods and technologies you can use to deploy Microsoft Office 2000 and Microsoft Outlook 2000. Office 2000 applications use the new Windows Installer service, which simplifies management of network applications. You learned that the Office Resource Kit includes a number of tools that help you customize and manage your Outlook 2000 deployment. Customization of distributed Office applications is done through transform (.mst) files, and you saw how to use the Custom Installation Wizard to create transform files. You also learned different methods for beginning the Outlook 2000 installation.
Outlook 2000 can provide significant challenges to the administrator when it comes time for a mass deployment. Careful planning and knowledge of the aforementioned technologies will go a long way in avoiding headaches down the road. Use this article as a road map to guide you through the maze of confusing and often misunderstood processes involved in deploying Outlook 2000.
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