Office 2007 APP-V let the games begin

Where to begin,

Firstly when I was approached to virtualise Microsoft Office to replace Office 2003 on about 25'000+ machines. I thought <sarcasm> GREAT! </sarcasm>.

After digging into to prospect of Replacing Local Office 2003 with App-V 4.5 SP2 Office 2010 my concerns were reduced......slightly.

Our App-V environment deploys applications on a per-user basis as opposed to a per-machine.

Obviously the advantage of having a better track of licenses in use, deploying only the applications required by the user, rather than the full office suite and having the Microsoft Virtual Office 2010 kit to help with integration between OS and the app-v bubble.

For those that may not know, getting office to work exactly the same way in app-v as it does with a local install is problematic at best. For example the items that do not work after running a straight sequence. And some require ALOT more work to fix than others

  • Right click new (office file type)
  • Right click on a file (send to mail recipient)
  • Outlook Instant Search not working
  • Problems with copy special and opening documents (related to DDE)
  • Outlook occasionally try’s to re-run initial setup
  • Problems with certain office formats generating failed to send command to program when opened (again DDE related)

But those were just the tip of a very large and problematic iceberg there were other items such as office plug in's and add-on’s, applications that send commands to Office, web links, SharePoint site editing and of course Enterprise vault, that refuses to install unless you have outlook installed on the machine

But with Office 2010 Microsoft released the office virtualisation client application, this tiny program installed on the client machine eliminates these issues (mostly)

So the day came where I sequenced office 2010 the applications installed ok, primary feature block was created and all was well. Until we came to the one thing that Microsoft loves above all else.....Licensing. We had the required amount of licenses for Office 2010 and the correct License type, however we found out our KMS host was running Server 2008 R1 and after a bit of a dig around the office 2010 KMS client will only run on Server 2008 R2 or higher.....Bummer. And due to other reasons there was no plan to upgrade the KMS to 2008 R2, nor was there support of implementing the office kms client on another machine.

So the only other option at this time was move to Office 2007 (oh joy.) With the decision to move to 2007 where there is no client side program to help OS-Bubble interoperations. 

So it begins

 At the time of initial sequencing all the client machines were running App-V 4.5 on either SP1 or SP2, there was a plan to upgrade to App-V 4.6 SP2 far down the line, further than the deployment timeframe for office 2007 was.

 The initial sequence ran fine (Used SFT_MNT for the install as recommended by Microsoft), primary feature block was created for all office applications (with the exception of Outlook 2007 and Groove as these have user specific settings). Initial run of the applications on a client machine and........ they won’t launch. Turns out that office was trying to run a self-repair within the package and was unable to find the office folder in the Q: drive so the repair failed and the app immediately shut down. I had a look around at this error and it turns out its one of these you get it or you don’t when sequencing Office some people never get it some people will. And there were two options either re-sequence again or hope that you don’t get the problem...or add in the NoReReg registry into the Options key for the affected office application.

 As office is not the fastest of suites to sequence, I opted to add the registry key initially so I can check if anything else is not working before I re-sequence the suite again, turns out this was the best option.

To be continued




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