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SoftGrid: Sequencing Excel 2003

SoftGrid: Sequencing Excel 2003

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I had to put together an Excel 2003 package for another project so with all the questions we get about sequencing Office and the various applications it contains, I thought it might be a good idea to document this in case anyone else wanted to use it.  While this is specific to Excel, the same basic concept could be used for the other applications fairly easily.  I posted all the steps below but if you'd rather have a softcopy there's a link way down at the bottom of the post.  If you look hard enough you'll find it.

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Introduction: The goal of this document is to demonstrate one particular way that Microsoft Excel can be sequenced using Microsoft SoftGrid 4.2. It's not the only way, or the best way, it's just one way that seems to work well for me. I have not fully tested every single Excel related function within this package so it's possible there could be issues although I've yet to come across any. Before you begin your own Excel 2003 or Office 2003 sequencing project I would highly recommend that you read this document fully along with KB931914 - Problems that you may experience when you try to use Microsoft SoftGrid to sequence Microsoft Office on a computer that is running Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003.

Disclaimer: This document assumes that the reader is already well versed with Sequencing Best Practices and is experienced in using the SoftGrid admin console, managing virtualized applications and publishing them to users. If not, those areas may be a better place to start. I will also repeat that this recipe has not been fully tested so if you use this guide you will need to ensure that it fulfills the requirements of your particular environment. That means it's up to you to test it before rolling it out. Now with all that out of the way, on with the sequence!

1. Start your clean sequencing machine or VM and install the SoftGrid Sequencer. Before starting the Sequencer we'll need to make a quick registry edit on our Sequencer box. Fire up Regedit and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer. Once there add these values:

  • DisableRollback - DWORD - Value=1
  • MaxPatchCacheSize - DWORD - Value = 0

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2. Exit Regedit and start the Sequencer:

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3. Before we get started we should set an exclusion. On the Tools menu, click Options. Next click the Exclusion Items tab and select New. In the Exclude Path box, type %Csidl_Windows%\Debug and set the Mapping Type to VFS then click OK. You don't necessarily have to do this but it won't hurt and may in fact save you some pain down the road. See KB931914 for more details :

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4. Now that we have that set we can begin building our package. Select the New Package... icon, or select File from the menu bar and select New Package...

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5. When the New Package wizard starts it will ask you whether you would like some assistance. Always says Yes:

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6. That will start the Package Configuration Wizard. Select Next:

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I usually use the install folder as my suite name.

7. Fill out your Package Information and click Next:

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8. Add the supported Operating Systems and click Finish. I usually just add everything:

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9. Clicking finish in step 6 will start the Installation Wizard. Click Next to continue:

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10. For Sequencing Parameters leave all the defaults and click Next:

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11. Now we're finally ready to begin capturing the package. Make sure you have your source files handy (I always copy them locally) and click Begin Monitoring... Once you click this the Sequencer will minimize itself to the System Tray when it's ready for you to start the installation.

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12. Start the Office 2003 installation by running SETUP.EXE. When you start the setup program, the first screen you see is the screen to enter your user information. Enter your information and click Next:

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13. On the Type of Installation screen select Custom Install and set the path to something like Q:\Excel2K3, then click Next:

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14. De-select all applications except for Excel 2003 and check Choose advanced customization of applications, then click Next:

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15. On the Advanced Customization page, set everything except for Excel 2003 to Not Available. For Microsoft Office Excel, set it to Run all from My Computer. If you don't need any of the Office Share Features or the Office Tools you should be OK disabling them :

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16. Clicking Next brings you to the screen below. Go ahead and click Install:

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17. Check the latest news headlines on MSNBC while Excel installs:

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18. When the installation is complete, navigate to the install directory (in our case Q:\Excel2K3) and launch Excel. Check a few functions and make sure they work. No need to go crazy here. When you're satisfied, maximize the Sequencer and select Stop Monitoring:

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19. It will then prompt for you to specify the primary directory the product was installed to:

 

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20. Watch the Sequencer build the package. When complete click Next:

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21. On the Additional Files to Map to the VFS screen, leave the defaults and click Finish:

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22. Now the Application Wizard begins. Click Next to continue:

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23. On the Configure Applications screen delete any icons you don't want. I got rid of everything except Excel itself. To remove an icon simply right click it and select Remove. Note that you're not removing the application, just the icon. That should leave something like this:

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Click Next.

24. If you want to create Feature Block 1, aka FB1 (and you probably do) then launch Excel now. When it's done it should look like this.

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Click Next.

25. The Sequencer will now build FB1 and the rest of the package:

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26. Click Finish to complete the steps in the Application Wizard.

27. Select the Virtual Registry tab in the Sequencer and expand the following virtual registry location:

USER\%SFT_SID%\Software\Microsoft\Office\Common\UserInfo

Delete the following values if they exist:

  • CompanyName
  • UserInfo
  • UserInitials
  • UserName

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28. Save the package with an appropriate name to a new folder named Excel2K3.

 

29. Copy your new Excel2K3 folder to your \Content shared folder.

30. Once it's in the \Content share simply import it on the server and publish it to your clients.

That's it, Excel 2003 sequenced in 30 easy steps. 

J.C. Hornbeck | Manageability Knowledge Engineer

Attachment: SequenceExcel2003.docx
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