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A Script-Based Approach to Deploying or Upgrading Office Communicator and the Office Live Meeting 2007 Client

A Script-Based Approach to Deploying or Upgrading Office Communicator and the Office Live Meeting 2007 Client

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This article discusses a Microsoft Windows Script Host deployment script that provides a complimentary or a complete solution for deploying or upgrading Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2, the Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 client, and the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook to desktop users.

Author: Curtis Johnstone

Publication date: March 2010

Product version: Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 Client

When deploying, upgrading, or configuring Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2, you can also choose to deploy the Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 client and the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook to your users' desktop. This helps empower them with the following features that are also integrated with Office Outlook:

  • Instant messaging (IM)
  • Presence
  • Telephony
  • VoIP
  • Web conferencing

Depending on your IT infrastructure, you may have several deployment options, including the following:

  • Dedicated deployment software (for example, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007)
  • Windows Group Policy
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 automatic updates for clients
  • Hybrid and custom solutions
  • Custom scripts

Each of these deployment options has strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:

Remote and/or roaming users   Some of your desktop users might typically connect and use corporate services externally (for example, by using a VPN or external authentication). Remote connections can introduce challenges (such as pushing the software to the remote client) for automated deployment software or group policy solutions.

Customized Unified Communications client configuration   In addition to deploying the Unified Communications client software, automatically configuring it helps your users get up and running faster, and can simplify the deployment process to customize the clients when you deploy. For example, you might want to automatically configure the user sign-in Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) address so that users do not have to set this option.

Multiple versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems   Your user base might have a variety of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP operating systems. This can present a challenge for some deployment or upgrade solutions.

Customized deployment needs   Depending on the functionality (such as Web conferencing) that you need to provide to your users, you may need to deploy one or more Unified Communications clients. If, for example, your organization is using a Web conferencing solution other than Office Live Meeting 2007, you might decide to not deploy the Office Live Meeting 2007 client to your desktop users. With these considerations in mind, the Unified Communications client deployment script may provide either a complimentary or a complete solution for deploying, upgrading, or configuring the Microsoft Unified Communications client software.

With these considerations in mind, the Unified Communications client deployment script may provide either a complimentary or a complete solution for deploying, upgrading, or configuring the Microsoft Unified Communications client software.

Script-Based Solution

The Microsoft Unified Communications client deployment script is a Windows Script Host (WSH) file (a Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) script that is wrapped in a .wsf file). It can be used to deploy, upgrade, or configure Communicator 2007 R2, Communicator 2007, Live Meeting 2007, and the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook clients. The deployment script can be customized and used for a particular deployment; however, following are the two primary ways that it can be used:

  • The script and its associated Microsoft Unified Communications software installation files can be stored on a central network share that is accessible to all desktop users. The users can manually run the script when it's convenient to do so. One attractive option is to use the client filter functionality of the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 front-end server to notify users of their legacy client usage. In the notification message, provide a link to the network share and the location of the deployment script where users can upgrade their client software.

Important:

To use the script in this manner requires that the user account that is doing the installation must have local administrator permissions on the computer where the Microsoft Unified Communications clients are being installed.

  • The script can also be attached to a Group Policy Object (GPO). Depending on what type of GPO the script is attached to (for example, either local computer or domain user), the script automatically runs when the user logs on to their corporate Active Directory directory service domain or when their computer is restarted and the computer account authenticates into the Active Directory domain that it belongs to.

Feature Highlights of the Script-Based Solution

In addition to performing a basic installation of the Microsoft Unified Communications client software, the script-based solution discussed later in this article provides the following major features. Some features, such as prompting the user to shut down Office Outlook before installing the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook, are not easily available if you do not use this script-based solution:

  • Deploys or upgrades Microsoft Office Communicator, Office Live Meeting, or the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP clients.
  • Automatically populates the user SIP address to one of three formats: the user's e-mail address in Active Directory, the %USERNAME% environment variable, or nothing.
  • Supports a silent or informational mode. The Microsoft Installer Package (MSI) installation is always silent, but a silent-mode script can be used to run under a GPO.
  • Supports an option to copy the installation files locally (with or without a progress UI indicator) and install them from the local source.
  • Detects and explicitly uninstalls Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 before installing Communicator 2007 R2 (including any existing desktop shortcuts).
  • Configures user settings for Communicator 2007 R2, Communicator 2007, Communicator 2005, and Live Meeting 2007 (through local registry entries).
  • Supports an option to not install the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook (for deployments that do not include Live Meeting 2007).
  • Detects if Office Outlook is installed and does not attempt to install the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook if Office Outlook is not installed.
  • Detects which version of Office Outlook is installed, and then sets the current user Office Outlook integration settings accordingly.
  • Detects if Office Outlook is running, and then prompts the user to shut down Office Outlook before they install the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook.
  • Generates four log files for troubleshooting-one for the main script and three separate log files for Communicator, Live Meeting, and the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook installations. For more information, see "Troubleshooting" on the script Help webpage at http://www.insideocs.com/Tools/DeployUC/DeployUC_Help.html#Troubleshooting.
  • Easily provides a customized configuration for Communicator, the Office Live Meeting 2007 client, and the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook. For all client customizations, see "Script Customizations" on the script Help webpage at http://www.insideocs.com/Tools/DeployUC/DeployUC_Help.html#Script_Customizations.

Note:

Most of the features previously listed, along with several bug fixes and other improvements, are a significant upgrade to a previous Microsoft unified communications client installation script that was made available by the Microsoft Office Communicator Team in February 2008 at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=187429.

Customizing the Script for Your Deployment

Most of the features listed in the previous section are enabled through script customizations. They are contained in one section at the beginning of the script. The beginning and end of that section is clearly identified in comments. Important customizations affect the user's experience when they install the Microsoft Unified Communications client software. Some of those customizations are as follows:

  • Silent mode  Determines whether any informational, status, or error dialog boxes are to be shown on the user desktop.
  • Uninstall Communicator 2005  It is explicitly uninstalled if it is present (including the desktop icon). This functionality was added to address several issues when the Communicator 2007 client was installed when Communicator 2005 was already installed.
  • Install Live Meeting 2007  Determines whether to install the Office Live Meeting 2007 client.
  • Install Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook  Determines whether to install the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook.
  • Installation network directory path  The network location of the Microsoft Unified Communications deployment script and the associated Microsoft Unified Communications client prerequisite installation files.

Note:

All client script customizations are documented and available in "Script Customizations" on the script Help webpage at http://www.insideocs.com/Tools/DeployUC/DeployUC_Help.html#Script_Customizations. They should all be reviewed and set accordingly before you use the script in your deployment.

In addition to customizing how the script runs, you can customize how the Microsoft Unified Communications client software is configured after it has been installed.

Customizing the Microsoft Unified Communications Client Installation

The Microsoft Unified Communications client software deployment script is capable of basic Microsoft Unified Communications client configuration after the software has been installed. This has the advantage of not needing to train users on how to configure the Microsoft Unified Communications clients.

For details on all the Communicator and Office Live Meeting 2007 client settings that can be customized, see the script customizations section of the script Help webpage at http://www.insideocs.com/Tools/DeployUC/DeployUC_Help.html#Script_Customizations. These customizations range from configuring how the client connects to Communications Server 2007 R2 (for example, manual or automatic log on) to tailoring the Help information that is available to your organization in Communicator 2007 R2 and Communicator 2007.

One of the most useful customizations is the ability to automatically configure the user SIP address to several different formats-including setting this value to be the same as the user's e-mail address in Active Directory.

Important Notes

Microsoft provides the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 client group policy and its associated documentation. They can be downloaded at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=140494. This download contains specific settings for the majority of the Communicator functionality. The group policy can be used in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, configuring Communicator in addition to the script that is described in this article. The GPO contains many more customized settings than those described in this article. However, automatically configuring the user SIP sign-in address can be done only through the deployment script.

The script requires that the Microsoft Unified Communications client software must perform an installation or upgrade to customize the configuration of the respective client software. The script, when it does an installation or an upgrade, performs the customization. The script can be easily modified to execute only the customization functionality, if that is all that is needed.

Upgrading the Microsoft Unified Communications Clients

The following are two common reasons for upgrading Office Communicator:

  • Upgrading from a major client version to a newer version; for example, upgrading from Communicator 2005 to Communicator 2007 R2
  • Applying a hotfix update to a particular client version; for example, applying the July 2009 hotfix KB 969694 to Communicator 2007)

To upgrade a major client version by using the script, make the appropriate installation files available for the new version as documented in the Prerequisite Installer Files section of the script Help webpage at http://www.insideocs.com/Tools/DeployUC/DeployUC_Help.html. The script attempts to manually uninstall the old version (as is the case for Communicator 2005), and then use the installation file (.msi) of the new client version to do the upgrade for other versions of Communicator.

Summary

To meet the challenges of deploying, upgrading, or configuring the Microsoft Unified Communications clients in a diverse Windows desktop infrastructure, a flexible Windows Script Host script, such as the one described in this article, could be either a complete solution or a complimentary tool when used with your existing deployment methods.

The advantages the Microsoft Unified Communications client deployment script discussed in this article are summarized as follows:

  • Can be used to deploy, configure, or upgrade any of the Microsoft Unified Communications client software
  • Runs on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP
  • Is a Windows Script Host script that runs on all major Windows desktop operating systems with no prerequisite software

The script is generic and must be customized for a particular environment. Customization is made easier because all customizations are documented and stored in one section at the beginning of the script.

Note:

The script was tested with most major Windows desktop operating systems and in several diverse lab environments, but it is an unsupported script. Any reported defects or enhancements will be made on a best-effort basis.

Additional Information

To learn more, check out the following resources:

Communications Server Resources

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Comments
  • Where is this script located?

  • Chris,

    It is located here www.insideocs.com/.../DeployUC.html (the first lync in the Additional Resources)

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