I was approached by a colleague who specialises in Office about this particular tool and thought I would post my findings from playing about with it in my test environment. It will probably be fairly obvious from reading this post that I know very little about Office; in fact I'm a pretty basic user. My Dad would put me to shame in a contest of utilising some of the more adventurous parts of Excel, and he's about as technical as a wood burning stove! So I shall focus purely on the deployment side of things!

 

The documentation for the OEAT (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee683865.aspx#section1) skims quickly over the different techniques for running the tool. It only takes enough time to list SMS and ConfigMgr as possible methods for centralised deployment.

 

The tool itself is a fairly simple to use executable file. It allows you to run from either the command line or it will present a GUI. For the needs of deploying via ConfigMgr we first need to use the GUI.

 

Before you can run the tool to scan your client you need to create the settings.xml file the command line will expect later on.

Click Next and Next again to get to this stage.

Here you can specify whether to include the passive scan of the client, and how long to run for. If you choose not to run the passive scan you must select the silent option as we will be deploying via ConfigMgr. If you do opt in for the passive scan this will be selected for you.

Whichever scan type you opt for, select Next.

The final screen allows us to choose the output location. The OEAT documentation talks about using ConfigMgr to collect the output from the local machine. To me this means software inventory and file collection. In my opinion this is additional work. The wizard we have here will allow us to specify a central, network location to automatically upload the outputted to. And that is the approach I am taking here. I shall write another post sometime soon to go through the few extra steps needed to use file collection.

Note, that if you take the central repository route I take, the client must have sufficient writes to write to that network location.

Specify the location, local or otherwise. Click next and then finish. This will output settings.xml to the same location as the OEAT.exe.

 

Now we can begin packaging. And just like any other software distribution package, now would be a great time to test. Open up a command prompt on the client; navigate to the directory containing the OEAT.exe and settings.xml and type

                OEAT.exe -scan

You can monitor the scans progress by opening Task Manager and waiting for OEAT.exe to disappear from the processes tab. If you configured a passive scan this will run for the time you specified. If you didn't opt for passive scan it should close out much sooner. In my testing it took no more than about 30 seconds. However I did only install office on my client this morning and it's a vanilla install with no additional plug-ins J

Now we can package up the tool. Copy the EXE and XML files to your ConfigMgr source location and create a package.

 

Next create a program, using the command line we used to test our tool earlier

 

If you configured the tool for passive scanning, you will need to configure the maximum run time now. using this method will prevent other ConfigMgr deployments from running until the tool has finished.

Next, decide what context to run the tool under. If you are conducting a passive scan, administrative rights are required so you will need to select "Run with administrative rights"

 

Now create the advertisement to target your client systems.

 

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This post was contributed by Rob York, a Premier Field Engineer with Microsoft Premier Field Engineering, UK.