Application Virtualization is a technology that we are really excited about in the Office team. However, due to the close interactions Office 2010 has with the Operating System, Servers and other applications it does pose some unique challenges. We provide the Office 2010 Deployment Kit for App-V and Feature Proxies to alleviate some of these issues, but to me there is an “art” to getting Office 2010 sequenced for App-V. So, we asked App-V artists Matt and Jason from 43Tc to share their real world experiences with Office 2010 and App-V and provide guidance on sequencing Office for App-V. In part 1 we look at considerations for Office 2010 and App-V.

Office 2010 and App-V 4.6 SP1 bring the capability of integrating a virtual version of Office 2010 more closely with the local operating system.  These enhancements enable key scenarios to provide operating system integration capabilities like fast search, mail configuration, SharePoint integration, as well as integrating the new volume activation process.  In order to enable these key capabilities, proper sequencing of Office 2010 will be required using the Office 2010 Deployment Kit for App-V. 

This post assumes that you have sequenced applications for App-V before.  We don’t recommend making Office 2010 your first shot at sequencing.  Office 2010 is particularly complex application to sequence and does not represent the typical sequencing experience. The purpose of this document is to attempt to simplify the more complex aspects by walking you through the decision making, sequencing and deployment processes from start to finish using the App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer ONLY.  Packages sequenced with the App-V 4.6 SP1 sequencer will work properly on App-V 4.6 Clients.

If you have never sequenced an application before and/or need instruction on how to properly set-up your sequencing workstation we STRONGLY recommend first going through the App-V 4.6 SP1 Trial Guide available from Microsoft.

Follow the instructions provided in this blog series exactly!  This is your first time sequencing Office 2010, so don’t be creative or adventurous this time around and stick to our instructions.  We took the time to document this for you, so at least stay on the path the first time round.  Ok?  Trust me, you’ll thank us.

The main tasks involved with sequencing Office 2010 are:

  1. Considerations and Decision making
  2. Preparing the Sequencing workstation with the Office 2010 Deployment Kit
  3. Sequencing Office 2010
  4. Preparing the clients to receive the Office 2010 Package
  5. Completion

Considerations and Decision making

There are a number of things to consider when sequencing Office 2010 and getting these decisions made ahead of time will help make the sequencing process much easier. These are documented in detail on the Office 2010 App-V TechNet site, but it’s worth reiterating the key points.

Office 2010 can only be sequenced with the App-V Sequencer versions 4.5 SP2 and 4.6 and 4.6 SP1.

What version of Office 2010 to sequence?

Both x86 and x64 versions can be sequenced.  However, only the x86 version of Office 2010 supports the Feature Proxies which allow you to make the most out of the office integration features including SharePoint integration.  Feature Proxies are not supported on the x64 versions of Office 2010.  In addition, an application sequenced on an x86 OS will generally work on an x64 OS but an application sequenced on an x64 OS will never work on an x86 OS.

Considering the above facts, we Strongly Recommend sequencing the x86 version on an x86 sequencing machine to allow full use of all Office features and to have one sequence that will work on both an x86 and an X64 OS.

As such, in order to create a document that will be both easy to follow and target the most common scenario, the instructions in this document are for sequencing the x86 version of Office on an x86 OS only.

Only volume license versions of Office 2010 can be sequenced

  • Key Management Server (KMS) or Multi-Activation Key (MAK) activation is supported
  • MSDN and TechNet provided MAK keys cannot be used as they will not work.  You must obtain the software bits and keys from a valid volume license source – trials, MSDN/TechNet subscription, retail, and Office 365 versions of Office are not supported for sequencing.
  • If MAK is chosen, be aware that users will be prompted to activate upon deployment.
  • The instruction for KMS as written assumes Office 2010 ProPlus is being sequenced.
  • The command syntax also assumes that your KMS server is registered with DNS and is using the standard port 1688.
  • You can change your activation configuration later.  If you are setting up an initial proof of concept we suggest you use KMS.

The “Print to OneNote” feature considerations and limitations

If you wish to enable the use of the “Print to OneNote” feature you may do so.  However, you need to be aware of some limitations or complexities introduced by this feature when it comes to deploying the Office 2010 sequence to your clients.

The complexity arises out of the requirement that, in order for the “Print to OneNote” feature to work, the sequence must be deployed to the clients using SFTMIME /global.  This is usually an automated behind-the-scenes publishing operation.  The issue is that SFTMIME does not apply /global by default except when using SCCM deployment with the advertisement targeted to machines (rather than users) and is not done when using an App-V Full Infrastructure.

Its decision time again:

  • Deployment via SCCM
    • You must target your advertisement for the Office 2010 package to machines.
    • You cannot target your advertisement for the Office 2010 package to users.
    • Deployment via App-V Full Infrastructure
      • You need to deploy the following command to your client machines either via log-on script or a standard app package using an Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) technology like Configuration Manager.

SFTMIME ADD PACKAGE:”Office2010_x86” /MANIFEST \\\\app-v.management.server.address.here\content\Office2010_x86\Office2010_x86.manifest.xml /GLOBAL

Note: The OneNote application will have to be launched once by every user before that user can make use of the “Print to OneNote” feature.

Other interfacing programs or Add-ins

For your reference, if you were to also include any Office plug-ins or programs that need to interoperate with Office, you would install those components immediately after sequencing Office and then continue with the process as written.  HOWEVER, for the purposes of this guide we ask that you do not include any Office plug-ins or add-ons on your first run through this guide.

In summary:

The tasks provided in this series of blog posts, when followed exactly, will result in an Office 2010 package that includes all available features that will work on both an x86 and x64 client while reducing complexity and ambiguity.

Points to Remember:

  • We will be sequencing the x86 version of Office 2010 using the x86 version of the App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer on an x86 operating system. 
  • We will be including all Feature Proxies and using either KMS or MAK activation using either Office 2010 ProPlus or Standard volume license editions ONLY.
    • Using MAK activation requires user interaction upon first use
    • KMS uses automatic background activation (no end user interaction needed)
    • If you need to make use of the “Print to OneNote” feature it will affect your options for deployment

Again, if this is your first time sequencing Office 2010 DO NOT STRAY from the instructions provided.  Once you’ve gotten a good grasp of the overall Office 2010 sequencing experience feel free to use the information in the links provided above to customize your sequencing more granularly.  However, we don’t think you’ll need to.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Preparing the sequencing workstation.

About the authors

Jason Welton is a Principal Consultant with 43Tc.  Prior to 43Tc, Jason worked for Microsoft and Softricity, the developer of “SoftGrid” which became “App-V” after Softricity’s acquisition by Microsoft.  Jason has been supporting and consulting around App-V since 2005.

Matt McDermott is the Practice Manager for 43Tc and an App-V MVP.  Matt has worked in technology consulting for over ten years including working with Microsoft to create documentation, courseware and delivery.

43Tc is a Virtualization Services company that focuses on Microsoft and Citrix technologies in User-State, Application, Session, VDI, and Server based solutions.