Saturday 6 October 2007

Office 2007 Action Pack Version Not GP Deployable?

We are in the process of working out the new methodology for delivering Office 2007 to the desktop via Group Policy.

We have a number of clients that are on Microsoft Licensing for their products.

Once we figured out how to set things up and run the GP install via startup script, we went to run an organization wide install for our company. Our Microsoft Action Pack (MAPS) covers this, so why not use the media that came with?

When we went to create our .MSP file for the logon script based deployment, we were greeted with the following error message:

Setup Error: Files Necessary to run the Office Customization Tool were not found. Run Setup from the installation point of a qualifying product.

Well, supposedly this is a qualifying product? We were able to deploy our MAPS version Office 2003 Professional via Group Policy with no issues.

According the the post at the Partner Blog Community: Office 2007 Retail version included in Action Pack? which is dated in February of 2007, this is a known "issue". The following link on that page goes to the Office public newsgroups where one would need to search for more specific answers.

We really are not sure what to say at this point. While the Microsoft Action Pack is valuable for us as a small company, the changes that seem to have come down as far as product licensing can be a bit puzzling to muddle through. This one, a retail versus OLP version for Office 2007 Enterprise, was not mentioned in any of the product documentation that we can see?

For those of us who run small but very busy shops, taking the time to manually install Office 2007 on the up to 10 systems as per the number of MAPS licenses is quite a hit for the whole organization.

Ultimately, before that change happened, those that utilize MAPS should have been consulted about the change. Whether by email, which we never received as far as we can see here, or even the Partner Action Pack Newsgroups, it would have been appropriate to ask those who would be impacted by any changes made.

Think MAPS Windows Vista upgrade version situation. From the MAPS Standard Contents page:
**In the United States, Microsoft will provide the UPGRADE version of the Windows Vista desktop operating system within Action Pack, which is consistent with how this product is distributed to our Volume Licensing customers.
For those of us who have had our MAPS for many years, there were no indications in any documentation to indicate we were receiving upgrade versions of Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional. They were indeed full versions, and could be installed as full versions as far as we understood our licensing and the EULA.

If anything, all of the confusion succeeded in clarifying many things about the Action Pack and our many misconstrued ideas as to what was included and how those products were licensed: In conclusion, we are faced with yet another inconsistency. The Vista note above indicates OLP as the licensing model, yet we have Retail, or Fully Packaged Product, in our hands for Office.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.


stryqx said...

At least you got OLP media for Office 2003. Here in Oz, I received Retail media.
I got around this by copying up the Office 2003 CD to the server and creating two setup.ini files - each one containing the Product Key (i.e. two Office 2003 Product Keys with five installations each).
I then copied and renamed setup.exe to match the setup.ini file names to have setup load the correct ini file. I then used a logon script to deploy it.

I've requested Microsoft on many, many occasions to stop shipping Retail media with the Action Pack, simply because if I'm recommending OLP to my clients, then I must dogfood it. If I can't, then I'm some kind of snake oil salesman.
I really don't have a problem installing Retail product on my own systems, but having the ability to test automated deployment requires access to OLP media.

I'd also have to say the lack of even a single license of Vista Ultimate in the Action Pack was also short-sighted for the same reason.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

I agree whole heartedly.

There should be consistency across the whole program so as to not cause problems between members.

Yes, a full version of Vista Ultimate would be good. Especially for those users we deal with that are keen on utilizing the Media Centre features.

First hand experience is the best without a doubt.