Archive for category Office 2010

Reflections of a Bus Trip

It’s been almost one month since my last blog post and for that I apologize. For those of you who know me will know that I was on a bus for two weeks down the entire east coast of the USA followed by a week at TechEd and then a two week stint (back again) in Montreal.

Flying home from Montreal, I’ve had the chance to reflect on it all and I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences with you Smile

Everyone asks, how was the bus trip. Most one word verbs could easily describe it…Exhausting, fun, tiring, busy, stressful, intense, hard work…the list could go on and on. In the end though I could easily sum it up with the phrase “an experience of a lifetime”.

We met over 3,000 IT Professionals from various walks of life all with differing jobs and backgrounds. Ones that manage environments with 10 computers to those in charge of over 10,000 devices. Some had cloud services implemented, some still had Exchange 2003. Many of them ran Office 2003 and most of them still were hanging on to Windows XP, but wondering how to magically get to Windows 7. Lots wanted to know about the idiosyncrasies of Office 2010, while others were more interested in seeing how to deploy a new OS.

In the end, I hope most of them learned something new or took something away from the stops we made along the way. I know each city challenged me in thinking “outside the box” and also gave me a completely new perspective on the same tasks I do every day and for that I thank them.

If you didn’t know about the bus tour, here are some of the highlights of it. We had a videographer with us so we could capture the best bits of each city, and of course on the overlapping weekend, we had some fun too. If asked to do it again, would I? I’m not sure, but I can strongly say if you’re ever given the opportunity to do something like this, don’t think twice and jump on it immediately.

If you talked to us along the way, leave your comments. If you didn’t see us, here’s just some of what you missed!

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Want a free copy of Microsoft Office?

Marketing…Design…It’s all about getting your name out there and your brand recognized. Well it seems quite a few people know what a copy of Microsoft Office looks like. Average retail price of Office, depending on the version is ballpark $100 (ish). Some engineers decided to see how much this $100 was worth to the average passer-by. They took an Office box and put an alarm in it to see how many people would try and pick it up, and of course when they did pick it up, the joke was on them.  Have a look for yourself :)

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Windows 7 + MDOP + Office 2010 = One Big Bus

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Do you have a passion for IT?  Do you want to learn more about Windows 7?  Do you want to know more about Office 2010?  Do you even know what MDOP is?

If any of the above questions intrigued your interest and you are close to the east coast of the USA, this is THE EVENT for you.  Two weeks prior to Tech Ed, the Microsoft Bus Tour returns and hopefully is coming to a city near you

Are any of the below cities near you?

Montreal, May 21 | Boston, May 24 | New York, May 25 | Philadelphia, May 26 | Washington DC, May 27 & 28 | Richmond, June 1 | Raleigh, June 2 | Charlotte, June 3 | Atlanta, June 4 | New Orleans, June 5

If they are, you need to head over to http://microsoftbustour.com/ and register NOW (not later, not tomorrow, NOW!!). Spaces are limited and they will fill up fast, I mean, c’mon…when was the last time a big rig rolled in to your town full of geeks giving knowledge away!?

Further, should you want to follow the Bus, we’ll be ending up at TechEd North America 2010 in New Orleans which if you haven’t registered for that either, what are you waiting for?!!?

Follow @thebustour on Twitter or join our Facebook Fan Club!

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Office 2010 – Deployment Options

As Office 2010 gets nearer RTM (another phase of releases went out the other day to TAP customers) many of us need to begin to think about how we’re going to deploy it.  Good news is that Microsoft has taken the thought out of the what’s and how’s and put it all together for us in a simple document.  Even better, they’ve given us three options – a PDF, an XPS or even a Visio (what the PDF and XPS were made from, no doubt).

In short, there are five ways to deploy Office 2010:

As with anything, each has its advantages and disadvantages, all outlined for you and downloadable from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=85607061-5eb2-4659-afc5-5d942b84a024&displaylang=en

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Deploying Office 2010 with Presentation Virtualisation (a.k.a. Terminal Services)

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(Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use Windows Server® 2008 Terminal Services as a deployment option to allow users to operate the Office 2010 applications from their workstations. Terminal Services is run on a shared server and presents the application user interface on a remote system, such as a local workstation. Using Terminal Services to take advantage of App-V enables the optimization of the application through the sequencing process of application virtualization and then uses Terminal Services to deliver the application as a presentation virtualization.

Advantages
  • Centralizes management of applications, such as controlling application usage and license metering, which can help administrators ensure compliance.
  • Supports end-user roaming experience and to quickly make applications available to end-users.
  • Provides thin-client support.
  • Reduces network traffic because only keyboard, mouse, and display information is transmitted.
Limitations
  • Application availability is dependent on both the network infrastructure and the servers running the application.
  • Graphic-intensive applications might experience degradation in performance.
  • Less flexibility of traditional end-user experience on a workstation.
Recommendations
  • Presentation virtualization is a good solution if application compatibility, such as running multiple versions of Office, is required and you want to use the processing power of servers running Terminal Services to operate the applications.
  • When older workstations do not support the operating system,  presentation virtualization is a good solution.
  • Ensure that redundancy is in place for presentation virtualization infrastructure to avoid having a single point of failure.
Deployment Help & Tools

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Deploying Office 2010 Using Application Virtualisation (App-V)

image (Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) as part of a deployment option to allow users to run Office 2010 applications on their workstations. App-V streams applications on demand to the workstation, from which the application is run. However, the application is not installed on the workstation.

Advantages
  • Centralizes management of applications, such as controlling application usage and license metering, which can help administrators ensure compliance.
  • Supports end-user roaming experience and provides applications to end users quickly.
  • Allows multiple versions of Office to run on the workstation and can run both virtual applications and installed applications.
  • Office 2010 runs in an isolated virtual environment, which can enable previously incompatible applications to run on the same workstation.
  • Uses available workstation processing power to run applications.
Limitations
  • Requires supporting infrastructure and resources for App-V, which will vary depending on the infrastructure deployment option selection.
  • Network bandwidth availability for streaming application to end-user device.
  • Integration into existing infrastructure, such as patch management process.
Recommendations
  • When application compatibility, such as running multiple versions of Office 2010, is required and you want to use the processing power of the workstation to run the applications, then application virtualization is a good solution.
  • When you want to use the existing processing power of the workstation to run the application, then application virtualization is a good solution, as opposed to the use of presentation virtualization, where the running of the application takes place on the servers.
  • When scalability is needed for the distribution of the virtualized application to many hundreds of computers and in different locations, such as remote offices, we recommend  use of change and configuration management software, such as Microsoft
  • System Center Configuration Manager, as the delivery mechanism.
    Ensure that redundancy is in place for application virtualization infrastructure to avoid having a single point of failure.
Deployment Help & Tools

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Deploying Office 2010 with Manageability Tools

image (Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use change and configuration management software, such as Microsoft System Center Essentials and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, to deploy Office 2010 applications. The choice of System Center Essentials or Configuration Manager depends in part on the size of your organization.

Advantages
  • Applications are deployed to thousands of workstations in a short period of time. Managed deployment systems can first push the installation bits to the targeted workstations over a specified period of time (such as over a week), which helps distribute the load to the network and allows for a quick deployment once the installation bits are on the targeted workstations.
  • Makes network bandwidth management easier.
  • Centralizes control, monitoring, reporting, and issue resolution of deployment.
  • Reduces the need of sending helpdesk personnel to workstations for troubleshooting.
Limitations
  • Requires supporting infrastructure.
  • Expertise is required to manage the change and configuration management software.
Recommendations
  • Use managed deployment systems when applications are deployed to thousands of workstations in a short period of time.
  • Put change and configuration management policies in place.
  • Plan, test, and validate before rolling out to production.
  • Roll out in a phased manner. This is especially true for unattended installs — the most common issue is people not creating/configuring a valid unattended install experience.
  • Schedule deployments for minimum network utilization times, such as evenings and weekends.
Deployment Help &Tools

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Deploying Office 2010 via Group Policy & Scripts

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(Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use Group Policy to assign computer startup scripts to deploy Office 2010. A script can be written in any language that is supported by the client computer. Windows Script Host-supported languages, such as VBScript and JScript, and command files are the most common.

Advantages
  • Leverages Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and Group Policy infrastructure.
    AD DS handles the elevation of privileges required for application installation.
    Administrators can use a similar scripting process to apply security updates and service packs for each computer in the domain or organizational unit.
    A script can be written in any language that is supported by the client computer, such as VBScript and JScript, which are Windows Script Host-supported languages.
Limitations
  • The product installation is not managed in the same way as Group Policy Software Installation (GPSI).
  • Group Policy invokes the script and has limited awareness of the installation state thereafter.
  • Product uninstalls and installs for multiple computers have to be done by using a command-line script or batch file.
  • It might be difficult to determine exactly which updates and service packs were applied for each client computer.
Recommendations

Group Policy startup scripts is a solution for organizations that do not have a desktop management application, such as Microsoft System Center Essentials or System Center Configuration Manager, but that need an automated way to deploy Office 2010 to many computers.

Deployment Help &Tools

Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)
Scripting languages, such as Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) and JScript
Sample Group Policy Startup Script
Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

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Deploying Office 2010 from a Network Share

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(Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

A simple way to deploy Office 2010 is to create a network installation point and copy the contents of the Office CD onto the network share. Make sure that the network is accessible by the targeted resources (users/computers).

Advantages
  • Easier for smaller IT departments to implement
    Network share and network access are the only infrastructure requirements.
    Flexibility — allows users to initiate the installation on an as-needed basis.
Limitations
  • Difficult to control and monitor who installs Office
    Difficult to manage installation times by end users and consequent affects on network infrastructure.
Recommendations

Using network file and folder sharing for installing Office 2010 can be a good alternative for smaller organizations that lack supporting infrastructure such as Microsoft System Center Essentials, Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), or available technical knowledge, such as scripting.

Deployment Help & Tools

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Windows Live Export –> Outlook Import = Missing Headers

For the past 18 months I’ve been using Windows Live Mail.  It has some great functionality and capabilities (newsreader, outlook like effects, etc) however it just wasn’t Outlook.  As I’ve been fully in to my Office 2010 testing, I thought, let’s export my Windows Live Mail to Outlook and start using the full monty.  First thing to be made aware of – Windows Live Mail only works 32 bit and the new Outlook has 64 bit capabilities.  You can’t export from WLM on an x64 machine to Outlook x64.  The MAPI handlers just don’t like it.  Therefore I built a 32 bit VM and exported WLM to Exchange (which in essence makes a .pst file).

Presto, the .pst contained all of my mail and I was happy as Larry (where does that saying come from?).  Any way, I went to respond to a mail and found out the export wasn’t really a true export.  In the mail listing pane I saw this:

outlook-import-icons

You’ll notice a difference between the top mail and the bottom two.  The icon on the bottom signifies I haven’t opened the mail…Well, not really true.  I had opened the mail, but I had done so in WLM.  The preview pane showed positive signs of transferral:

outlook-mail-header

It showed the mail name, but I couldn’t double click on it and if I chose reply, it put the full name, but there was no GAL to cross-reference it to, hence it wouldn’t send.  I though to myself, I wonder if it exported all of the details…I opened the mail to look at the headers and what did I find:

missing-headers

Oops, nothing!

So, when choosing your mail tool of choice, if at any time you wish to swap to and or fro, realise that as with any program, when exporting or migrating the data, there are “quirks” to be aware of, and this is one of them (well two if you take in to account the x64 compatibility issue).

Happy e-mailing :)

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