Richard Smith has a nice post over on The Deployment Guys blog. 

Read the full post here.

Scenario1 – The Office Only Upgrade

You work in the IT department for large organisation which has an Standard Operating Environment (SOE) based on Windows XP and Office 2003. This is still a fairly common (although thankfully dying) situation. Your organisation is looking to upgrade to Office 2010, however there are some considerations. How do you know you’ve identified all critical Office files and checked their compatibility? Are you aware of every Office add-in being used in your environment? In order to proceed, you decide to leverage your investment in Software Assurance and MDOP, using App-V to deploy Office 2010 along side Office 2003. This will allow your users to get to know Office 2010 and identify any potential compatibility issues, without taking away their existing productivity suite. If something doesn’t work, you can instruct your users to simply keep editing that particular spreadsheet in Excel 2003 until the issue is resolved. This approach will also help you to support your  users adjustments to the change(s), by allowing them access to Office 2003 ‘just in case’.

Scenario 2 – The Windows 7 and Office 2010 Upgrade

OK, say you now work in the IT department for a different large organisation. Unfortunately, like in the first scenario, this company still has an SOE based on Windows XP and Office 2003. However this time you have the IT Director on your side and he/she is keen as mustard to upgrade the whole fleet to Windows 7 and Office 2010. Your organisation has a large number of sites, with varied desktop requirements, so you will need to deploy a light-weight, flexible SOE. You once again decide to leverage your investment in Software Assurance and MDOP. This time you can create a base Windows 7 image without any Microsoft Office products installed (as this will save you a few gigs in your WIM). You sequence Office 2010 using App-V with the intention of streaming the applications only to those PC’s that require them. Things are looking good… your department stands to realise significant savings from reduced software licenses, you have a flexible and efficient SOE ready to go…. the IT Director will be pleased…. maybe it’s time to ask for a pay rise?

So… do either of these scenarios sound familiar? If you’ve gone down these paths you’ve likely been faced with the challenge of migration settings from Office 2003. Take App-V out of the equation and this is a fairly straight forward concept, Office 2010 applications will migrate settings from previous versions the first time they launch… simple. With Office delivered through App-V however it’s a very different story. Sequence Office 2010 either by following the guidance on TechNet, or by using the new Package Accelerator (cool) and you’ll find that none of your user settings get migrated. Essentially, there are 2 reasons for this. First, during the sequencing process, we launch various Office applications a number of times. As such, when the applications launch for the first time on the user’s computer under App-V, they don’t exhibit their normal ‘first run’ behaviour, as it was performed already during sequencing. Second, even if the Office applications tried to perform their ‘first run’ actions, they wouldn’t be able to see the registry keys containing Office 2003 user settings, as these would be overridden by the Office 2010 information in the virtual registry.

In this post I will explain the steps required to deploy Office 2010 using App-V, in a manner that allows each user’s Office 2003 settings to be migrated across. To avoid re-inventing the wheel, I’m going to assume you are already familiar with the Microsoft Office Customization Tool (OCT), which we’ll use as part of the solution. If you haven’t used OCT before, I’d suggest take a look at this TechNet article, which has plenty of technical details and videos. I’m also going to assume that you are familiar with sequencing App-V packages, specifically Office 2010. Microsoft provide some fairly explicit guidance in this TechNet article. OK, let’s make this happen!! This solution is essentially a big ‘’Jedi Mind Trick’ (These aren’t the registry keys you’re looking for). We need to trick the sequenced version of Office 2010 into behaving the way we want. We need to trick it into thinking that Office 2003 was previously installed so it will attempt to migrate settings at ‘first run’. We also need to trick it into thinking that it has never launched before, even though it has, during the sequencing process.