deploying the Outlook client, administrators can take advantage of
several existing Microsoft technologies that have been designed for
software distribution. In addition, by utilizing tools found in the
installation media and the Microsoft Office Resource Kit (ORK), custom
installations and settings can be preconfigured and deployed using one
of several software distribution methods.
As organizations begin
the planning process, administrators can pick and choose from the
available deployment methods and can implement custom client
installations that are based on the specific need for each type of
Available Methods of Deployment
With Outlook 2003 and
Outlook 2007, the installation of the client software to the desktop can
be performed in ways not available for previous versions. By
implementing the tools available in the installation media of Office
2007 or the Microsoft ORK, administrators can elect to use one or more
of the following methods for deploying the Outlook client:
Manual installation enables administrators to incorporate wizards,
profile generation tools, and configuration files into the client
installation process. Using these methods, administrators can define
baseline settings and standard configuration settings, and they can
manually test the installation when complete.
Windows Server 2008 or Windows 2003 Group Policy—
Leveraging Windows Group Policy Software deployment technologies and
Microsoft Office Security Templates, Outlook clients and client updates
can be pushed to desktop systems on the network. Using Group Policy,
administrators can also centrally configure Outlook security and user
options to enforce a baseline configuration to all client systems on the
Imaging technologies— Whether upgrading to a newer version of Outlook or deploying Outlook in a new environment, organizations can image the Outlook clients to the desktop or refresh the entire desktop image to implement updates or the latest company standards.
System Center Configuration Manager—
Using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), you can
centrally deploy and push the Outlook client and updates to large
numbers of desktop systems in multiple locations throughout the
enterprise. This option also enables tracking and reporting information
to manage a full Exchange Outlook client deployment.
Outlook Profile Generation
Often, one of
the biggest challenges Exchange Server administrators face when
deploying Outlook is configuring the profiles to communicate with the
Exchange server. To automate this task, profiles can be scripted using
tools available with the installation media of Office 2007 or the ORK
Outlook 2003 client
profiles and their associated Exchange server settings can be configured
using the Office 2003 Custom Installation Wizard (CIW) and
configuration files can be created with Outlook option settings.
can be similarly prepared utilizing the new Office Customization Tool
(OCT). The OCT is a new application that is included with Microsoft
Office 2007. With the OCT, administrators can preconfigure components
and settings within the Office 2007 suite to simplify deployments.
Creating Custom Profiles by Using PRF Files
By creating an
Outlook profile (PRF) file, administrators can quickly create Messaging
Application Programming Interface (MAPI) profiles for Microsoft Office
Outlook users. A PRF file is a text file that contains syntax that
Microsoft Outlook uses to generate a profile. By utilizing a PRF file,
an administrator can configure new profiles, or modify existing ones,
without affecting other parts of your Outlook (or Office) installation.
PRF files can be manually edited to include custom Outlook settings or
MAPI services that are not included in the Custom Installation Wizard
PRF files are executable, administrators can update profiles by
double-clicking the filename to run the file directly. When executing a
PRF file, Outlook ensures that services that should be unique are not
added more than once.
The easiest way to
create a PRF file is by using the Custom Installation Wizard (CIW) for
Office 2003, or the OCT for Office 2007. Administrators can specify the
settings desired, and then export the settings to a PRF file. The PRF
file can then be manually edited if the need should arise, for example,
if your organization wants to add a new service that is not included in
the CIW or OCT. The PRF file can be manually edited in any text-editing
application (such as notepad.exe).
To create a PRF file with Office 2007, use the setup.exe file on the installation media. The steps to create a PRF file follow:
From the root of the Office 2007 media, enter setup.exe /admin to launch the Office Customization Tool.
Click OK to create a new setup customization file.
Select the Outlook profile under Outlook from the left tree.
either the Modify Profile radio button to use the default profile named
Default Outlook Profile or the New Profile radio button to create a
different named profile.
Select Specify Exchange Server settings under Outlook from the left tree.
Select the Configure an Exchange Server connection radio button.
Enter the Exchange Server name.
Select Remove Accounts & Export Settings under Outlook from the left tree.
Click the Export Profile Settings button.
Browse to a save location and enter a filename to save the PRF to.
You can use the resulting PRF file to set the profile automatically.
You can set additional settings to customize even further. PRF files can be applied to Outlook in several ways:
Import the PRF
file in the CIW or the OCT to specify profile settings in a transform,
and then include the transform when you deploy Outlook.
Specify the PRF file as a command-line option for outlook.exe, without prompting the user, as follows:
outlook.exe /importprf \\server1\share\outlook.prf
Specify the PRF file as a command-line option for outlook.exe, but prompt the user before importing the PRF file, as follows:
outlook.exe /promptimportprf \\localfolder\outlook.prf
Although the PRF file
can be located on a network share (as shown in the first example), it
will not be applied if the file is not found or if the user account used
to execute the installation process does not have the appropriate
permissions to access the file.
can also configure the Registry to trigger Outlook to import the PRF
file upon startup. Both the CIW and the Custom Maintenance Wizard
contain a feature that allows you to Add/Remove Registry Entries.
Using the CIW or
the OCT to preconfigure Outlook options and apply the initial profile
configuration through PRF files is a very effective means of deploying
CIW and Microsoft Exchange Profile Update tool, along with additional
utilities, can be found in the ORK, which can be downloaded from
Microsoft. These are needed for configuring Outlook 2003. The tools for
Outlook 2007, such as the OCT, are included in the Outlook 2007 setup
program and you can access them by running setup.exe /admin.
Configuring Outlook Client Options
Even after the
Outlook client software has been installed, administrators can define
configuration settings and apply them dynamically to the existing
clients. This task can be accomplished in one of several ways.
Custom Installation Wizard
To deploy the Outlook 2003
client to desktops on the network with configuration options
predefined, powerful tools such as the CIW, along with Office
configuration files such as PRF files, can be leveraged to define
Outlook client options for large deployments that have the need to
specify client user options. Using these tools can potentially eliminate
the need for administrators to visit each desktop to configure profile
settings and Outlook options.
The resulting files are Microsoft Windows Installer Transform (MST) files.
Office Customization Tool
What the CIW is to Office
2003, the OCT is to Office 2007. Administrators can preconfigure
components and settings to simplify the deployment of the product. The
resulting files are Microsoft Windows Installer Patch (MSP) files.
Windows Server Group Policy
configuration option is the centralized management available through
security templates for Outlook. With the Group Policy feature of Windows
Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003, standard and advanced options can
be configured and established after the client software has been
This option can also be useful when deploying new settings to existing clients after a policy change.
Deploying Non-Windows Systems
In organizations with
non-Windows–based systems, such as a Macintosh desktop, special
considerations must be made for accessing an Exchange Server