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Office 2003 Unattended Install w/o Volume Licence?


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I'm having a bit of a hard time with trying to create an unattended setup for my company over the network. The basic plan is to use the MS Business Desktop Deployment Solution Accelerator as the backbone. I'm not concerned about the Windows portion of the unattended installtion but rather with Office 2003.

My company has an OEM copy of Office 2k3 Professional for each computer. There is no volume licence key for us. I have one copy of Office 2k3 Pro Enterprise Edition from an MSDN subscription with key, which is used to make the Administrative Installation Point on the server.

Now, this is all fine and dandy, but when making the install point the setup asks for a product key (a volume licence one of course) that will be used for all installations of Office. The problem is that the OEM versions of Office each computer has needs to be activated (the key given with the MSDN enterprise version also asks for activation still).

So! Here's what I'm asking.

Is there any way, over the network (preferred, but alternatives may have to be chosen) or off a CD to create an unattended installtion (besides entering the unique OEM key) of Office 2k3 with customized (important!) settings with the tools/versions I have available to me right now? I cannot for the life of me find a definite answer on any website or from Microsoft.

I know this is a complicated scenario but any help is appreciated.

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First things first. You cannot mix licenses, license types, cds, cd keys, admin install points, activation codes, or ANYTHING having to do with licensing. Period.

Let's start with what you have:

1) An Office 2003 Professional OEM license for each computer. You didn't say otherwise, so I'll assume that you have a hologram CD and valid cd key for each license.

2) An MSDN subscription that includes one copy of Office 2003 Professional Enterprise Edition.

OEM Office licenses are tied to the original computer they came with. MSDN licenses can be installed on any number of computers but can only be used by a single user. I'm going to assume that you want to get your OEM copies installed on each computer, so get rid of your MSDN media, network install point, and cd keys. Forget you even own an MSDN copy.

OEM copies of Office support the following:

- Custom Installation Wizard (transforms)

- Quiet Install (/q)

OEM copies of Office do NOT support the following:

- Custom Maintenance Wizard

- Admin Install Points

Armed with this knowledge, what you should do is use the Custom Installation Wizard to create a transform with your customizations. You can COPY the OEM Office CD to a network share (literally copy, do not create an admin install point) and run your installs directly from the network like so:

\\server\share\Off2003\setup.exe TRANSFORMS=\\server\share\Off2003\Custom.mst /qb

If you have access to the OEM Preinstallation Kit, it includes a tool to reset the cd key after you've done your deployment, so you can type each machine's unique key in order to activate. If you don't have access to the OPK, you'll need to specify each computer's unique key at install time by using a command line parameter like so:

\\server\share\Off2003\setup.exe TRANSFORMS=\\server\share\Off2003\Custom.mst PIDKEY=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX /qb

Please run the command line exactly as specified; do not include dashes in your cd key.

I hope this helps, feel free to read the online copy of the Office Resource Kit for lots more information.

Lastly, your company may want to consider acquiring a copy of Office 2003 through standard volume licensing channels. When you purchase Microsoft software under a volume license, the Product Use Rights grant you the right to use the volume license software and keys in place of other identical products. This means that you would be able to use the volume license copy of Microsoft Office Professional in place of the OEM copies. Makes for much easier deployment all around.

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