Deploy Office 2010 with limited network capacity


Applies to: Office 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-10-12

Banner stating end of support date for Office 2010 with link to more info

If you are deploying Microsoft Office 2010 in an environment that has limited network resources, the Setup architecture in Office 2010 lets you minimize the demand on the network and still ensure that all users install the new version at exactly the same time.

For example, your organization has distant branch offices that connect to the corporate network over a limited or expensive wide area network (WAN), or you have a higher-capacity corporate network that supports thousands of users. If you distribute Office 2010 by using a typical logon script, and 10,000 users access the network at the same time, they might have to wait too long for 500 MB of installation files to travel over the network.

In these kinds of environments, you can distribute the Office 2010 source files to users over time. Once your targeted user groups have a local installation source deployed on their computers, you can schedule a concurrent installation of Office without overtaxing the corporate network.

For information about customization for Office 2010 clients, we recommend that you read the following articles before you customize the installation: Customization overview for Office 2010 and Volume activation overview for Office 2010.

In this article:

  • Recommended solution

  • How this solution works

How this solution works

This deployment strategy works because Setup always installs Office 2010 products in two stages. First, Setup copies all required installation files from the network installation point to a hidden folder on the local computer. Second, Setup calls Windows Installer to perform the installation from each user's local installation source. Separating these two phases of the process lets you manage the load on the network more efficiently.

You configure Office 2010 before you distribute the local installation source. To specify most user configuration options, you run the Office Customization Tool (OCT) to generate a Setup customization file (.msp file). We recommend that you store the customization file for initial installations in the Updates folder at the root of the network installation point. For information about how to customize the installation by using the OCT, see Office Customization Tool in Office 2010.


If you plan to deploy multiple Setup customization files (.msp files), you can place only one customization .msp file in the Updates folder for an initial installation. You must deploy the rest of the customization .msp files after the installation of Office 2010 is completed. Only one Setup customization file in the Updates folder is supported. The customization .msp file that you place in the Updates folder will be deployed first. Therefore, it must include any Setup customizations that cannot be changed after the installation (for example, the installation location).

For some customizations, such as specifying additional languages, you must edit the Config.xml file for the product that you are installing. You also edit the Config.xml file to specify that Setup deploy only the local source. For information about how to specify additional languages and how to use the Config.xml file, see Customize deployment of language setup and Proofing Tools in Office 2010 and Config.xml file in Office 2010.

When the customizations are complete, you run Setup to distribute the local installation source to one group of users at a time. You can use any distribution method, such as a logon script, a batch file, or an enterprise software deployment tool such as Microsoft Systems Management Server, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, or a third-party tool. In the precache scenario only, Setup copies the Updates folder from the network installation point to the local source. All the customizations are included in the local source.

Setup also includes a copy of itself in the local installation source. After your targeted users have a local installation source on their computers, you can trigger Setup to run from the local source and complete the installation at the scheduled time. The installation, including application of the customizations and software updates, occurs locally without file transfers or any other activity over the network.


When Setup installs Office 2010 from the local installation source, it does not return to the original network installation point to look for new customization files or software updates. Only the files cached in the local installation source on the user’s computer are applied. If you make additional customizations or add new software updates to the network installation point after you precache the local source, you must distribute them separately, after Office is installed.