Slipstreaming Office 2007

Back on the old site, I posted this guide to slipstreaming service packs and updates to Office 2003. It was a straightforward, if laborious, process with a lot of potential downfalls. For starters, it required a lot of arcane command-line entries, which a lot of people are uncomfortable with. It also modified the original installation files, and there wasn’t an easy way to tell if one update had already been applied to the installation media. In most cases, you had to try applying a hotfix or patch to the installation point and you’d either get an “installation complete” or “patch already applied” prompt. Lastly, slipstreaming Office 2003 only worked with volume license editions of Office, so folks at home couldn’t join the fun.

When it comes to Office 2007, there’s good news for slipstreamers! Microsoft has greatly simplified the process, which now works with any version of Office 2007. To slipstream hotfixes and service packs into Office 2007, follow these simple directions:

1) Copy the Office 2007 CD\DVD to a temporary folder on your hard drive (I’ll use g:\Office2007 in this example).

2) Download the service packs\hotfixes you want to apply to the media. You can save them anywhere you want, but in this example I’ll save them to c:\downloads.

3) Click on Start > Run and type the following into the “Run:” box:

C:\Downloads\hotfix.exe /extract:G:\Office2007\Updates\

where “hotfix.exe” is the full name of the Office update file, such as “office2007sp1-kb936982-fullfile-en-us.exe”.

4) Repeat step 3 with any other hotfix files you wish to apply.

5) Check the g:\Office2007\Updates folder. You should see one (or more) files with the extension .MSP.

If you do, skip to the next step.

If you don’t, repeat step 3 but use only HOTFIX.EXE /EXTRACT (in other words, leave off the destination directory). You will be prompted for a destination directory by a typical Save\Open dialog box; click on g:\Office2007\Updates as the destination.

6) Burn the contents of the g:\Office2007 folder to CD\DVD, or copy to a network share.

That’s it! The Office installer will apply any (and all) MSP files in the “Updates” folder to the installation when you install\reinstall Office on a client computer. This makes things much simpler for administrators, since they only have to look at the date of a hotfix file (such as OUTLFLTR.MSP, Outlook 2007’s Junk Email filter) to figure out which version is being applied to their clients. Unlike “traditional” slipstreaming, administrators can also remove hotfixes from CD\DVD\installation points simply by deleting the MSP file from the “Updates” folder – something that was impossible to do with Office 2003.

Note that this method will run within Office setup as a type of “post-install routine” – in other words, you’re not actually updating the installation files (as with Office 2003 slipstreaming), you’re telling setup to apply these patches during install. It adds a couple of minutes to the installation routine (as opposed to the “old” way, which added no time), but I think it’s worth it for the simplicity of the new method.

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