0 Replies Latest reply on Feb 11, 2016 4:18 PM by Jason_Marshall

    VMware App Volumes Provisioning Recipe for Microsoft Office 365

    Jason_Marshall Hot Shot
    VMware Employees

      With a great thank you to Denis Gundarev for putting this guide together. I herby present to world how to provision Office in an Appstack.



      General Information

      This recipe provides step-by-step instructions on how to provision and manage App Volumes AppStacks with Microsoft Office 365. This guide does not cover all aspects of App Volumes deployment and configuration; it only covers aspects specific to Office 365 deployment in App Volumes environment.

      These instructions are provided "as is" and do not fully cover licensing scenarios. Readers should consult with Microsoft licensing or support specialists regarding Office 365 plans and advanced configuration.

      Important: Office 365 is currently available in two versions: Office 2013 and Office 2016. App Volumes 2.10 has been tested only with Office 2013. Office 2016 version of Office 365 may work; however, that version is not currently on the compatibility list.

      Process for Provision Office 365 AppStack

      The following table provides a high-level description of the provisioning process:




      Step 1

      Review the requirements

      This step is necessary to understand Office 365 deployment options and coexistence with App Volumes


      See the “Requirements” section[MB(1]

      Step 2

      Plan the AppStack

      Understand how many AppStacks you should have


      See the “Planning the AppStack” section

      Step 3

      Prepare the Office 365 Installation source

      Before provisioning the AppStack, use the Office Deployment Tool to download and configure Office 365 Installation source.


      See the “Preparing Office 365 Installation Source” section

      Step 4

      Provision the AppStack

      After the installation source is configured, use the provisioning VM to provision the AppStack.


      See “Provision the AppStack” section

      Step 5

      (Optional) Install Office Add-ons

      If you plan to use third-party Office add-ons, review the section “Third-party applications and Office Add-Ons.”

      Step 6

      (Optional) Updating the AppStack

      For guidelines on how to update the AppStack when a new build of Office 365 is released, review the “Updating the AppStack” section



      App Volumes                                                                                               

      App Volumes 2.10 is the first version of App Volumes that is compatible with Office 365. If you have been using a previous version of App Volumes, make sure that all components, including the Manager, agents and templates are updated.

      Office 365 Subscription

      Shared Computer Activation is required when App Volumes delivers Office 365. This functionality is only available with Office 365 subscription plans that include Office 365 ProPlus. Currently only the following Office 365 plans support Shared Computer Activation:

      • Office 365 ProPlus
      • Office 365 Enterprise E3
      • Office 365 Enterprise E4
      • Office 365 Government E3
      • Office 365 Government E4
      • Office 365 Nonprofit E3
      • Office 365 Nonprofit E4

      Internet Connectivity

      Office 365 ProPlus contacts with the Office Licensing Service on the Internet to obtain or renew a licensing token whenever the user is logging in and launching Office. Therefore, reliable connectivity is required between all target computer s and the Internet.

      You also need the Internet to download or update the Office 365 Installation source.

      Compute and Storage Resources

      To prepare the Installation source, you need a computer that is connected to the Internet and that runs one of the following operating systems:

      • Windows 7
      • Windows 8 or 8.1
      • Windows Server 2008 R2
      • Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2

      Important: We recommend running preparation on a computer that doesn’t have AppStacks or Writables attached. Since no components are not installed into the system, this could be your workstation.

      During preparation , about 1.5GB are downloaded from the internet, each additional language pack adds 175-250 Mb.

      We recommend storing installation source package on the remote file server.

      User accounts

      Office 365 require each user to have a user account to sign in to Office 365.  Users must also be assigned an Office 365 license from the Microsoft Office 365 Portal.


      It is possible to configure the environment to allow a Single Sign-On (SSO), so that users don’t need to type their Office 365 credentials every time they log in. Such a configuration is out of the scope of this guide; please consult with your Microsoft representative.

      Understanding Installation Methods

      • Office 365 subscriptions use Click-to-Run technology to install Office applications on a computer. This differs from Windows Installer technology (MSI) technology that is used to install the volume license editions of Office, such as Microsoft Office Professional Plus and Microsoft Office Standard.
      • You cannot have Office products that use two different installation technologies on the same computer. This also applies to standalone applications.

      This mean that following scenarios are not supported:

      • Having AppStack with standalone Office 365 applications like Visio, Project, Skype for Business, or OneDrive for Business attached to a computer with an MSI-based installation of Office 2013 on the base operating system image.
      • Assigning AppStacks that use different installation methods to the same computer.

      Please also note that Microsoft does not support mixing any of the install methods with Office delivered using Microsoft App-V.

      • You cannot mix 32-bit and 64-bit Office AppStacks.

      Planning the AppStack

      Click-to-Run:  Microsoft does not support two separate Click-To-Run packages on the same computer. For example, you cannot have Office 365 ProPlus AppStack, and Office Visio AppStack assigned to the same computer.

      To resolve this issue, we recommend deploying all Office applications as a single Click-To-Run package to a single AppStack.

      However, if your licensing does not permit the use of additional Office applications for all users, you should create separate AppStacks with all required combinations and assign them to appropriate domain groups.

      Example: Suppose all users need to have a base Office 365 package, while some users need Visio, others need Project, and others need to have all applications.  In this case, you create 4 AppStacks as defined below:

      • AppStack with Office 365
      • AppStack with Office 365 + Visio
      • AppStack with Office 365 + Project
      • AppStack with Office 365 + Visio +Project

      32- vs. 64-bit versions:  Office 365 ProPlus is available in a 32-bit and a 64-bit version.  Select the version when preparing the installation source.

      Language:  You may also select which language packs should be included into the AppStack.

      For more details on versions and language packs, see the “Customizing the Configuration File” section below.

      Preparing Office 365 Installation Source

      Unlike MSI- based installations, Office 365 Click-to-Run is not available at Microsoft Volume Licensing and can be only downloaded by Office Deployment Tool (ODT).

      You can download the Office Deployment Tool from the Microsoft website. The download includes a sample configuration file, Configuration.xml. The Office Deployment Tool performs the tasks that are specified by using the optional properties in the Configuration.xml file.


      There are two different versions of the Office Deployment Tool available – one for Office 2013 and a different one for Office 2016. Each Office Deployment Tool works only with that specific version of Office. You can download them from the Microsoft Download Center by using the following links:

      The Office Deployment Tool is a downloadable self-extracting executable file that contains the following:

      • Office Deployment Tool .exe file
      • Product updates behavior
      • A sample Configuration.xml file

      Customizing the Configuration File

      A custom .xml configuration file for Click-to-Run is used to specify download and installation instructions such as the following:

      · Product and languages to install

      · Installation source path

      · Level of user interfaces to display

      · Logging options

      The .xml file may be edited using Notepad or any other text editor. We recommend saving the configuration to a separate file for each AppStack you are planning to create. While you may name the file anything you like, we recommend that you give it an informative, descriptive name.

      Example configuration.xml:


      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>


        <Add SourcePath="\\FileServer\Office15\WS32"


          <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">

            <Language ID="en-us" />

            <Language ID="ja-jp" />


            <ExcludeApp ID="Groove" />

            <ExcludeApp ID="Lync" />


          <Product ID="ProjectProRetail">

            <Language ID="en-us" />


          <Product ID="VisioProRetail">

            <Language ID="en-us" />



        <Updates Enabled="FALSE" />

        <Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="TRUE" />

        <Logging Level="Standard" Path="%temp%" />

        <Property Name="AUTOACTIVATE" Value="1" />

        <Property Name="SharedComputerLicensing"

                  Value="1" />




      In the example below following parameters are important:

      Add SourcePath="\\FileServer\Office15\WS32"

      Specifies the location where ODT will save downloaded files.

      The Same parameter is used during provisioning to locate the installation source


      Edition of the Click-To-Run package could be “32” or “64.”

      Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail"

      Product ID="ProjectProRetail"

      Product ID="VisioProRetail"

      Specify the products that will be downloaded and installed

      See https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2842297 for a full list of supported IDs

      ExcludeApp ID="Groove"
      ExcludeApp ID="Lync"

      List of Applications you want to exclude from the installation

      1. Optional.

      The following is a list of the supported values for ID:

      • Access
      • Excel
      • Groove
      • InfoPath
      • Lync
      • OneNote
      • Outlook
      • PowerPoint
      • Project
      • Publisher
      • SharePointDesigner
      • Visio
      • Word

      The value “Groove” is used to exclude OneDrive for Business.

      The value "Lync" also applies to Skype for Business.

      Language ID="en-us"
      Language ID="ja-jp"

      Specifies, which product languages to download and install.

      Updates Enabled="FALSE"

      Because AppStacks are read-only, automatic Office updates must be disabled

      Display Level="None"

      Specify that no UI will be shown during provisioning. This should be set to “None” to prevent automatic activation right after the installation


      Automatically accept EULA

      <Logging Level="Standard" Path="%temp%" />

      Logging level during download and setup and location of the log file

      Property Name="AUTOACTIVATE" Value="1"

      Force automatic activation when user starts the Office application, should be set to “1.”

      Property Name="SharedComputerLicensing" 

      Mandatory parameter to enable Shared Computer Activation


      This document provides the only minimum required information on how to configure the .xml file to use in the App Volumes environment. For additional details, refer to Microsoft documentation:  Reference for Click-to-Run Configuration.xml file.

      Downloading Office 365 ProPlus

      To download the installation source, run setup.exe from ODT, specify the “/download” parameter and provide a path to the custom .xml file.


      \\FileServer\Office15\setup.exe /download \\FileServer\Office15\Download.xml

      The source path should now be populated with an Office folder containing the Office 365 ProPlus installation source.

      Provision the AppStack

      1. Using App Volumes Manager, create a new AppStack. Make sure that it is created using 2.10 template or higher.
      2. Start AppStack provisioning by assigning the new AppStack to the Provisioning VM.
      3. Log in to the provisioning VM as administrator.
      4. Open the elevated command prompt.
      5. From the elevated command prompt, run setup.exe from ODT.  Specify the “/configure” parameter and provide a path to the custom .xml file to install Office 365: 


      \\FileServer\Office15\setup.exe /configure \\FileServer\Office15\Download.xml

      1. Wait until the command finishes.  Please note that a progress window will not be displayed. The process can take several minutes to complete. 
      2. Verify that Office 365 is installed by checking shortcuts in the Start menu. Do not run any of the Office applications after installation. If you need to configure any settings, consider using of Group Policy templates.
      3. (Optional) Modify the shortcut layout.  Make sure that you do this in a common Start menu available for all users.
      4. Finish the provisioning by clicking on the “OK” button.
      5. The provisioning VM restarts.
      6. Login to the provisioning VM to complete the process.

      Third-party Applications and Office Add-Ons

      Most third-party applications and add-ons are dynamically discovered by Office in cases when they are delivered by AppStacks separately from the Office 365 AppStack. However, in some scenarios, add-ons may need additional configuration or require Office to be present during the provisioning. If a third-party add-on is not interconnecting with Office 365, follow the steps below to troubleshoot the issue:

      1. Verify with the application/add-on vendor that the version (32-bit or 64-bit) that you use is supported by the application/add-on and that Click-To-Run deployment is supported.
      2. Verify that the application works as expected when both Office 365 and application are installed on the base operating system image when no AppStacks or writables are attached.

      Updating the AppStack

      Click-to-Run deployments of Office 365 differ from traditional MSI-based deployment in the method of upgrading/patching the installation. Updates are not distributed with Windows Update and must be installed using ODT.

      There are two methods of upgrading:

      1. a) New AppStack (Recommended)
      2. Run setup.exe from ODT with/download parameter to refresh the installation source. You can use the existing .xml file without modification.
      3. Create and provision a new AppStack using the instructions above.


      1. b) Updating AppStack
      2. Run setup.exe from ODT with /download parameter to refresh the installation source. You can use the existing .xml file without modification
      3. Using App Volumes Manager, select a command to update an existing AppStack.
      4. Start AppStack provisioning by assigning the new AppStack to the Provisioning VM.
      5. Log in to the provisioning VM as administrator.
      6. Open elevated command prompt.
      7. From the elevated command prompt, run the Setup.exe from ODT, specify the /configure parameter and provide path to the custom .xml file to install Office 365.


      \\FileServer\Office15\setup.exe /configure \\FileServer\Office15\Download.xml

      1. Wait until the command finishes.  Please note that a progress window will not be displayed. The process can take several minutes to complete
      2. Verify that Office 365 is installed by checking shortcuts in the Start menu. Do not run any of the Office applications after installation. If you need to configure any settings, consider the use of Group Policy templates.
      3. (Optional) Modify the shortcut layout.  Make sure that you are doing this in a common Start menu available for all users.
      4. Finish the provisioning by clicking on the “OK” button.
      5. The provisioning VM will restart.
      6. Login to the provisioning VM to complete the process.




      Office 2013 Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36778)

      Overview of shared computer activation for Office 365 ProPlus (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn782860.aspx)

      Office installed using Click-to-Run and Window Installer on same computer isn't supported (https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Office-installed-using-Click-to-Run-and-Window-Installer-on-same-computer-isn-t-supported-30775ef4-fa77-4f47-98fb-c5826a6926cd)

      Determine the deployment method to use for Office 365 ProPlus (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg998766.aspx)

      Overview of Click-to-Run customization (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219428.aspx)

      Reference for Click-to-Run configuration.xml file (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219426.aspx)

      Update Office 2013 or Office 365 (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/gp/office-2013-365-update)

      Product IDs that are supported by the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2842297)

      Download Click-to-Run for Office 365 products by using the Office Deployment Tool (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219424.aspx)

      Group Policy Administrative Template files (ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool (OCT) files for Office 2013 (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc178992.aspx)