Managing Office 2010 RTM

Office 2010 has reached RTM (“release to manufacturing”) stage, and one week from today on May 12th Office 2010 will be available to business customers through Software Assurance they already have on copies of Office, or through new volume licences. (Technet and MSDN subscribers can already download the release version, and anyone can download the Beta to begin familiarising themselves with the new features.

The main (virtual) Office 2010 launch event will include a keynote speech by Stephen Elop, President of the Microsoft Business Division at 11am EDT (that’s 4pm BST for readers in the UK).

System administrators everywhere will also be pleased to find that the associated Office 2010 management tools are available to download already to coincide with the launch, unlike the time lag before they were available for Office 2007, or for the later service packs. This nearly 16MB download is a self extracting exe which will force a UAC prompt on newer OS’s, which can be useful so you can put the files in a folder which needs elevated privileges, and the contents expand to a total of about 123MB.

The extracted files include Group Policy templates in ADM and ADMX formats so you can use these on XP/2003 or Windows Vista/7/2008 to create your policies. The ADMX files give you the usual advantage of a single central store versus ADM files being duplicated for every policy that uses them.

Also in the package is an updated version of the Office Customisation Tool (OCT) and opax files which contain settings for all the different apps. You will also find the now standard Excel file full (in .xls format) of GP and OCT settings for all the applications and general ones for the Office 2010 suite as a whole. You should also download and read the release notes as a Word document for these tools from the same download page, which has some late changes that supercede the spreadsheet. Some of these are fairly trivial and simply reflect changes to the explain text or the URL linked from that text.

The associated ADML and OPAL files also enable you to manage your policies across multiple languages. Included in the package at the moment are 11 language variations including English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and two Chinese variants (zh-cn for PRC and zh-tw for Taiwan. Technet says there is a Hong Kong language version included but I can’t see it).

There is more information about what you can find in the ADM/ADMX files and how to use the OCT here on Technet, and more in the deployment sections of the Resource Kit.

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