Office 2010 Group Policy setting reference

There’s a useful Office 2010 Group Policy settings reference which details 428 settings which are new versus Office 2007, 125 deprecated or removed since 2007, and 98 which write to registry locations which are not version specific (and therefore might be policies which affect older and newer versions equally). This is a useful additional companion to the main settings reference (downloaded as part of the Office 2010 admin templates as discussed in an earlier post about managing Office 2010), especially to quickly identify where you may need to make new decisions rather than just replicating your original Office 2007 group policies setting by setting.

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.

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Group Policy templates and references for Office 2007

It took a while but eventually Microsoft got round to providing the Group Policy administration templates for Office 2007 in ADMX format, so they can be used properly with the Group Policy management tools in Vista and Windows server 2008. By properly, I mean using a central store and having the option to use ADML files to view and edit policies in an administrator’s preferred local language. You can get the ADM, ADMX and ADML files for Office 2007 in a single download here which is a self-extracting file that creates a folder structure containing all the relevant files.

This also has the bonus of including the Office Customisation Tool (OCT) which you can use to create an MSP file to customise a centralised network installation of Office for new installations, upgrades, or reconfiguration. You can find out more about the methods for customising Office 2007 setup files here and specifics about the OCT here. In addition the download extracts an Excel workbook “Office2007GroupPolicyAndOCTSettings.xls” that provides information about the 2007 Office release Group Policy settings and OPA settings, making it clear what can be pre-customised at the point of installation and what can only be set through policies.

You will probably also find the Office 2007 settings reference file useful. This is a comprehensive reference for all the settings in the GUI for Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word 2007. This gives the equivalent UI path in 2003 (where there is one), the default setting, what choices can be made, what policy settings exist and which registry keys those change. A very helpful file for understanding how to customise the user experience, and deciding which parts to do through policies and which settings are better left to users (and perhaps prompting you to educate them about the usefulness of some of these).