Microsoft Office 2003 includes a feature that can be a huge help to anyone who supports a Microsoft Office deployment. The Office 2003 Setup has the ability to copy the Office installation files to a hidden folder on the hard drive, so the machine always has an available copy of the installation files.
There are two advantages to having Office's installation files available on the hard disk. First, if users or someone from the administrative staff need to install a new Office feature, they won't be prompted to insert an installation CD. Second, it allows Office to perform a degree of self-healing. If a critical file is damaged or deleted, Office can replace the missing file on its own.
The only problem is that users can delete the cached installation files. Fortunately, Microsoft offers an alternate version of the Office 2003 Setup program that supports two additional properties: the ENFORCECACHE option and the CACHEONLY option.
The ENFORCECACHE option adds some security to the cached installation files so they cannot be accidentally deleted. It also tells Office that it should always use the cached installation files any time that new features need to be installed.
If you run Setup with the CACHEONLY option, Setup will copy all the installation files to the cache on the hard drive, but it won't actually install Office. The idea is that Office can be installed later on, without the need for an installation CD.
The alternate Setup file is available for download from Microsoft's Web site.
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, he has written for Microsoft, CNET, ZDNet, TechTarget, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at www.brienposey.com.
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