Office Deployment Toolkit – taking a look

Office Deployment Toolkit – taking a look

2016-10-21
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in Blog
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When I attempted to create a virtualized Office application using the Office Deployment Toolkit (ODT) I was happily surprised at how easy it was, and extremely disappointed that it contained a lot of ‘baggage’. That is, the virtualized Office application installed options that I did not have a choice on whether they should be there or not. These included things like ‘Proofing Tools’, ‘Office 2013 Upload Center’, ‘Telemetry Dashboard for Office 2013’ etc.

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I wanted to get rid of nearly all of this ‘junk’.  Unfortunately, Microsoft only offers the following apps to be excluded:

So if I wanted to remove these extra apps, which should I select?

 

This I have not been able to figure out.  BUT what you can do is modify the mcxml’s after you’ve built a package once, removing all these extra programs, and run the ‘flattener.exe’ again.  This will remake your package without them.  So the steps in detail:

  1. Create your config.xml file and exclude everything:
  2. run the ‘Packager’ switch
  3. This leaves you with a ‘blank’ package.  In reality, it leaves you with a package full of the extra stuff Microsoft crams in.  The package itself weighs in around 630MB for an AppV office package without office!  The extra ‘configurations’ we can now look at removing.

This is what was left in the workingDir:

Now explore to “%TEMP%\Microsoft Office 15\root\mcxml” and you’ll see these same mcxml files these extra bits.  This is where they are pulled to the WorkingDir to be processed.  If we remove them here then they won’t be pulled and we can continue without them being installed.  There are a few files we need to keep as they implement the publishing scripts for the package.  These files are:

Now modify your config.xml file and remove the exclude for the app you want to keep (Lync in my case):

Rerun the packager command.  This will ensure your application’s mcxml file is generated.

Now we want to remove all the previously detected extra files from the %Temp%\Microsoft Office 15\root\mcxml directory.  This is what I was left with:

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Now, we do NOT want to run the setup.exe as that will re-add all the extra bits.  We just want to run the flattener.exe.  The command line to do so is:

Now we have a package that is only 62MB in size

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And if we open it in AppV we see only the components we are really interested in, just Skype For Business and we don’t have any other junk.  At this stage, the package ‘fails’ because some of the dependencies are not in the package.  I hope to be exploring what the exact dependencies are in a future post to explore what the actual *minimum* package size we can get away with for some of these Office applications.

 

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