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How to ThinApp Microsoft Office XP


These are instructions on how to install, configure, and capture Microsoft Office XP as a ThinApp Package. These instructions can be used to configure and deploy any version of Microsoft Office XP.


The following items and knowledge is required for use of this procedure:

  • A clean built VM with no other installations.
  • Familiarization with instructions on how to virtualize a software product via ThinApp (see, "How to Make a ThinApp Application" on http://blog.appvirt.info).
  • A legal, licensed copy of Microsoft Office XP.
  • A legal and valid Microsoft Office XP Volume License Key (VLK).
  • Have Microsoft .NET Framework


Setup and configuration of any version of Microsoft Office XP as a ThinApp package should be done with a Microsoft Volume License Key (VLK) as a Retail License Key (RLK) must be activated on each new machine it runs on.

Building a ThinApp package in no way modifies the licensing of the software product you are attempting to virtualize with ThinApp! Ensure you are in compliance with product licenses for ANY software package you wish to virtualize and deploy using ThinApp. Consult your software product's End User License Agreement (EULA) for reference and questions.

Instructions on How to ThinApp Microsoft Office XP

These are the basic instruction you will need on How to ThinApp Microsoft Office XP    

  1. Start with the instructions on building a clean VM and doing a ThinApp Package.
  2. Next, mount up an Office XP Pro CD and run the SETUP if it doesn't autostart.
  3. At the license screen, enter your VOLUME LICENSE KEY to Office XP Pro.
  4. On the USER INFORMATION window, delete the User Name, Initials, and Organization.

  5. On the EULA screen, check the I ACCEPT box to accept the EULA.

  6. For the type of installation, select CUSTOM install and leave the INSTALL TO folder as the default "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\" folder.

  7. On the CUSTOM SETUP window, ensure all apps desired are checked and then select the radio button "CHOOSE DETAILED INSTALLATION OPTIONS FOR EACH APPLICATION".

  8. On the ADVANCED CUSTOMIZATION screen, click the top level drop-down arrow next to MICROSOFT OFFICE and select RUN ALL FROM MY COMPUTER.

    NOTE: Once selected, all items should be white instead of gray.

  9. On the SUMMARY window, select INSTALL.

  10. Once the installation is finished, click OK.

  11. Browse to any plugins you may wish to install into this project and install them now.

  12. Browse to your location of Office XP Service Pack 3 and initiate the installation by executing the SP3 file.


  13. Select YES to install the service pack

  14. Select YES to the Office XP Service Pack 3 EULA.

  15. Select OK on the successful installation of Service Pack 3.

  16. Rearrange any/all shortcuts as desired (i.e. create a Microsoft Office start menu folder and place the Office Shortcuts into it, including the Microsoft Office Tools folder).

  17. Start up and test each Office application. DO NOT enter anything in the NEW USER window. Additionally, click the "X" to close the window.

  18. Select the LANGUAGE TOOLBAR drop down menu.

  19. Select SETTINGS from the menu.

  20. Click the LANGUAGE BAR button to bring up the Language Bar Settings window.

  21. In the Language Bar Settings window, uncheck all boxes and click OK.

  22. Click on the ADVANCED tab and check the TURN OFF ADVANCED TEXT SERVICES.

  23. Click OK to close out the Text Services and Input Languages window. This removes the LANGUAGE TOOLBAR from the Windows Task Bar.
  24. Unregister the MSIMTF.DLL and MSCTF.DLL files in accordance with the ThinApp Blog article, How to Kill CTFMON.EXE in a ThinApp Packaged Application.

  25. Delete the STARTUP folder shortcut "Microsoft Office".

  26. Once done with configuring and updating Microsoft Office you need to run the ThinApp Post-Setup Capture.

    NOTE: Use the "How to make a ThinApp Application" as a reference.

    1. Run the ThinApp post installation scan.
      1. If you did not close the Setup Capture window, then you can NOW click NEXT to continue.
      2. If you closed the Setup Capture window, re-launch Setup Capture, select CONTINUE INSTALLATION PROCESS and click NEXT.

      3. Click NEXT again to run the post scan process.
      4. After the post installation scan is complete, you will be asked to select entry points for your application, assign a data container and set an Inventory name.
        1. Select the appropriate entry point or entry points.
        2. You can also select a primary data container – remember that large installations will need to use DAT files as a data container.
        3. Set your Inventory Name.

        Click NEXT when ready.

      5. The next screen will allow you to select which Active Directory User Groups you wish to assign permission to use this packaged application, including an Access Denied message, and where you would like the Sandbox location to be by default.
        NOTE: To use Active Directory groups, the VM which you are running this process on must be part of the domain to read in the A.D. Group SIDs.
        1. Click ADD to add in any groups desired.
          1. Set your Access Denied message if using groups.
        2. Select the default sandbox location

        Click NEXT when ready.

      6. Now you need to select the default Isolation Mode for the packaged application. Typically, most applications will be using MERGED for an isolation mode. For this Office XP Package, select WRITECOPY.

      7. You should now be asked to define a Project Location, whether you wish to build an MSI file (including the name of the MSI file), and what level of compression to use on the package.

        Typically, for testing, no compression is used. However, for finalized packages it may be desired to compress them depending upon their size.

        NOTE: Typical compression ratios are roughly 2:1 but can sometimes be as much as 3:1 depending upon the files in the package.

        Click NEXT when ready.

      8. At this point, your package will be created based upon the differences between the pre-installation scan and post-installation scan.
      9. Finally, you will be presented with an option to build your project. This essentially runs the BUILD.BAT file.

        You can select BROWSE PROJECT, BUILD NOW, or FINISH.
        1. If you select BROWSE PROJECT, you will be presented with a Windows Explorer window showing your project files. From there, if you wish, you can also run BUILD.BAT.
        2. If you select BUILD NOW, your project will be packaged into an executable or executables (depending upon the number of entry points selected).
        3. If you select FINISH, the Setup Capture window will be closed.
      10. Click FINISH when done.

  27. It is suggested to remove the entry points in the PACKAGE.INI file to programs which you do not need or want users to directly run such as FINDER and other programs.
  28. It is suggested to leave Internet Explorer as an entry point in the PACKAGE.INI, at least while troubleshooting, so that you can open the local Internet Explorer to add updates to Office and other such plugins and items.
  29. Make any other ThinApp project modifications you desire.
  30. Suggested ThinApp Project modifications.
    1. Delete the following folders as they should not be needed for anything.
      1. %COOKIES%
      2. %DRIVE_C%
      3. %HISTORY%
      5. %PROFILE%
      7. %COMMON APPDATA%\VMware
    2. Delete the contents of the following folders but leave the ##Attributes.ini file.
      1. %APPDATA%
    3. Also delete the files in the below folders but leave the ##Attributes.ini file if it exists as well as leave any subfolders and their contents.
      1. %SYSTEMROOT%\Installer
    4. If you do not want any customizations inserted into your Office XP package, delete the contents of the %APPDATA% except the ##ATTRIBUTES.INI file. This will enforce the user get a cleanly configured office.
    5. Outlook Modifications:

      NOTE: Of the many areas where Outlook stores User Account data, this registry is one of them. When Outlook is started for the first time, it checks if this registry entry to see if it exists and, if not, prompts the user to create a new account. While this works fine when running the ThinApp package of Office Outlook XP on a system that DOES NOT have Office Outlook installed, it fails to work correctly when running the ThinApp package of Office Outlook on a Windows system that DOES have Office Outlook installed. Therefore, Full Isolation Mode is required for the registry keys and files of the ThinApp version of Office Outlook so that it can store its settings correctly in order to not interfere with the locally installed version of Office Outlook.

      1. HKEY_CURRENT_USER.TXT file isolation modifications:
        1. isolation_full HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities
        2. isolation_full HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles
      2. Create/Modify the ##Attributes.INI file with DirectoryIsolationMode set to FULL in the following folders:
        1. %AppData%\Microsoft\AddIns
        2. %AppData%\Microsoft\Office
        3. %AppData%\Microsoft\Outlook
        4. %Local AppData%\Microsoft\FORMS
        5. %Local AppData%\Microsoft\Outlook
      3. HKEY_CURRENT_USER.TXT Outlook Secure Temp folder modifications:
        1. Look for "isolation_full HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Security" (add it if it does not exist) and add the following entries below it.
          1. Value=OutlookSecureTempFolder
          2. REG_SZ~%Profile%\Local Settings\OutlookTemp#2300
            ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you wish for the OutlookTemp folder to be more secure, you can modify the folder path to be whatever you like.
  31. Run the BUILD.BAT in the package to build/rebuild the ThinApp package so as to include any modifications you may have made.
  32. You have finished building the ThinApp package.

This entry was posted in Applications, Office, Tips and tagged , on by .
Dean Flaming

About Dean Flaming

Dean is currently an EUC Architect and member of the VMware End User Computing Enablement and Lighthouse Support teams, working to develop communications and IP around VMware End User Computing products and solutions as well as support many various Lighthouse accounts with their own EUC practices. Prior to this, from 2008 through 2012 Dean was one of VMware's End User Computing Specialists. Throughout his time at VMware, Dean has also written and published various articles, videos, and podcasts regarding VMware's EUC Solutions.

9 thoughts on “How to ThinApp Microsoft Office XP

  1. Vincent

    Thanks for this very useful step by step.
    Any idea how to make a thinapp ‘ed Office work with windows desktop search or X1 (Yahoo’s desktop search tool)?

  2. HemascedoSese


  3. Dave

    Can you please comment on how to thinapp OneNote from the Office XP suite? Your instruction is incomplete as the suite also includes this application. In previous post comments, it was noted that OneNote capture fails because of a bug capturing the color pen palette?

  4. Dean Flaming

    As mentioned in the ThinApp Release Notes (http://www.vmware.com/support/thinapp4/doc/releasenotes_thinapp402.html), desktop search engines such as Windows Desktop Search or the Google Desktop Search do not work within a ThinApp packaged Office product.
    As for the OneNote issue, OneNote will work as a ThinApp packaged application, however, currently the OneNote Pen is not supported as it is related to a driver issue. Support and Engineering are aware of this issue but if you would like for it to receive higher priority, please do open a support incident.

  5. andra

    I never try to make a portable office XP, but always in trouble with the license, each running for office to request a license, but now thanks to this tutorial I have making it portable.

  6. Dean Flaming

    ThinApp does not alter your application’s EULA in any way, shape, or form. For shrink-wrapped software (i.e. you bought Office from the store), you will be required to license it or have licenses for each instance of it running on a different system (including VMs).
    In short, YOU ARE REQUIRED to have the proper number of licenses for your packaged applications just as if they were installed natively on the systems you are running them on.
    For applications such as Office, it is recommended that a volume license key version of the software is used to package the application as this will not require activation on each system you wish to run the packaged application on.

  7. Tyler

    Downloaded the office 2010 tech preview and was getting “build failed”

  8. Mimiko

    I’ve tried to virtualize Office XP by this method. After launching for example Word the CPU goes 100% and nothing happens. Only appear near systray the box that virtualization is launched and two folders are created the sandbox with name I gived and Fonts. So, whats the problem with thinapping Office XP?

  9. Paul Weir

    When I capture Word XP on a VM running Windows XP and then restore the VM back to before I installed Word XP and then install the ThinApp’d Word XP it works great. When I try to install that ThinApp’d version of Word XP, Word wants to reactivate itself because the hardware is different than what it was captured on. It does this every single time I start ThinApp’d Word XP. Any ideas?

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