Virtualizing Outlook for Citrix XenApp

Continuing with application virtualization, let’s talk about virtualizing Microsoft Outlook with VMware ThinApp for use with Citrix XenApp.

The key to virtualizing Outlook (and other Office products), in my opinion, is the Microsoft Office Custom Installation Wizard (CIW). The Custom Installation Wizard is part of the Office 2003 Resource Kit. I have found that virtualizing Outlook is made much easier if creating a custom MST transform file for use during Outlook’s installation. Additional information on the CIW can be found here.

When setting up the Outlook MST, and more specifically, the Exchange Settings, be sure to enter %username% as the User Name. As far as the Exchange Server is concerned, any mail server in the organization can be entered.

So, our steps to virtualize Outlook are as follows:

1. Create the Office Transform file (MST) using the Custom Installation Wizard
2. Logon to the ThinApp “packager”, ie, the clean workstation/server used to create the ThinApp packages, and launch the ThinApp setup capture utility.
3. Minimize the ThinApp setup capture utility when the pre-scan task completes.
4. Install Outlook using the MST file created in Step 1. An example command would look like setuppro.exe transforms=c:\Outlook.mst
5. When the installation of Outlook completes, install Office 2003 Service Pack 3 and any additional Outlook plugins, such as archiving agents. However, DO NOT OPEN OUTLOOK!! If you do, the %username% variable will be replaced with the currently logged on user, thereby “hardcoding” the package to launch that mailbox only.
6. Maximize the ThinApp setup capture agent and build the Outlook package.
7. Publish the Outlook package within Citrix and give it a test.


Filed under Citrix, Remote Desktop Services, VMware

5 responses to “Virtualizing Outlook for Citrix XenApp

  1. Have you had any experience with Altiris (now Symantec) Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) and/or packaging Outlook with it? I’m trying to find an inexpensive solution for virtualizing multiple versions of applications on the same desktop for IT support of apps like Office and Outlook. Most of the app virtualization programs are more than I need with their streaming ability but SVS has a free personal version with a handful of open source apps pre-packaged.

  2. Hey Pablo, I personally have not had any experience with SVS, but will check it out and let you know what I find.

  3. Hey Pablo, I messed with SVS in regards to creating an Outlook “package” and found it to be pretty easy and the steps we more or less the same as ThinApp. Here’s what I did:1. Installed SVS2. Opened SVS. Click File / Create New Layer3. Enter Layer Name4. On the Capture window, I choose “Global Capture” instead of single program.5. At this point the SVS capture minimized to the System Tray to track the changes I was about to make.6. Ran Office setup using the an Outlook MST using the %username% variable and Exchange server in my lab for the Outlook Profile settings.7. Installed Outlook updates8. SVS activated the layer when the install completed. However, before opening Outlook, I decided to launch the SVS admin utility to deactivate the layer.9. Once deactivated, I exported the layer (to a file share on a server) in order to import onto another computer.10. Once the export succeeded, I reactivated the layer, which put Outlook 2003 on the Start Menu, and launched Outlook.11. Logged off and back on as a different user to verify I could use the same layer for multiple users.I hope this helps.Dave

  4. That sounds great, thanks for the reply. I’m down in Houston so, I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with this little hurricane ike we had down here (we were lucky, we fared very well) , so I haven’t had a chance to try it myself yet, but thanks for the step-by-step instructions, sounds pretty straightforward.

  5. I had the day, when I was in difficult situation, which I resolved with the aid of one program, to my good forttune it quickly relieved me and I conceive that this software might be helpful here as well – how to export the ost data to a pst.

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