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Slipstreaming Office 2003 SP1 Slipstreaming Office 2003 SP1: To save some time with Office 2003 installs and applying service packs, be sure to checkout this guide.
Date: December 30, 2004
Written By: Scott Harness

Quite a few folks out there have a tendency or need to reinstall their systems on a regular basis and whilst many have got this down to an art, finding a shortcut that can reduce the overall re-install time is always a boon. I personally like to reinstall from scratch rather than making disk images, since I can update my applications along the way, but in the case of Microsoft Office we do have an option for a shortcut.

If you run Microsoft Office 2003 then you should be aware of the fact (and if not, why not, hmmm?) that which combines a few of the previously released patches into one. Now you could go to the and download updates individually or even the SP1, or you could use the . This is a pretty big file, weighing in at 72mb but you can use it update your existing Microsoft Office 2003 installation as well as use it to facilitate the afore mentioned shortcut.

Using the Administrative Update and the original Office 2003 disk (disk 1 for those with the multi disk version) you can integrate or "slipstream" Office 2003 and SP1 into one CD.


1) Office 2003
2) The
3) CDR/CDRW drive, CD burning software and at least 630MB of free space on your hard drives

The CDR/CDRW and software are optional since you can leave the installation files on your hard disk if you so wish.

Step 1

Insert the Office 2003 CD into your drive and navigate to your Start button. Select Run, and type:

x:\setup /a

Where x is the drive letter of the CD drive you put the Office 2003 disk in.

This is going to start the install process of Office 2003. You'll be asked where you want the files to go ("H:\Office" for me), and you'll also be asked to enter your CD key. Don't worry if you don't have a folder made ready to receive the files, as one will be created automatically.

After the CD Key has been entered you will be presented with the End User Licence Agreement (make sure you read every word... doesn't everyone?).

You'll have to accept the terms to continue at which point it will appear to be installing, but in actual fact the files are just being copied to the location you specified.

This can take a while depending on the speed of your system so sit back and wait for this to pop up (bottom image).

When finished, you should have a folder with 624mb of files in it.

Step 2

The next step is to decompress the SP1 Administrative Update. Extract it to a folder that's separate from your Office 2003 files. You can make the directory for it now, or later during the extraction.

Unlike with the Service Packs for OfficeXP, you can no longer just double click the Administrative Update, as this will start to install the update. Instead we have to choose a different method. There are two ways to extract the files; one is to use a third party compression program such as WinRAR and the other is by command line. We are going to go the command line route since this will work for you without the need to install another program.

Navigate to the Start button and once again choose the Run option. In the dialogue box that appears enter the following command (Note, this command is all on one line):

x:\Office2003SP1-kb842532-fullfile-enu.exe /T:x:\Office_sp1 /C

Ok, the above command can be a little confusing, especially when you are (as you invariably will be) running this with different locations for extraction, so lets go through it.

x:\Office2003SP1-kb842532-fullfile-enu.exe /T:x:\Office_sp1 /C

The first part (in blue) is the location of the SP1 update on your hard drive. For me personally it would be H so the first part of the command would read:


The second part (in red) describes what should be done and where to put the extracted files. The /T: lets the setup know to use a temporary folder with the location of that folder continuing the command line. The x in the second part is the drive letter and I've chosen to use a folder called Office_sp1. The final part is the /C which lets the setup know to only extract the files to the temporary folder and do nothing else.

When you click OK in the Run dialogue box, the extraction will begin to your chosen location.

Among the 6 extracted Office 2003 SP1 files you will find the 2 files we will need for slipstreaming; The larger file called MAINSP1ff.msp updates the core components of Office 2003 and the smaller file OWC11SP1ff.msp which updates the web components.

Step 3

This is where we will integrate the SP1 files with the Office 2003 files on your hard drive. Start the Run command from the Start menu and enter the following (Note, this command is all on one line):

msiexec /p x:\Office_sp1\MAINSP1ff.msp /a x:\Office\PRO11.MSI shortfilenames=true /qb

(Note, this command is all on one line)

Let's go through the command line and break it down.

msiexec /p x:\Office_sp1\MAINSP1ff.msp /a x:\Office\PRO11.MSI shortfilenames=true /qb

The first half dictates what is happening to the MAINSP1ff.msp file and its location. The part in red indicates the location of the MAINSP1ff.msp file with x being your drive. As I said earlier I chose H:\Office_sp1 for my extracted files so for me the first half is:

msiexec /p H:\Office_sp1\MAINSP1ff.msp /a

The second half (in blue) is the location of the file to be updated in Office 2003. This is the PRO11.msi file and can be found directly under the folder you put the Office 2003 files. For me that was H:\Office. So using my locations as an example we have the finished command line as -

msiexec /p H:\Office_sp1\MAINSP1ff.msp /a H:\Office\PRO11.MSI shortfilenames=true /qb

Following the same logic as above we also need to update the web components (file OWC11SP1ff.msp in your Office files) using -

msiexec /p x:\Office_sp1\OWC11SP1ff.msp /a x:\Office\OWC11.MSI shortfilenames=true /qb

You'll get progress boxes as the installation is performed like so:

Unlike the earlier steps, you won't get an Installation Complete box, so just wait until the last box disappears.

I'm guessing a few of you are wondering what all those commands are. Basically, "msiexec" is the executable name for Windows Installer.

"/p" enables Windows Installer to apply an update to an existing installation, which in this case is the copied files on your hard drive.

The "/a" is probably not necessary for the majority of you, as it's the switch that allows the Windows Installer to perform an administrative installation of a product on a network share. I included it because anyone who wants to update over the network will need to know this.

"shortfilenames=true" tells Windows Installer to make all the file names and folders with MS-DOS-compatible file names. I don't really know why this is necessary, but likely needed since it's a requirement for running files from a command line.

"/qb" limits the installation options to a very basic level. No need for a dozen pop ups and button presses when all you need to do is to click OK each time.

Final Words

Once complete, you can either burn the contents of the folder to CD or leave them on your hard drive. It's about 630MB when finished which might not seem like a great deal extra from a 72mb download (624mb to start with), but that's the way these things go. It may seem like a lot of hassle but when you think of the time saved in applying either multiple updates or the SP1 update every time you re-install, it will save time in the long run. Also saving you time is the fact that you won't need to re-enter the CD Key each time, so you can safely lock your key and the original disk away someplace. You will however need to activate/reactivate the product. Total time for this will depend on your system and how computer savvy you are but hopefully you can follow my instructions and be ready to burn to disk in under 15 minutes.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.



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