The process of installing Office 365 on an RDS server is much more complex than just installing from an image or disc. I have done this enough now to have a pretty good process for doing this quickly without any issues. I wanted to share this in an attempt to shortcut the process for all those new Office 365 admins that are not familiar with deploying the suite to an RDS server. I’m sure this process will change as time goes on, (Shocker right?) so feel free to comment when this does not work for you.
I am not going to cover how to install Office 365 suite using the deployment tool in great detail. The purpose of this post is to show you how to deploy the Office 365 suite in an RDS environment. It assumes you know the basic process of mass deploying Office 365 using the Office Deployment Tool (ODT). If I walked through the whole process, it would be sold as an eBook because it would take months to write it all out with all the options and the scope of deployment scenarios. I will however, point you to a great site for building your XML configuration file for the ODT. Use this site for building your XML configuration file and your life will be better.
One big caveat for setting this up is that you must have either Pro Plus or E3 subscriptions to install with “Shared Activation”.
Here are the steps to prepare for your RDS deployment with Office 365:
- Build your RDS server environment.
- Download the version of the ODT you want to use.
- Extract the ODT files to a folder on the RDS server.
- Build your ODT configuration file with the Shared Activation Switch.
- Prep RDS for Office 365 install with pre-requisites.
- Run the download command from the folder you choose in step 2. (setup.exe /download configuration.xml)
- When the download completes make sure your command prompt is in the same folder the setup.exe and configuration file are in and run the following commands.
a. Change User /install
b. setup.exe /configure configuration.xml
8. After the install finishes run the command: Change user /execute
9. Run your office apps.
There are a lot of assumptions here that your XML file is perfect. If it isn’t you will struggle. I highly recommend that you use the site above to configure your XML file and export it. Don’t change it at all after you export it. It doesn’t take much to mess it up.