Office 2007 Virtualization with Altiris SVS

I have Office 2007 running now on my Tablet and Laptop, both running XP,  but my desktop machine (2003 server) is not something I would risk putting Office 2007 on yet, mainly because I collaborate with too many people who are on previous versions of Office.  At least that was my logic until last night when I finally got around to installing SVS from Altiris.  Here is my step by step experience:

First try

  • Terminal served into my desktop (2003 server remember) as admin
  • Installed SVS
  • Rebooted
  • Tried to install Office 2007 in a layer, a layer is an SVS term that describes a way of isolating an application (by means of a file system redirector) from any dependencies on your PC and also isolating your PC from any changes that the application tries to make.  In other words – its safe!
  • Install failed,  which is perhaps not surprising as I already have close to a hundred applications installed including OneNote 2007 and Altiris recommend installing on a clean machine.
  • Started again

Second try

  • Created an XP SP2 Virtual machine using VMware 5.5
  • Installed all patches and VMware tools
  • Installed SVS
  • Rebooted
  • Installed Office 2007 into a layer, worked fine
  • Exported the layer to network drive (failed)
  • Exported the layer to the VMware Virtual drive (worked)
  • Copied the exported file to network drive
  • Terminal served into my desktop (2003 server remember) as admin
  • Imported the exported file into a layer on my desktop
  • Activated the layer
  • Went back to my normal user account
  • Double clicked a PowerPoint file,  PowerPoint 2007 opened and ran fine (very limited testing)
  • Clicked on PowerPoint 12 icon in Start Menu, worked fine (very limited testing)
  • Went back to my admin account
  • Deactivated the layer
  • Double clicked on a PowerPoint file, PowerPoint 2003 opened
  • Note: In the above activate and deactivate actions I did not need to log-off or reboot

So I now have Office 2003 installed on my desktop, and office 2007 available as a layer that I can activate as required.  I am impressed enough that next time I rebuild my desktop,  I will probably install all applications as layers,  although except for testing out new applications I don’t think I will use SVS extensively until then.  I will also look forward to some admin utilities being developed that allow me to copy files around between machines or do bulk imports and activates, so that maintaining multiple machines and rebuilding them becomes less of a chore.  Of course Altiris has enterprise scale tools to do this,  but I only have 9 physical PC’s on my home network 🙂



Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

2 Responses

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