VMware ThinApp – Microsoft Office 2010 Setup Guide

After successfully being able to create a full Microsoft Office 2010 suite ThinApp, I have written a setup guide to detail the steps that had to be taken in order to get all Office applications working and to allow standard windows users (non local administrators) to activate office when launching the ThinApp for the first time. This article has been written using information for VMware sources and my own experience. The following ThinApp capture has been performed on a fresh installation of Windows XP SP3 with VMware ThinApp 4.6.1.

1. Download and copy the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 and Microsoft Office 2010 installation files to the ThinApp capture machine.

2. Ensure you have internet access on the ThinApp capture machine.

3. Install VMware ThinApp on capture machine.

4. Run the Setup Capture wizard, start and complete the pre-scan process.

5. When the pre-scan is complete, on the Install Application page of the Setup Capture wizard, minimize the wizard and install Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.

6. The Microsoft .NET installation generates the mscorsvw.exe process that continues for an extended period, we need to stop the process with the ngen.exe tool. Open a new command prompt window and type the following command and press return:

C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\ngen.exe executequeueditems

7. In order for Office 2010 to activate correctly we need to edit the Config.xml file and specify your Multiple Activation Key (MAK). By default, the Microsoft Office 2010 Config.xml file is stored in the core product folder in the Microsoft Office 2010 installation media. Explore the Office 2010 installation media on the capture machine and you should see a folder named similar to “core_product_folder_name.WW folder”. For example, if my Microsoft Office 2010 media was Professional Plus, the folder name would be “ProPlus.WW”.

8. Open the core product folder and locate the Config.xml file. Open the Config.xml with Notepad and add the following lines to the to the file file and save it to your local C:\ drive:

<PIDKEY Value=”Enter 25 Character MAK Here” />
<Setting Id=”USEROPERATIONS” Value=”1″ />

Note: Do not enter any spaces or hyphens when entering the license key in the PIDKEY value, this must be all one string such as ABCDEFGHIJK.

9. To start the Microsoft Office 2010 setup wizard and apply the settings in Config.xml, open a new command prompt window and type navigate to your Office 2010installation media by using for example “cd d:\”. When in the installation media directory enter the following command and press return.

Setup.exe /config c:\config.xml

10. When the installation starts click to accept the terms of the agreement and click next.

11. On the Choose the installation dialog box, click the Customise button.

12. Select Microsoft Office and then select “Run all from My Computer” as the installation option.

13. Click “Install Now” to install Microsoft Office 2010, this will likely take some time.

14. When the installation is complete click “Finish”. Proceed and click the Start menu, select the Run option, and then type services.msc and click ok. When the services snap-in opens scroll down the list of services and locate the “Office Software Protection Platform” service, right click this service and select stop.

15. Maximise the ThinApp Capture wizard that we minimised in step 5 and then click to start the post scan process.

16. Once the post scan process has completed, change the Inventory name to something appropriate for your use, for example Microsoft Office 2010.

17. Before building the ThinApp project , copy the OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform folder from C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Microsoft to the folder %Common AppData%\Microsoft. To get to the” %Common AppData%\Microsoft folder” open the ThinApp Setup Wizard and click the “Open Project Folder” button, in the resulting window you should then see a folder named “%Common AppData%”  double click this folder then double click the “Microsoft” folder inside. Simply copy and paste the “OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform” folder into this location.

18. On the capture machine open the registry editor and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\Preferences

In this location, right click in a white space area an create a new Multi-String Value with the name of, without quotes, “isolation_writecopy”. Right click the created “isolation_writecopy” key and select “Modify”. When the modify window opens, in the value area, enter the following information and click ok:


19. In the same registry editor window navigate to the following key:


In this location, right click in a white space area an create a new Multi-String Value with the name of, without quotes, “isolation_full”. Right click the created “isolation_full” key and select “Modify”. When the modify window opens, in the value area, enter the following information and click ok:


20. In the same registry editor window navigate to the following key:


In this location, right click in a white space area an create a new Multi-String Value with the name of, without quotes, “isolation_writecopy”. Right click the created “isolation_writecopy” key and select “Modify”. When the modify window opens, in the value area, enter the following information and click ok and then close the registry editor:

REG_SZ~%Common AppData%

21. Maximise the ThinApp Setup Wizard and click on the “Edit package.ini” button before starting the build process. In the ini file change the “MSIStreaming” value to 1 if you want this to be streamed ThinApp otherwise this will be a local ThinApp.

22. Click the “Build” button in ThinApp and wait for the build process to complete.

23. The ThinApp creation process is now complete and the applications should work and activate correctly on Windows XP systems. If you intend to use the Office 2010 ThinApp on Windows 7 operating systems, some additional changes need to be made to ensure that the product activation works correctly.

24. For Windows 7 machines only, in order for the ThinApps to launch and activate Office 2010 correctly you will need to disable the “Windows Search Service” and completely disable User Account Control (UAC). Disabling these two properties can be achieved by using Group Policy Objects as detailed here and here.

That’s it, you should now have a fully functionaly Microsoft Office 2010 VMware ThinApp that works on both Windows XP and Windows 7 operating systems.


  1. Has anyone been able to get the help file system in Office 2010 to work with above or any other procedure on XP SP3 using Thinapp client 4.6.1?

    I can successfully get it to go on W7 32bit and 64bit platforms however XP SP3 it fails every time. Has anyone got a workaround or can confirm it is also an issue for them?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Hi Andrew, i have successfully created a ThinApp of Office 2010 using this guide with the help files working on both Windows 7 and Windows XP.

    The only difference i had made to my ThinApp is the activation method. I use a KMS server to active the Office 2010 ThinApp opposed to entering the product key into the setup config.xml, this shouldn’t make any difference to the help files though.

    The below image shows the help files working on a Windows XP machine



  3. Jamzor,

    Thanks for the reply and follow up. I am glad you have been able to get it to go. We are also using KMS so same procedure there.

    I see a discrepency with above procedure on Point 17) where it says to COPY the “OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform” folder. I have followed other procedures which said to MOVE this folder (this worked on W7 32bit and 64Bit).

    I will try the copy to see if that resolves it.

    Also of note I have the OffVirt.msi (App-V deployment kit for Office 2010) installed to get this application working / activated correctly. Without it particularly on W7 Office 2010 would to try to configure / self heal itself and fail.
    Do you have to have this dependency installed as well to get your version and help going?

  4. I can confirm COPYING the “OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform” produces the same Help issue :(. The only other difference I can think of was I captured .net 3.5 SP1 in the same layer not just .net 3.5.

    I will retry using that version.

  5. Hi Andrew,

    I do not have the OffVirt.msi installed to make this operate. I think the problem your getting with Office 2010 trying to configure / self heal is to do with the windows search service on Windows 7.

    I had a similar problem, but by following step 24 the application loads without problem on Windows 7. Note that the search service needs to be turned off on all Windows 7 client machines using the ThinApp.

    All i can suggest is to follow the guide by using only what is detailed, e.g. ThinApp only. I managed to get this working by only using what the guide suggests.

    With regards to moving the OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform folder, i could only copy it as the folders were locked. This worked fine for me.

    Hope you get some success soon.


  6. Hi Guys

    I’ve been struggling for some time now to get this working and its getting very frustrating doing it over and over… I can get the MAK license working but need to have it setup for KMS licensing.

    What installation media are you using? Also, when doing a fresh install of WinXP SP3 do you let windows updates run first before installing ThinApp 4.6.1 and then “apping” Office? I have followed the steps on here and well as on the VMWare blog – disabled the office protection service, tried Offvirt.msi and had no luck…

    Im using a clean install of WinXP SP3(no updating), ThinApp 4.6.1 and SW_DVD5_Office_Professional_Plus_2010_W32_English_MLF_X16-52536.ISO (KMS).

    If you can think of anything that i might try/do differently please let me know!

  7. Hi Don

    I did update my Windows XP SP3 but I have also tried it without updating and I can still get it working.

    The media I’m using is:

    Things to try:
    Do not add key into the Office config.xml

    Disconnect the network connection before installing Office to prevent it from activating

    Confirm your KMS is working with Office 2010 as i had to install a new KMS on Windows 2008 R2 to add Office 2010 as a product that can be activated.

    I can confirm that my ThinApp works with KMS by following this guide

    Hope this helps


  8. How odd… I stumbled onto the same issue with the help files not working… trying to press help in the ThinApp launched an installer which failed and then no help. According the VMware this is a known issue and they had no solution on how to get it to work! So, I’m really curious on how you managed this trick…

    I’m also having some problems with Outlook not closing down properly and the stupid Upload Center launching and not closing whenever anyone uses Sharepoint to save files…

  9. I’m having issue w/ getting install to start. Everytime i run from command line i get windows xp setup message stating “please go to the control panel to install and configure system components”. Any ideas? im using MLF_16-52536.iso

  10. Thanks for this guide!

    Is there a reason why you change the registry _after_ the post scan? The changed keys don’t appear in the HKEY_… .txt files in the ThinApp Project Folder.

  11. Hi Paolo,
    in a typical installation of Office 2010 it would be safe to remove the MSOCache, however I could not say for sure this would be advisable when creating a ThinApp. In theory it should be ok to remove the MSOCache before post scan, which would reduce the actual size of the ThinApp, however it is possible this could be referenced when running the application for the first time. My best advice would be to just give it a try and see what happens.

    Kind Regards.

  12. Thanks for the article; very hopeful I can make this work.

    The question was raised above, but never answered. Shouldn’t the Registry changes occur BEFORE the Post-Scan instead of After?

  13. If the intent was to have us edit HKEY_*.txt, then I suggest that this is an easier way to document it and achieve the desired result.

    Paste this text at the top of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.txt:

    isolation_writecopy HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\Preferences

    isolation_full HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform

    And paste this text at the top of HKEY_CURRENT_USER.txt:

    isolation_writecopy HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment
    REG_SZ~%Common AppData%

    There should be NO empty lines at the top of the file, and ONE empty line between the new entries and the ones generated by ThinApp.

    However…I still have licensing problems after virtualizing, so YMMV!

  14. Hi there. I just wanted to say thanks for this guide. I’d been struggling with ThinApping Office 2010 Pro Plus for a couple days before I found this. I followed these instructions to the letter and after packaging on XP, I have an Office 2010 package that works on both XP and Win7.

    My only question is, how does making the registry changes (steps 18-20) affect anything if they’re performed after the post-scan process? I’m fairly new to ThinApp and am teaching myself, so forgive me if this is a stupid question.

  15. Hi, I followed all of the 24 steps, but I still get the message that Office can’t be licensed. I captured on XP SP3 and i try to launch on Win7 32bits. I uses a MAK license code in the config.xml. Anymore options for me???

  16. Hello and thanks for all the comments on this post. For those of you asking about the registry key changes after the post scan process, these steps were taken from an offical VMware blog post on how to ThinApp Microsoft Office 2010.


    Please see steps 11-15 and as you will see in all cases these changes are always applied after the post scan. I am glad this guide has worked for most of you!

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