About | Buy Stuff | News | Products | Rants | Search | Security
Home » Resources » Rants

Net IQ 2

Week of April 30, 2002
Sometimes the professional morons outdo the amateur morons.

1. ==== COMMENTARY ====
   (contributed by Sue Mosher, News Editor, olupdate@slipstick.com)


Unless you prowl around the Start, Programs menu (All Programs in
Windows XP), you might not know that when you install Microsoft
Office XP you also get a nifty tool for backing up most of the
little Outlook files that govern so many key settings, including
Outlook Bar, signature, send/receive group, mail profile, and dozens
of registry settings. You'll find the Save My Settings Wizard on the
Office Tools menu.

You can use the wizard to save your settings, then restore them on
the same machine or on a different computer. The Office XP wizard
also gives you the choice of saving to a local .ops file or saving
to the Web, although the Web option was unavailable when I tried it
last week.

For Office 2000, you can download a compatible version of the wizard
from Microsoft's Web site. The biggest difference between the two
versions is that the Office 2000 version lets you save settings only
as a local Office profile settings (.ops) file. It can't take
advantage of the online storage.

When you first start the Save My Settings Wizard, an information
page informs you that you need to close all Office programs before
proceeding. You then have the choice of saving or restoring settings
and saving to a local file or to the Web. You need a Microsoft .NET
Passport account to use the Web option. If you choose the Web
option, the wizard encrypts your data and uploads it to a secure
server. Microsoft says that it can't access the data and will share
it with no one.

After you choose where to save, click Finish, and the wizard goes to
work, consolidating registry information and key settings files into
one archive in just seconds. Running the wizard on my production
desktop, which has 17 Outlook profiles and all Office XP programs
including Microsoft FrontPage installed, produced an .ops file of
just less than 4MB.

If you used the Custom Installation Wizard to install Office XP, the
..ops file extension ought to look familiar. In fact, the Save My
Settings Wizard in Office XP is nothing more than a user version of
the Office Profile Wizard that comes in the Office XP Resource Kit
(ORK). Administrators can use the Office Profile Wizard to extract
settings from an installation of Office XP, then apply those
settings to individual workstations when they use the Custom
Installation Wizard to deploy Office XP. Both wizards are part of
the ORK toolset, which is available through download or in the
enterprise edition of Office XP.

Even if you aren't involved in deploying Office XP, you might want
to download the ORK tools (11MB--components aren't available as
separate downloads) to get the documentation and the OPS File
Viewer. This tool extracts from the .ops settings file a list of all
the registry entries and files and saves that list with the same
filename as the .ops file but with an .out extension. The OPS File
Viewer then opens the .out file for you to examine. The .out file is
just a text file, so you can also open it in Notepad.

According to the OPS File Viewer, the Save My Settings Wizard
doesn't save Personal Folders (.pst) files or Personal Address Book
(.pab) files. It does save customized Outlook Bar settings (.fav),
send/receive group settings (.srs), and nickname-resolution files
(.nk2) for all profiles, along with the Junk Senders.txt file, print
customizations in the Outlprnt file, toolbar customizations in the
outcmd.dat file, custom system file views in the views.dat file,
signature files, and the Outlook Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
project file (vbaproject.otm). In addition, the Save My Settings
Wizard saves dozens of registry settings, making the OPS File Viewer
an ingenious tool for analyzing the mass of changes that Outlook and
the other Office programs make to the Windows registry.

My results with mail profile settings were mixed. The Save My
Settings Wizard definitely stores information from the
NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Microsoft
Outlook registry subkey but doesn't restore that information unless
the target machine has existing profiles with names that match the
saved profiles. In other words, you can't use the wizard to easily
build several profiles on one machine and transfer them to another.

Office 2000 Save My Settings Wizard

Office Profile Wizard and Office XP Resource Kit Tools Download
About | Buy | News | Products | Rants | Search | Security
Copyright © Radsoft. All rights reserved.