Utility Spotlight: Check Your Office Installations

The Robust Office Inventory Scan can run a full sweep of your Microsoft Office installations to check for inventory, upgrades and just about anything else.

Lance Whitney

Besides Windows, the most ubiquitous Microsoft software is clearly Microsoft Office. As such, you probably need to keep an eye on your Office installations fairly regularly to upgrade, troubleshoot or just run inventory checks. Depending on the size of your organization, this can be a hefty task. You’ll find help in the form of the Microsoft Robust Office Inventory Scan (ROIS).

Created as a Visual Basic script, this handy tool generates a log file that can tell you just about everything you need to know about your Office installations. You’ll find the code for ROIS on its page in the TechNet script repository. The entire script is more than 4,000 lines, but you can easily grab it all in one shot by clicking on the “Copy Code” link in the upper-right corner. From there, paste the code into a text editor such as Notepad. Save the resulting file as ROIScan.vbs.

You can leave virtually all of the code unchanged. The only section you may need to modify is the INI section near the top of the script. This accounts for only eight different settings. At the very least, you’ll need to specify the location in which to store the log file generated after running the script. If you don’t specify a location, the script will use the local temp directory by default.

You’ll most likely want to specify a network share on one of your servers to store all of the log files. To do that, modify the sPathOutputFolder = "" in the INI section and type the name of your server and network share between the quotation marks.

The other setting you’ll want to change is the one for the Quiet Switch. By default, this is set to False. This means the log file will automatically open after the script is run. That’s fine if you’re running the script on a test PC. When you launch the script on every PC over your network, though, you’ll want to run it in quiet mode. To do this, change this setting’s value to True.

The remaining six settings in the INI section determine how much data the script captures. By default, the script puts each setting’s value to False. This inventories a minimal amount of data.

Keep each setting to False at first as you test the script to see if the log file provides you with enough data. If not, you can go through each of these six settings one by one and set the value to True to see if it generates additional useful data. Overall, you should find the minimal amount of data is sufficient in most cases.

As an alternative to changing any of the settings in the INI section, you can run the ROIScan.vbsfile with certain command-line options (see Figure 1) to set the same values. For example, instead of pointing to the location for the log file in the INI section, you can specify it through the LogFolder option by running the script as ROIScan.vbs /logfolder.

You can also run the script in Quiet Mode by simply adding the /quiet option, as ROIScan.vbs/quiet. This may be more efficient, as it lets you keep the INI code intact and just change certain settings on the fly through the command-line options.

You can also use command-line settings to modify the amount of captured data

Figure 1 You can also use command-line settings to modify the amount of captured data.

After the script has finished, it will create a log file (see Figure 2) in the location you specified. The name of the log file will start with the name of the computer on which the script ran, followed by _ROIScan.log—for example, WINPC _ROIScan.log.

Once the script has run, you can find all the desired information in the log file

Figure 2 Once the script has run, you can find all the desired information in the log file.

Open the log file in a text editor and you’ll see a summary at the top. This will include the Windows Installer version, PC name, usernames, OS version and other key data. Below the summary information, you’ll see specific product inventory details on Microsoft Office itself, including the version, installation date, MSI file, chained packages related to Office, any patches applied to Office, notes and errors related to the installation and a variety of other details.

You can use this information in the log file to determine which versions of Office you have installed throughout your organization, which ones you may need to upgrade and which ones may not be working properly due to certain errors. Because ROIS is a Visual Basic file, you can easily add it to your login script or another automated process to run it on every PC across your network or domain.

Microsoft provides a TechNet Library page on ROIS. This page has more information on the different sections in both the script and the log file. There’s also a FAQ list that addresses common questions. You may need other tools for software inventory, but ROIS is a useful program for capturing a full inventory of your Microsoft Office installations.

Lance Whitney

Lance Whitney is a writer, IT consultant and software trainer. He’s spent countless hours tweaking Windows workstations and servers. Originally a journalist, he took a blind leap into the IT world in the early ’90s.