Deciding what goes in your SOE

An SOE (Standard Operating Environment) can assist you company in substantially reducing support costs and increasing user productivity by ensuring all users within your company have a functional consistent desktop which is not only easy to user, but also easy to support and upgrade when required.

 One thing we get asked a bit is “what should we think about when creating our SOE”… this always baffles me a bit….  but anyhoo… i put this short guide together to give an idea of the types of things to start thinking about for your SOE. 

 It is vital to the long term success of any SOE that time is put into customising and testing the environment up front, as it save many support calls and troubleshooting hours in the future.

 So what are the things you should be looking at for your SOE?


  • Identify applications that a large percentage of your user base requires, and will be included in your SOE
    • Common examples include Office 2010, Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash, Anti-Virus
  • Identify applications that are either free, or have a site license, and have no impact on the SOE for people who don’t require these applications
    • Common examples include Visio Viewer 2010
  • Identify applications that provide support for other applications and may ease support in the future
    • Common examples include .Net framework 1/2/3/3.5/4, Visual C++ Runtime 2005/2008, Java RTE
  • Identify “Optional” applications which will deployed to specific groups of users
    • Common examples include Visio, Project, AutoCAD

 Application Customisation

  • Identify features within installed products that you do not need or want users to have access to
    • Common examples include Office 2010 “send by fax”, Acrobat Reader “purchase books via web store”
  • Identify update features of products you want disabled
    • Common examples include Java/Acrobat reader/Shockwave/Flash etc auto-updaters
  • Identify “user annoying” features of products to be disabled
    • Common examples include Java RTE system tray notifications when Java is being used, Microsoft office prompting to provide customer feedback


  • Identify corporate standards that need to be enforced
    • Common examples are a corporate background and corporate screen-saver
  • Identify support tools that should be made available on the local PC to assist in troubleshooting
  • Identify commonly used apps by users and place shortcuts on the taskbar for these applications
    • Common example are Outlook, Excel, Word, LOB applications
  • Identify IE favourites, homes page etc that need to be set
  • Identify default document locations, template locations etc
  • Evaluate the use of ‘roaming’ technologies, such as Roaming Profiles, Folder Redirection and Offline Files
  • Define the security settings you want to apply to the SOE, such as password policy, auditing, user rights and disk encryption