Cloud fundamentals/Supporting cloud users

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Resolving sign-in and Office application installation issues[edit]

Signing-in[edit]

Perhaps the first thing to confirm with a user having a sign-in problem is that they are using their Office 365 credentials and are signing in at the right place, not some other part of Microsoft or your organisation. Second on the list is to check the users account has not been locked out or suspended. These simple checks should highlight the cause of most sign-in problems. Once pointed out, the user should be able to confirm they are using the correct name and password. If there are problems with the account, the administrator should be able to unlock accounts or reset passwords when required as explained in this Microsoft Knowledgebase article.

More complex sign-in issues are discussed in this Microsoft Knowledgebase article.

Office installation problems[edit]

Problems with installing Office 365 are often resolved by the good old solution "switch it off and on again" (believe me it works!). Alternatively use the 'Fix-it' icon to download a tool that will uninstall and re-install Office 365. Further information is provided in this Microsoft Knowledgebase article. Also watch out for the user who is trying to install Office 365 on hardware that does not meet the minimum requirements or is not supported.

Other potential problems will generate Microsoft error codes, these will often relate to the presence of anitvirus software, the absence of antivirus software (i.e. you have got a virus!), or temporary files that need deleting. Further details are provided on the pages linked at the bottom of the above Office 365 installation knowledgebase article.

Mobile devices and 365 / Intune[edit]

32-bit or 64-bit?[edit]

Virtually all modern computers are 64-bit, but Microsoft recommends you use the 32-bit version of Office. The 64-bit is recommended only if you intend to work with very large (over 2GB) complex data sets. The main limitations of the 64-bit versions noted by Microsoft[1] are as follows:

  • Solutions using ActiveX controls library, ComCtl controls won’t work.
  • Third-party ActiveX controls or other 32-bit add-insand add-ins won’t work.
  • Visual Basic for Applications Declare statements won’t work without being updated.
  • Compiled Access databases, like .MDE and .ACCDE files, won’t work unless they’re specifically written for the 64-bit version of Office.
  • In SharePoint, the list view won’t be available.

More technical details available on TechNet.

When to repair Office 365[edit]

The main time to repair Office 365 is when it does not work! If an application becomes unstable Microsoft recommend that you first close the application down and then restart it, this should clear most problems. If problems persists you can use the repair facility in Control Panel > Programs and Features > Change > Repair. If repairing fails to fix the problem, you should un-install and re-install the application.

Operating system and browser requirements[edit]

The official requirements for Office 365 can be found here. The exam objectives specify Office 365 ProPlus system requirements, however all versions are similar. They can be summarised as follows:

Operating system: Any that is currently supported by the manufacturer. So for PC's it is Windows 7 or later.

Browser: Supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. It is recommended that you use the latest version, although the previous version of Internet Explorer or Firefox are OK. Other browsers and earlier versions will probably work, but Microsoft provides no support and some may have reduced functionality. The browser needs to support HTML5 and Javascript 5. It may be important to note that Internet Explorer 8 and 9 are not supported, the MTA exam may ask about this. More details can be found on this support page.

Resolving email and calendar issues[edit]

General email problems[edit]

Several help and troubleshooting pages are available from this Microsoft Office 365 Support page. How much detail the MTA exam will go in to remains to be seen. As with other Microsoft troubleshooting, check the software is up-to-date with patches etc.

In some instances poor performance can be down to a poor network connection, a network configuration (proxy or firewall)issue, or a problem with the mail server. If the problem is at the cloud end, an administrator can login to the Office 365 portal and examine the service health for information on any existing problems.

One Microsoft article offers two approaches to help resolve connection issues are; remove all the Add-ins and reinstalling them one at a time, and/or use the repair option for Office 365 in the Programs and features part of the Control Panel.

Shared mailboxes[edit]

To be able to access a shared mailbox you have to be in the security group associated with that group. This will normally be a closed group so only the group owner can add or remove members of the group. If a user can not access the shared mailbox, it may be that they are not a member of the appropriate security group.

Shared mailboxes in Office 365 behave as a shared resource, so do not have the same features as an individual mailbox. As a result, if you reply to an email from the shared mailbox, it will be sent from your own mailbox account. There are ways that you can work around this using Powershell commands, however the exam setters are likely to take the view that it cannot be done.

Resolving SharePoint and OneDrive issues[edit]

Storage limits[edit]

The storage limits for SharePoint online are complicated, the full details are given in this Microsoft knowledgebase article. The important figures are perhaps the base figure of 500MB of storage per user, the file upload size limit of 2GB and the file attachment limit of 250 MB. Be prepared for Microsoft to ask questions about the other figures in the article, and bear in mind that allocations may change over time too. The limits changed in the second half of 2014, but it is likely that the exam questions will take a while to catch up with the changes.

SharePoint online administrators have access to the SharePoint Admin Center which enables a range of things to be configured including storage metrics. When a site is created the site administrator has to specify the space to be allocated within the range of 100 MB to 1TB, and it is this space quota figure that can be adjusted to create more space if available, or more can be purchased. The administrator can drill down through the levels of the site to identify what is using the bulk of the space available, in order to know what to delete or who to chase! The users need to play their part in managing the space too, the simplest way being to empty the recycle bin periodically. Administrators also have control over the recycle bins too, when a user empties their bin, the content is stored in the site admins bin which enables an administrator to get it back if deleted accidentally.

Administrators can also turn versioning on and off, but only at a library level. If turned on, SharePoint will in effect keep separate copies of every document, which can rapidly consume space.

For further information (that goes beyond MTA level) see this Microsoft Virtual Academy course. You may need to register/sign-in to access this resource.

'Open with Explorer' not working?[edit]

Sometimes this type of problem is down to using an old version of Internet Explorer that is not supported, or there may be patches or hotfixes that have not been applied. Checking the browser version is perhaps a good first step. This may also resolve issues that are due to slow connections or with systems that require extensive indexing before the Explorer view can be shown. This kind of problem can also occur if the SharePoint Online site you are accessing is not a trusted site in Internet Explorer, this can be easily fixed by adding it to your IE Trusted Sites. See this Microsoft Knowledgebase article for further details.

OneDrive not syncing[edit]

First step is to check the appropriate updates have been installed. There are many other potential problems discussed in this Microsoft Knowledgebase article, which is aimed at Windows 8 users, but many problems are independent of the operating system, and links are given for other versions. What may be the most likely causes are discussed below.

  • OneDrive has a file size limit of 10GB, check this has not been exceeded.
  • There may be problems caused by files going missing, this may be due to the files being stored in the wrong place, or under a different account the user may have, or they may have been put in the recycle bin. (Some users do that sort of thing...)
  • If the sync process has been paused, it will need un-pausing. There may be instances where the sync process has to be reset, but this should be avoided as it may take some time to do a complete resync of all the data.

Recovering deleted files[edit]

First check the recycle bin, that is what it is there for. Deleted files are kept in the bin for up to a year, but if the bin is full they are permanently deleted sooner on a first in first out basis. It is also worth looking elsewhere for missing (assumed deleted) files using the search facility, as it is very easy to drag and drop things into the wrong folder.

Resolving Lync issues[edit]

As Lync is a relatively complex product that uses a number of protocols and ports, troubleshooting can be challenging. The Lync Topology Builder tool will have been used to design your Lync system, so it is important to remember the old computing phrase 'garbage in, garbage out', if mistakes have been made in the design the system will probably not work properly.

There are a number of troubleshooting tools available including Lync debug tool, logging tools, trace logs and network monitoring, some of which are from Microsoft and others are third party. Hopefully the MTA exam will not expect you to have used these, but may expect you to be familiar with the names.

There is a relevant video in the Microsoft Virtual Academy on supporting and troubleshooting Lync. You will need to login to access it. For detailed diagnostic information see the Lync troubleshooting article in the Microsoft knowledge base.

Potential sign-in issues[edit]

In some instances clients may not be able to sign in to Lync because they are trying to use a device or platform that is not fully supported. In a real business situation this would be avoided by only permitting users to use approved devices, but may occur if connecting up with other parties. Apparent sign-in problems may be connection related, as discussed below.

Other issues include checking the user has used the correct username and password. It is also important that the date/time is set correctly on the client machine as this being correct (within a few minutes) is important to the security part of the login process. Lack of access to security certificates or expired certificates can cause problems too.

Potential connection issues with Lync[edit]

Lync depends on DNS records being correct, issues such as the client being unable to find the server are often down to problems with DNS. Administrators should check the records are correct including the Auto Discover record.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can be a problem if they have not been appropriately configured for Lync traffic. It may be that certain ports or protocols are blocked somewhere along the line. See the Configuring Lync online section for details of these.

Lync need a secure connection for authentication, as it uses PKI. This also means that security certificates need to be verifiable by well know certificate authorities.

The use of wireless (wifi) connections can cause problems, particularly with respect to bandwidth and latency. Wifi is supported by Lync 2013, but it's use is discouraged with Lync 2010. It is likely that the exam will refer to the 2013 version in questions.

Lync makes use of a reverse proxy which is known to cause problems with address books. It is important therefore that any reverse proxy is correctly configured and can connect to the appropriate websites.

Problems communicating with Skype users and users in other companies using Lync[edit]

Some of the problems highlighted above will apply to this category too.

  1. https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Choose-the-32-bit-or-64-bit-version-of-Office-2dee7807-8f95-4d0c-b5fe-6c6f49b8d261