Month: April 2014

Onboarding into Office 365 – Pilot Testing and Tasks

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For those who are interested in moving into or onboarding into Office 365, it is very important that you take into account the following considerations:

  1. Full review of all your business and technical requirements, to fully understand the process, procedures and tasks your Information Workers perform on a daily basis.  Without performing this review and going into Office 365 you are almost guaranteed to find settings, features, functions and or limitations that do not align with your needs.  To review the Office 365 Service Descriptions, you can find them here.
  2. Once you have a good idea on whether the different Office 365 services, features, functions and capabilities are a good fit for your company, you should perform a Full Pilot Test.  This ensures that you can perform your work tasks in the cloud and find out first hand whether any limitations, restrictions or capabilities are missing that are needed.
    1. Notes
      1. I have attached an .xlsx spreadsheet to help with testing all of the different Office 365 Services, Features, Functions and Capabilities.  Note that this spreadsheet is provided as-is and may be missing a few test tasks or not account for some features or requirements your business needs.  Please use this spreadsheet and customize as you see fit!
        1. Office 365 Feature Chart – Test Plan
      2. Without this step you are almost assured to find capabilities, features or functions which don’t fully align with your business and technical requirements and will spend lots of time with Office 365 Support trying to find workarounds, solutions or ways to “make this work”.


I cannot emphasize these points enough.  It is very important that any company looking to use Office 365, should first review the Service Descriptions, to get a real sense of what the services can provide.  Then go through a full Pilot test pass to ensure everything works as needed, while fully documenting any “differences” or “restrictions” which may cause “pain” when using these services!

With an SD Review and Full Testing you WILL be fully informed on whether Office 365 is a good solution for you and your company and will have first hand knowledge on any items/issues/services, etc which may need to be addressed before moving forward.  Otherwise you will spend many hours with Office 365 Support in trying to find “solutions” to your business challenges, which will not be a fun experience.  Enjoy the review and I look forward to seeing you in “The Cloud” 🙂

Outlook & Office 365 RSS Feeds for Blogs, IP Address Changes & SHD

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For those who manage Office 365 and need to be kept up to date on Service Health Dashboard entries, Office 365 Blogs, and/or IP Address Changes, this posting is for you!

Office 365 RSS Feed

There are different ways to do this work, depending on which version of Outlook you have, so I am providing some links for Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 and hopefully you can get your IT / Help Desk teams to use the same, so they are always up to date on Service Health Dashboard content:

Note – While these steps are referencing Outlook, you may use another Email Application which may have the ability to create and monitor/view RSS feeds.  The steps will be different for different Mail Clients, however the steps below are specific to Outlook, using the different versions.

How to setup RSS Feeds in Outlook

  1. 2007 –
  2. 2010 –
  3. 2013 –

Office 365 Feeds

  1. Services Health Dashboard Feed URL:–3s
    1. Note – The items retrieved for this feed are specific to your Office 365 tenant.
  2. Office 365 Technical Blog:
    1. Note – This is a global Blog feed and will provide many different topics and updates and the content is not specific to your Office 365 online tenant.
  3. Office 365 IP Addresses (Portal, SharePoint, Lync, Exchange, etc):
    1. Note – There is also a Change Log page where network administrators can also monitor and review to understand the changes made in IP Addresses for Microsoft Online Services:

Once enabled in Outlook, you can select the RSS Feeds folder and create a new RSS feed, which will pull all the information into Outlook and give you another way to make sure you are up to date on Office 365 Service Health Dashboard entries.

  1. Browse to the Folders view in Outlook and find the RSS Subscriptions folder
    1. Outlook_RSS_Feed
  2. Right-click the RSS Subscriptions and select Add a New RSS Feed
    1. Enter the URL copied from above
    2. Office 365 Services Health Dashboard
      1. Add_rss_feed
    3. Office 365 Technical Blog
      1. RSS_Blog_Feed
    4. Click Add
    5. Once created, click the Office 365 Blog created:
      1. Service Health Dashboard RSS Feed and see the new items start to be synchronized into your Outlook client
        1. outlook_feed_created
      2. Office Blog RSS Feed and see the new items start to be synchronized into your Outlook client
        1. RSS_Entry

Outlook Alerts

Once this step is complete, you can set Outlook to provide a Mail Alert on the O365 Incidents from the RSS feed.


  1. Go to “Manage Rules & Alerts” and select “Enable Rules on all messages downloaded from RSS feeds”.
  2. Create a new Outlook alert rule that will fire off a Mail Alert, and you will see an Outlook alert pop-up.
    1. Outlook –> Manage Rules & Alerts
      1. manage_rules
    2. Click New Rules, using this configuration for new Mail Item Notification when RSS Feeds are received –> Next
      1. new_alerts
    3. Look for RSS Feeds lower in the list and select, as seen below, selecting the From any RSS Feed,
      so you don’t have to worry about specific text or which person writes the posting

      1. rss_feeds_selection
      2. Select the notification options you want, typically towards the bottom of the Rules Wizard, as seen below, with the below playing a sound AND displaying a Desktop Alert –> Next
        1. rss_feeds_selection
      3. Provide any exceptions to this rule –> Next
        1. rule_exceptions
    4. Name it and Finish


  • The above can be used for any of your RSS feeds, whether those are the SHD and/or the Office Blog location.
  • Outlook must be running in order to pick up these incoming RSS Notifications, as seen below



Stretch Goal – Setting up rss feed for your favorite web browser

Setup Browser RSS Feed & Favorites

  1. Browse to website in your web browser:
    1. Find link to Blog Site …for business service updates here
      1. o365_learn_more
    2. Click Subscribe All at top of page:
      1. O365_blog_subscribe
    3. Click Subscribe to Feed
      1. O365_blog_subToFeed
    4. Save to Favorites and Feed –> Subscribe, which saves to your Browser Feed location
      1. O365_blog_feed_accesptance



Office 365 Mobile Admin App

For those interested in viewing their Office 365 Services Health Dashboard, please refer to the following, which will give you an additional “tool” in monitoring your Office 365 Services Health.


Tracking Exchange Online Client Connections/Versions

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For those Exchange Online administrators who need to keep up with the devices and mail applications being used when connecting with their Exchange Online Mailbox, this post is for you!

Exchange Online provides many remote powershell scripts and cmdlets that can be used not only to view/review information, but also to create/write updates, modifications, changes to everything from mailboxes to mail users (contacts) to groups and policies!

Connect to Exchange Online

Once connected as an Exchange Online Administrator, also is typically an Office 365 Global Admin, you can use the following command to determine the different devices/protocols/applications being used when connecting into Exchange Online Mailboxes:

You can add an “> c:\temp\EXO_Client_Connection_Type.csv” to save the content into a spreadsheet for later review.

Get-ConnectionByClientTypeDetailReport | select Username,ClientType > c:\temp\EXO_Client_Connection_Type.csv

To run the command and see the output in the PowerShell command-shell/window, simply run the following:
Get-ConnectionByClientTypeDetailReport | select Username,ClientType

Example Output

UserName ClientType
RyBread J. Phillips MAPI
TestUserB EAS
TestUserC EAS
TestUserA EAS
RyBread J. Phillips EAS
RyBread J. Phillips EWS
RyBread J. Phillips MAPI
TestUserA OWA
TestUserA OWA

Managing Office 365 Photo’s – Centralized Photo Management

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For all the Office 365 Administrators out there who are asking “What is the best method or option for managing Office 365 Photos?”, this post is for you!

Since the beginning of Office 365 users are able to submit photo’s into Office 365, for use in displaying in Outlook/OWA, Lync Client, SharePoint Site Collection Members, etc.  However there is confusion on whether each service manages their own photos and/or if there is a Best Practice on managing these in one central location!

Best Practice

Instead of having end users submitting photo’s into the different online services, such as:

  • Microsoft Online Portal
    • Office 365 Settings –>Me –> Edit my “About Me” page, which takes you into SharePoint Online –> Edit Profile page
  • Instant Messaging & Collaboration
    • Lync Client – Tools –> Options –> My Photo, which is uploaded into LYO for use
  • Messaging
    • OWA – Options –> Account –> My Photo
  • Note – If someone submits their photo into Exchange Online via the above path, all other Office 365 Services will pick up this photo and use it in their particular service (i.e. Post to EXO and is picked up by SPO and LYO). If you as an Administrator cannot update your Active Directory thumbNailPhotos attribute and values, to be synchronized into Office 365, then this method is the best option, as EXO is the gateway into pushing photo’s into Office 365 and being picked up by all the other cloud services (i.e. SPO, LYO, etc).
  • Collaboration
    • SharePoint – OneDrive –> About Me –> Edit Profile –> Picture

Instead of using these different options, Office 365 Administrators can centralize the end-user photo(s) into Active Directory and allow Directory Synchronization to push this into Office 365, to be picked up by all the different online services.


Use the steps noted in this other Blog Posting, which will provide you with a way to inject user photos into Active Directory, using the thumbNailPhoto attribute and value:

  2. Once Active Directory has been updated with user photo’s, either allow DirSync to run, every 3 hours, or manually run DirSync to push all the user photo’s into Office 365.
  3. Once posted into Office 365, each service will reference these photo(s) and display in the web UI (OWA, SharePoint, etc) and Rich Applications (Lync Client, Outlook, etc.).

Yammer Mobile – Blank/Black Screen of “Death”

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For those Yammer for Office 365 Admins, responsible for supporting your end users, and to those end-users who are wanting to use Yammer Online via their mobile device, this post is for you.

Problem Statement

When browsing to Yammer Online via Mobile Device and only seeing a Black Screen, there may be some options/settings that were not used as part of the Yammer registration and usage.


  • The user having this issue needs to uninstall the Yammer Mobile App
  • Login to their Yammer account using a desktop computer, using their Yammer username and password.
  • Click on the ellipses, click on Edit profile
  • On the left pane, click on Account Activity
  • Select the Application and click on logout to revoke access (if the application does not appear under the activity proceed to the next step)
    • Note: If the application does not appear under the activity, this means that the attempt to login to Yammer is not successful.
  • Restart the Mobile Phone
  • Reinstall the Yammer Mobile App
  • Login to Yammer thru the mobile app.

Connection Settings for POP/IMAP Mail Client in Office 365 Exchange Online

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exchange_online_banner_sm  Hi all, as you may be using POP or IMAP clients within Office 365 Exchange Online, you may have found that your mail client was initially not able to connect into your EXO mailbox.

In researching this issue I have found that EXO, using the namespace AND Hotmail, also using the same namespace, are conflicting and causing EXO MBX users to be provided with the following connection settings for their email client, thus sending the user to the Consumer Messaging endpoints instead of EXO.

  1. is configured to send to  The mail client connects to this endpoint and receives the following connection string(s) from the service, instructing the mail client application where and how to connect.
    1. Autodiscover connection settings received
      1. 995 or

Note – When using these settings, your client will receive the following error and the client cannot properly connect into the EXO MBX.



  1. Click the Manual Config link and change the IMAP and SMTP connection string(s) and click Done
    1. Note the namespace for Incoming and for Outgoing connection settings/strings.


Once the above has been completed and the Done button clicked, you will notice the mail client connections and begins the process of downloading email!


Note – Special thanks to those who helped me diagnose this issue and quickly come up with a manual workaround for this issue. I am working with Operations to help identify how to split Hotmail and EXO from using the same namespace, allowing users to receive the correct autodiscover connection settings, so they will not need to perform this Manual Configuration, as outlined above.

Note – Apparently this is already a known issue and is addressed in this article.  I am still working to discover whether Exchange Online can help differentiate the difference between Consumer versus Business namespaces, so these older mail clients can leverage the autodiscover connection settings being returned.  For now you will need to either follow these steps listed above or reference the official article: