Archive for the ‘Office 365’ Category


Scenario

The client machine on which this happened was Windows 10 with Office 2016 (Pro Plus from Office 365) installed.  It started happening suddenly according to the user.  When Word, for example, would launch, an error text displayed that work files couldn’t be opened.  Additionally, if Word, etc. were trying to open existing files, they never loaded and an error was displayed that the file could not be opened.

Red Herring

I first thought it might be a permissions error, so I looked at permissions on folders and saw that the user not only had them but was also a local administrator.  To trouble shoot some more, I tried to give another domain user privilege, but THAT gave me a RPC error when I tried to add one of the enumerated users.  So I concentrated on domain membership.  For a while.  In fact, I was about to remove the client from the domain and re-add it, but thankfully did not.  It would not have solved the problem.

Next I decided to look at environment variables.  In particular, TEMP and TMP.  Both were correct with %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Temp.  I reset them anyway but no luck.  Same errors.

What Did Work

The problem was registry settings.  I launched REEGEDIT and navigated to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Look at Cache and Cookies.  On the client machine, these had values that began with C:\Users\<username>|Appdata\Local\Microsoft\…  I changed them to %USERPROFILE%\AppData\… and closed Regedit.

That made everything work.

I checked my own computer, which has a similar configuration, and the settings that did not work on the client machine worked fine on my own.  I am not sure why this is the case.  But never look success as your enemy, more like a virtuous being you will never understand,


OneDrive for Business and/or SharePoint Libraries Synced

If you had your OneDrive for Business library and/or other SharePoint libraries synced and then you upgraded from Office 2010/2013 to Office 2016, there is an excellent chance that syncing will stop.  It may be coincidence that this showed up along with an upgrade to Windows 10, but the primary issues seem to be with Office 2013.

Try This First

Open task manager and see if OneDrive for Business is running, or look in systray for the blue clooud icon indicating it is trying to sync.  If it is not running, go to the start menu (Windows 7 or 10) or look in Applications (Windows 8/8.1) and open OneDrive for Business.  You won’t see anything unless you look in systray again.

If it is running, either because you started it or it was already running, right-click on the systray icon and see if it brings up the context menu.  Hopefully it will, and you should choose repair. Let it run to see if that fixes your problem by then seeing if things start to sync.

I was not so lucky.  I got no context menu when I right-clicked.  More than that, I should 13,000+ files syncing (size of all my synced libraries) and it never changed.

What Worked for Me

I tried several things, none of which actually did any good towards fixing the sync problem, but for your information, and in hopes maybe they would work for you, here they are:\

  • Started OneDrive for Business, restarted the computer and tried again.  Nope.
  • Ran quick repair on Office (installed from Office 365 BTW).  Nope
  • Ran full repair on Office.  Nope.
  • Opened Office 365 and went to each library and tried sync icon.  Nope.

If you too got none of those to work what you should do next is uninstall Office 2016.  Don’t panic about settings like Outlook profiles, signatures, etc.  They won’t disappear on you.

For the next step, rename the synced folders on my local drive.  In my case, the local copies were all on Drive C:, so navigated toC:\Users\<myprofile>.  If you synced ShareSharePoint  libraries you will see a folder Named SharePoint.  DO NOT DELETE THESE FOLDERS OR FILES!!  Rename it to have an extension of .old (you can do anything you want to get rid of the original name, but I would just add some sort of extension and will explain why later).  Doing this AFTER removing Office 2016 doesn’t give you an error that the files are in use.

Now rename the OneDrive for Business folder.  It, too, in in your user profile, with a file name of One Drive – <domain> where domain is your Office 365 user domain.  Add .old to it as well, for example.

Now re-install Office 2016.  If your source is Office 365, open the portal, click on the gear wheel, and choose Office 365 Settings, then either Software (if your site has not been recently upgraded) or Installs (if it has).  Click to download and install Office 2016.  If you didn’t change your computer name, then it already knows you are authenticated on that computer.

When the install is finished, start OneDrive for Business.  You may get error messages that it can’t find the libraries to sync.  If you do, then right click on the systray icon and choose Stop Syncing a Folder, then select the folder(s) and stop synching all of them.

Now, start with the SharePoint libraries you want to sync.  Open the Office 365 portal, navigate to the sites, then to each library and choose sync.  When all have finished, you can now turn your attention to OneDrive.

Here is what I had to do to avoid getting an error on sync that the file could not be opened.

  1. Stop OneDrive for Business.  You can do this in task manager, or right-click on the icon in systray and choose Exit.
  2. Open the Office 365 portal and navigate to your OneDrive for Business.
  3. Click on the sync icon, then allow it to sync.

It took a bit for my files to come across as I had a large amount in OneDrive for Business, but it finally caught up.

But Then…

I started seeing that horrible red circle with the white X appear on the folder and file names in the local folder.  I thought that very strange since all the files were synced before and there should have been no errors.  So I looked at sync errors – right-click on the icon in systray and choose that option – and saw that file after file was asking for credentials.

This is what Microsoft support describes as a known issue.  There is an update to fix it, and if you open an Office 2016 product, click on File then select Account, you will see an update button.  Click to apply the update, then reboot your computer.

While you are there, however, make sure that your Office 2016 is connected to

  • Office 365 SharePoint
  • Office 365 OneDrive for Business
  • OneDrive if you have a personal account that you also use.

I also had to do a bit of tweaking to finally get sync going again for OneDrive for Business.  I stopped the sync, did a repair, then started it again.  It did not seem to get things moving.  So I removed OneDrive for Business from the sync sites, went back to Office 365 and synced it again.  Finally, when it started reporting “need credentials,” I went off to do something else.  When I came back several hours later everything had synced and no errors were reported.

Go figure.

Files Updated Locally but Never Synced to Office 365

You may have a  situation similar to mine in that I had opened and updated files locally as well as created new ones, but they never got synced to the cloud.  So the final step is to “sync locally” with those changes.  That is why it was important to keep the old local copies because those copies hold the updated files and folders.

To “sync” them, I used xcopy.exe from a command prompt.  Add the parameters “/e /s /i /d” to copy only newer files (/d with no additional parameters) and add any missing files and folders.  Assuming that your files are synced on Drive C:, the default location, try these steps:

  1.   Open cmd prompt window.
  2.   Navigate to C:\users\<profilename>.
  3.   Look for the folder SharePoint and the one you renamed to SharePoint.old.
  4.   Enter the command xcopy sharepoint sharepoint.old /e /s /d /i
  5.   This should copy the files that are newer to the local syced folders and then in turn up to Office 365.
  6.   Repeat the command for OneDrive for Business new folder and the old, renamed one.  Be sure and use ” around the directory name, as in xcopy “onedrive for business.old” “onedrive for business” /e /s /d /i.  Replace the directory names in this example with the actual directory names on your drive.

When everything has synced to Office 365 and you are comfortable with the files that are local and in the cloud, you can safely delete the old, renamed folders from your drive.


In my previous post, I listed the registry change to get sent email into the shared mailbox sent folder; otherwise it ends up in the sent folder of the primary email account.  Turns out the very same thing happens to deleted items, but there is also a registry key that will fix that.

  1. Close Outlook if it is running.
  2. From the search bar in Windows 10, type regedit and then click on the result to run.  In Windows 7 click Run and type regedit then click OK. Or from Windows 8 search, type regedit and run it.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Options\General.Note Office 2013 uses 15.0, Office 2010 uses 14.0, 2007 12.0 instead of 15.0
  4. In the right hand pane, right-click and choose New DWORD.
  5. Type DelegateWastebasketStyle for the name and press enter.
  6. Right-click on the newly created entry and choose Modify.
  7. Enter 4 for the value.
  8. Exit regedit.
  9. Restart Outlook.

You are done.


What Are Shared Mailboxes

Although shared mailboxes are a feature of Exchange Server, I will focus more their use in Office 365.  A shared mailbox there is one which doesn’t require a specific user license but is created with access granted to other users how do have Exchange licenses. Additionally, they can be granted permissions as well.

Why use shared mailboxes and not just use a distribution list?  When you use a distribution list, incoming mail is forwarded to each person on the distribution list, and in general it is mixed with all the email for all addresses associated with that person.  In other words, mail from one particular address is not distinguished and separated.

A bigger problem can occur when sending replies or new emails. Although  inbound mail is sent to everyone on the distribution list, there is no guarantee that any replies, or new emails, will be copied to those recipients as well.  Keeping all of the sent and received emails together is at best challenging.

Shared mailboxes solve this problem.  It has its own set of standard folders such as inbox, sent, etc., and you can create custom folders.  If you have send permissions you can send from its email address.

So What Is the Problem?

Standard behavior for Outlook is to put all sent mail into the primary mailbox Sent folder, no matter what email address or mailbox you send from.  If you have all of the email related to the shared mailbox in its container, why would you want to mix sent items with your own?

There is a Solution

First, close Outlook if it is running.  While you can make the change while it is running, it needs to be restarted before it will work, so you might as well do it now.

From the search bar in Windows 10, type regedit and then click on the result to run.  In Windows 7 click Run and type regedit then click OK. Or from Windows 8 search, type regedit and run it.

Expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER and keep expanding until you have reached

HKEY_CURRENT_USER|Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Preferences

Note this is for Office 2016.  If you are using Office 2013, change the 16.0 to 15.0; Office 2010, change the 16.0 to 14.0.

In the right hand pane, right-click and choose New->DWORD.   For the value type

DelegateSentItemsStyle

and press Enter.  Then right-click on that key when it shows up and click Modify.  In the Value data box, enter 1 and click OK.

Exit the registry editor.

Start Outlook and give it a try.  You will see sent items for the shared folder in its sent folder, not in your primary email sent folder.

 

 


A Shortage of Names? Who Knew?

I would have thought that my friends, literally down the street from here, would not suffer a paucity of names so bad that they had to re-use them.  And given the name change from Sky rive to OneDrive, I would have bet they would have come to realize that naming two different things with the same name would not continue to be a good thing.  At least OneDrive for Business versus OneDrive should help define the space in which the products dwell and delineate their use and functionality.

OnDrive with Microsoft Account

Anyone can get a Microsoft account – live.com has become outlook.com – and with it, get a OneDrive account.  OneDrive, when set up on your computer, actually creates a folder called SkyDrive (it may now created OneDrive but I have a pre-name change instance) in your user profile.  So the location of the folder is something like C:\users\<userprofilename>\SkyDrive.  Installing SkyDrive also the folder instance in Favorites on Windows Explorer, although it is actually the same folder.

Save items in this folder and they are copied to your outlook.com space in the Microsoft cloud.  You can access the cloud folder, and the same data, from any other computer where you have installed OneDrive and used the same Microsoft account log on.  There is also a Windows Phone app for it, and no doubt iPhone and Android apps as well.

Make changes to what is in this folder, and those changes are synched to the cloud storage.  Even if you are not connected to the Internet when those changes are made (think being on an airplane), when you next connect they are replicated.  And then synced with all other OneDrive instances you use, like your desktop at the office, tablet, phone,….

OneDrive at Office 365 -Microsoft Organizational Account

OneDrive for Business, formerly known as SkyDrive Pro, seems to feel very similar to OneDrive.  But there are differences, and why you would want to use one over the other also drives choices.

OneDrive is free and is intended for personal information while OneDrive for Business is available to Office 365 users.  It is intended for corporate or organization information.  OneDrive for business is, in its cloud form, a SharePoint document library set up for the individual user.  As such it is controlled by the administrator for Office 365.  A less “polite” way to say this may be that if someone leaves the organization, they can take OneDrive personal with them but OneDrive for Business stays in your control and possession.


Things You Need to Do This

First, you need to be an admin on the Office 365 account.  Second, you need to have a license for at least Exchange; simply being able to administer the account does not seem to be enough.

Steps to Add Additional Email Addresses

  1. Sign in as an administrator with an Exchange account using your browser.
  2. Go to the Outlook Web App.
  3. Note the URL.url
  4. Now change the URL to remove owa and everything past it to ecp and go to that address.
  5. You should see the Exchange Control Panel like the image below:

    ECP

  6. As I have done for the illustration, click on “shared” to display shared mailboxes.  Highlight the mailbox you want to add email addresses to, then click on the pen icon above the mailbox list to edit it.
  7. In the pop-up window that appears, click on “email address” on the left hand navigation links, and you can then add additional email addresses by clicking on the “+” sign.
  8. You can also modify any of the other mailbox settings here as well.

This method also works to modify mailbox settings for distribution and security groups, users and contacts.  In fact, for all of the Office 365 Exchange Settings.


What is SkyDrive Pro vs. SkyDrive?

SkyDrive Pro is not to be confused with the free SkyDrive you can get at live.com.  What may be confusing to you is that they have similar names, and you might even use the same login name and passwords to access each of them.  But that is just co-incidence, much in the same way that the user name and password you might use to log onto your bank account and a news web site might be the same but those sites have no real relationship to one another.

So what is SkyDrive Pro?  It is a 25GB storage space that you get to via Office 365, but unlike he “Team Site”, this is a personal site just for you and based on your user logon to Office 365.  All the things, or at least most of them, that can be done on the team site – like creating libraries, lists, etc. – can be done on the SkyDrive Pro site.  But the data you store there is visible and accessible only by your logon.  (There is a way to store data so that all other Office 365 users in your organization can see it, but will discuss that shortly).

 SkyDrive Pro 2013 in the Office 2013 Suite of Programs

There is an important difference about SkyDrive Pro from the Team Site besides exclusively belonging to you.  There is an Office 2013 program, SkyDrive Pro interestingly enough, that does two things:

SkyDrive Pro 2013 makes a local copy of your Office 365 SkyDrive data so you can access it even when you are not online. SkyDrive Pro 2013 automatically synchronizes the data between your local copy and Office 365.  Update it in either place and the changes are replicated.

And yes, if you were wondering, you can use SkyDrive Pro 2013 on multiple computers.  Let’s say you are using it on your office and home office computers.  You update the local copy on your home office computer, and that replicates to Office 365 in the cloud.  That in turn replicates from Office 365 to the local copy on your office computer.

 Setting Up SkyDrive Pro 2013

If you already have Office 2013 Professional Plus installed (from Office 365, e.g.) then SkyDrive Pro 2013 is already installed on your computer.  You might want to pin this program to your task bar for easy access.  In Windows 7, click on the Start menu, then All Programs, scroll down to Microsoft Office 2013 and expand it, right click on SkyDrive Pro and click on Pin to Task Bar.  In Windows 8, swipe to the lower right hand corner of the screen to bring up Charms, choose the Search Charm, and start typing “SkyDrive Pro 2013.”  As soon as it appears, right click on it and at the bottom of the screen, choose Pin to Taskbar.  Return to the desktop.

On the taskbar, click on the SkyDrive Pro 2013 icon to launch it.  The first time it runs, it will prompt you to synch files for the first time.  You may be prompted for a URL of the library to synch to, or that may already be filled out for you.  If it is filled out already, just click on Sync Now.

If you are prompted for a URL, then close the window and perform the following steps instead:

  1. Open Internet Explorer or FireFox or Chrome.
  2. Go to http://portal.microsoftonline.com, 
  3. Log onto your Office 365 account.
  4. On the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the next page, click on SkyDrive.
  5. When the SkyDrive site opens, click on Sync at the upper right just below the user name.

SkyDrive

You should see a small window open asking to Sync Now.  Select that.  Subsequently, a second small window may open asking you to choose an application in which Microsoft SkyDrive Pro appears.  Click on it and then click OK.  Briefly another small window may appear informing you that your computer is contacting the server, and finally another window that sync is preparing, then finally that it is ready and you can view your files.  Click Show my files to do so.

Subsequently when you click on the SkyDrive Pro icon, it will open the folder from your local hard disk.  You will note the location of this folder is C:\Users\<profilename<>\SkyDrive Pro where <profilename> is the name of the user profile you are logged on as.  Generally it will be your log on name and sometimes with the domain name added.

o365-2

Please note on the screen shot above both SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro appear.  That is because I set up a personal SkyDrive account in addition to having an Office 365 account.  They are not the same thing even though the names are similar.  It is as though Drop Box had one account for personal and another named Drop the Box for something else.  Jeez.

Sharing Data with Others in Your Organization

Notice in the screenshot above “Shared with Everyone” folder.  Open that and place a file or folder there, and anyone can access it.  Otherwise, the files are private to your log on.  Pretty simple, eh?

 What is the SkyDrive Pro Folder?

What SkyDrive Pro 2013 does is create a local folder in the path specified above, and it also sets up an automatic synchronization between that folder and the SkyDrive SharePoint site in Office 365.  Recall that the SkyDrive site in Office 365 that you see when you log on to the portal is private!  It belongs to your Office 365 log on exclusively.  Coupled with SkyDrive Pro 2013, it does a bi-directional synchronization to SkyDrive Pro folder on your computer.  In other words, if you add, change or delete anything in the SkyDrive Pro folder on your computer, those changes are automatically replicated in the SkyDrive SharePoint site in Office 365.  Likewise, if you add, change or delete anything in that site, it is automatically replicated to your computer.

Note that you do not have to be connected to the Internet to access files, or add files, to the local SkyDrive Pro folder.  Once you are connected, replication in both directions takes place without you having to do anything.

This feature makes it perfect when you are using more than one computer: say your office computer, your home computer, and your laptop computer.  Set up SkyDrive Pro on each.  If you make changes on your laptop while traveling, for example, once you connect to the Internet, those changes are replicated to Office 365.  And Office 365 in turn will replicate them to the home and office computers.

 The SkyDrive Pro 2013 Folder

When you click on the SkyDrive Pro icon on the taskbar, or from File Explorer under Favorites, or by browsing to the folder location.  The contents of the folder will appear as in any other folder on your computer.  However, SkyDrive Pro adds a crucial piece of information.  An icon will appear just before the file or folder name.  The icon will be one of the three following ones:

  1. A green check mark.  This indicates the file has been successfully synchronized to Office 365.
  2. A circle with two curved arrows inside.  This indicates that the file is awaiting synchronization to Office 365.
  3. A red circle with a white “X” inside it.   This indicates there is an error synchronizing to Office 365. It is either a file type that cannot be uploaded to SharePoint, in which case you should not put it in SkyDrive Pro folder, or the file name is invalid.  Invalid file names contain characters like “%” or “&” and several others that are invalid in SharePoint.  Or the file name has consecutive “.”  Myfile..ppt, for example, is valid in Windows but not in SharePoint.  Change the file name to allow synchronization.

You can see the icons next to the file names on the screen shot I posted above.

 Using SkyDrive Pro

The first thing you should do is move all of your files in My Documents to SkyDrive Pro, then abandon completely storing or accessing anything from My Documents.  If you save documents on your desktop, do the same thing: move them to SkyDrive Pro and cease using your desktop for storage.  If you save your documents to another location, well you get the idea.  You can open My Documents, any other folder, and also SkyDrive Pro folder and simply drag things from one place to the other.

When you are saving a document, say from an email attachment or from an application like Word or Excel, simply browse to the SkyDrive Pro folder and save it there (or to a subfolder there).

 Why Go Through All that Trouble?

Just to state the obvious, it is NOT more trouble to save or access things from SkyDrive Pro than from any other location.  There is a modest, but simple, effort required to move everything from other locations to it though.

Consider these benefits:

  •  If something catastrophic happens to your computer – lost, stolen, hard disk crash, accidental erasure, etc. – you don’t lose any of your files.  A copy is at Office 365 and readily restored to any computer.
  • You can keep your files current and accessible on multiple computers you use.
  • You can access your files while traveling with no Internet connection.
  • You can rest assured that Office 365 is backed up, redundant and robust to protect your data.
  • SkyDrive at Office 365 supports version control, so if you screw up a file, you can readily restore the previous version and save the day.
  • If you don’t have any of your computers with you but have access to one, you can still get to all of your files by accessing them through the Office 365 portal.  And if that computer doesn’t have Office 2013 on it, you can use the Office Web Apps or Office on Demand at any time.

A Few More Things

You have an icon in the systray for SkyDrive Pro and another for Microsoft Office Upload Center (the latter is an orange circle with a large up-pointing arrow).  When files are synching, the SkyDrive Pro icon will have a green moving bar underneath it.  Hover your mouse over it and a popup will show how many remaining files are waiting for synch.  Open Upload Center to see any errors in uploading, such as unsupported file types or invalid file names.  File names must conform to SharePoint file name rules, so certain characters valid in Windows file names will not work in SharePoint.

Saving files, or opening existing files, from Office and other applications is quite simple and easy.  To open a file, for example, click on the SkyDrive Pro (or similarly named) icon under Favorites or open the SkyDrive Pro folder from SkyDrive 2013.  Browse to the file you want and click to open it.  To save a file, follow a similar strategy

Files are synched to Office 365 only when a file is closed after updating or adding.  Don’t depend on synching a file that remains open for days at a time.  A good example might be a QuickBooks file.  As long as you close it after daily use, it will synch to Office 365.  A better strategy might be to set up QuickBooks to backup the file on an automated schedule to your SkyDrive Pro site.  Once the backup is complete, it is synched to Office 365, giving you a local and a cloud-based backup.

You may recall that if you go offline, say taking your laptop or table while traveling, or because your Internet connection is down, you can make changes to your files on the local SkyDrive Pro folder and once connected to the Internet again, those changes will be replicated onto Office 365.  But here is a caution if you are using Office 2013 SkyDrive Pro (Office APP) on more than one computer:  If you make changes on one of those computers to the folder and don’t go online to synch them but instead make changes to the same files or folders on another computer, you will create a synch error or worse cause an overwrite to the changes on at least one of those computers.  In normal operation, I consider this unlikely, but sure as I write this someone will do it.

If you are using a Windows tablet device, such as a Surface Pro, remember that your local copy of your folder is going to be as large as the online store.  Since these table devices are solid state disks (SSD) and generally 32GB or 64GB for all your storage, including the OS and program files, you might run out of room.  In that case, consider moving older or seldom-used files to your Office 365 team site libraries.

Summary

SkyDrive Pro is a personal SharePoint site for each Office 365 user.  Coupled with Office 2013 SkyDrive Pro, a local folder under your user profile is used to store data which is automatically synched to the SharePoint site.  Used in place of My Documents, or some network share, it is an excellent and vastly superior way IMHO to have online or offline access to your files, to have automatic cloud backup, and access to them on multiple computers or simply through an Internet connection and browser when your own computer devices are not available.