Every now and again, I come across a piece of advice on the net from seemingly authoritative sources that’s just plain wrong. Or at least it’s factually correct but doesn’t answer the question that was asked. One such example was a few weeks ago when I was uploading user details via CSV to bulk provision cloud accounts in Office 365.
The import was failing, telling me that “The user name is not valid. You can only use letters and numbers. No spaces”. Except that’s not really the problem here – we were using the CSV template downloaded from the Office 365 Admin Center and there were no letters and spaces.
Stupidly, I’d put in the user names – like MarkWilson – but of course Office 365 usernames are in UPN format. What the message could (more helpfully) have said is “The user name is not valid. It should be in the format username@fullyqualifieddomainname”.
Unfortunately, there is a “verified answer” on a Microsoft Community forum post that is incorrect. It tells the original poster to download a blank CSV file from the portal and to populate that but that’s exactly what they (and I) did. The correct answer (which is a “suggested answer”, but not a “verified answer”) says to include the @domainname in the user name field in the CSV file. In my example, that would be email@example.com (assuming no other domain names have been associated with the tenant). So far, my requests for Microsoft to get this fixed have failed… here’s hoping that my blog post comes up in the next person’s Google/Bing search…
Earlier this morning I had a missed call notification in Outlook. I clicked the number, Windows asked me which app I wanted to open that type of link (a tel: URI) and I clicked the wrong option. All of a sudden I had phone numbers opening in the Skype Windows 8 app rather than in my Skype for Business client (previously the Lync client).
It turns out that it’s a relatively simple change to make but it’s not necessarily obvious that the UI to do this is the one to change file type associations (this is a link, not a file…).
- In Control Panel go to Default Programs and then Set Default Programs (the quickest way is to hit the Windows key and type “
- Scroll down to Lync (desktop). Despite the name, this is the Skype for Business desktop client.
- Select Lync (desktop) and click Chose defaults for this program:
- You’ll see that the URL:Tel Protocol entry is not checked, because it’s associated with Skype:
- Select the Checkbox next to TEL and click Save:
- If you look at the Skype program associations, TEL will now be showing as defaulting to Skype for Business (desktop):
There’s more information in Paul Thurrott’s Windows 8 Tip on Changing File Associations.
A few short items that don’t quite warrant their own blog post…
@ in DNS records
Whilst working with a customer on their Office 365 integration recently, we had a requirement to add various DNS records, including the TXT record for domain verification which included an
@ symbol. The DNS provider’s systems didn’t allow us to do this, or to use a
space instead to denote the origin of the domain. Try googling for @ and you’ll have some challenges too…
One support call later and we had the answer… use a
*. It seemed to do the trick as soon after that the Microsoft servers were able to recognise our record and we continues with the domain configuration.
Are ‘ and & “legal” in an email address?
Another interesting item that came up was from running the IDfix domain synchronisation error remediation tool to check the on-premises directory before synchronisation. Some of the objects it flagged as requiring remediation were distribution groups with apostrophes (‘) or ampersands (&) in their SMTP addresses. Fair enough, but that got me wondering how/why those addresses ever worked at all (I once had an argument with someone who alleged that the hyphen in my wife’s domain name was an “illegal” character). Well, it seems that, technically, they are allowable in SMTP (I struggled reading the RFCs, but Wikipedia makes it clearer) but certainly not good practice… and definitely not for synchronisation with Azure AD.
Changing the search base for IDfix
I mentioned the IDfix tool above and, sometimes, running it against a whole domain can be difficult to cope with the results. As we planned to filter directory synchronisation on certain organizational units (OUs), it made sense to query the domain for issues on those same OUs. This is possible in the settings for IDfix, where the LDAP query for the search base can be changed.
Another post with a few things I’ve collected in my browser tabs over the last few weeks…
Locating the hash (
#) key on a Mac keyboard
I love the Apple wireless keyboard that I use with my Mac Mini but tweeting without a hash key can be challenging at times…
So much for the Mac’s simplicity when I have to Google to find the hash key (it’s at
Closing Windows 8 apps with the Surface/Surface Pro touch/type covers
And, talking of missing keys… the Surface/Surface Pro touch/type covers have function keys that double up as media keys so, if you want to
Alt-F4 to close an app, remember that’s
Snipping from “Metro” apps in Windows 8.1
If you want to snip a portion of the screen in Windows 8.x and you’re running a full-screen (“Metro”) app, then you’re out of luck – the Snipping Tool only works in desktop mode. The workaround is to take a screenshot with
PrtSc and then edit the resulting clipboard contents. Hopefully this gets better in Windows 10?
So where is the
PrtSc key for the Surface/Surface Pro touch/type covers?
There isn’t a
PrtSc key, but
Fn+space will grab the whole screen (as
PrtSc does on a normal PC keyboard) and Alt+Fn+space will grab the current window and copy it to the clipboard (as
Alt+PrtSc does normally).
Jamie Thomson and I have long since lamented the challenges of Microsoft’s two directories for cloud services and it doesn’t stop there. Take a look at cloud storage:
- OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud-based storage offering, accessed with a Microsoft Account (formerly a Windows Live ID, or a Passport if you go back far enough…)
- OneDrive for Business is Microsoft’s cloud-based storage offering, accessed with an Organizational Account (which lives in Microsoft Azure AD)
Similar names, similar purpose, totally different implementation – as the OneDrive for Business product is still Groove (which later became SharePoint Workspace) under the covers (have a look at the filename when you download the client).
And look what happens when you have both products with the same email address used to access them:
Still, at least the site detects that this has happened and gives you the choice. And there is some hope for future convergence as Jamie highlights in this blog post from earlier in the year.
Earlier this week, I was helping a customer to get ready for an Office 365 pilot and they were having challenges with the OneDrive client. The version available for download from the Office 365 portal is a click-to-run installation and it didn’t want to play nicely with their .MSI-based Office 2013 installation (which should already include the client anyway). Actually, that didn’t really matter because the OneDrive client is also included in Windows 8.1, which was the operating system being used.
The confusion came with setting up the connected services inside Office:
- To set up a OneDrive account, click on OneDrive – but that will only accept Microsoft Account credentials and, after configuration it will show as something like “OneDrive – Personal”.
- To set up OneDrive for Business, don’t click OneDrive but select SharePoint instead. After logging on with your Organizational Account credentials, that will be displayed as “OneDrive – organisation name” (with SharePoint sites appearing as “Sites – organisation name”).
Some illustration might help so, below is a shot of my connected services. Because I’m connected to multiple Office 365 tenants, you can see that I have multiple OneDrive [for Business] and Sites entries:
If you’re trying to get hold of the OneDrive for Business sync client for SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online, Microsoft knowledge base article 2903984 has the links for the click-to-run install. If you want an MSI version, then you’re out of luck – but you can create a customised Office 2013 installation instead as OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) was originally released as part of several Office 2013 suites (as described in Microsoft knowledge base article 2904296.
Finally, if you’re trying to work out how to get a OneDrive for Business app on Windows Phone, the OneDrive app can connect to both OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.