AppRiver Technical GuidesAppRiver Microsoft Office 365Office 365 - General ArticlesCommon Office 365 Issues With Troubleshooting Steps and Escalation Procedures

Common Office 365 Issues With Troubleshooting Steps and Escalation Procedures

 

Shared Computer Activation

  1. Shared Computer Activation allows multiple users to access Office that has been installed on a terminal server. NOTE: Specific licensing is required for this functionality. Below we will walk through the steps to troubleshoot issues with Shared Computer Activation.
  1. Licensing  Every user that needs to access Office in a terminal server environment must have the correct license. Office Pro Plus is the only version of Office that supports Shared Computer Activation and the following licenses include Office Pro Plus: Office Pro Plus, Enterprise E3, and Enterprise E5. If a user does not have the correct license they will not be able to activate Office in the terminal environment.
  2. Registry Key  In order for Office Pro Plus to use Shared Computer Activation a registry key must be added on the terminal environment. If Office Pro Plus is installed from the O365 portal this registry key is not added automatically so it needs to be added manually. To add the registry key open RegEdit then navigate to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration. In this path add a new string entry with the name “SharedComputerLicensing”. Once the key is added right click the key then choose Modify and set the value to 1. If users are having issues activating or signing into Office in the terminal environment you should verify that the SharedComputerLicensing key has been added.

2.    If the steps above do not resolve the issue a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.

  1. Customer Domain Name
  2. Email address of affected user or users
  3. Date issue started
  4. Windows version and Office version from the affected machine or machines
  5. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

Office Activation

  1. Office activation issues occur commonly in O365 for a variety of reasons. An Office installation must verify an O365 user’s license at least once every 30 days to prevent entering reduced functionality mode. If activation fails for any reason the user will typically see an “Unlicensed Product” error message. Below we will walk through the steps to troubleshoot Office activation issues.
    1. Connected User  In order for Office to activate a user with the correct license must activate the software. You can check the user that activated the software by clicking File > Account > check the Belongs to: section. If the wrong user is listed or no user is listed click Change License then enter the correct credentials.
    2. Multiple Office Versions  As a best practice only one version of Office should be installed on a single machine. If multiple versions are installed errors can occur during the activation process. You can check if multiple versions are installed by going to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features > look for Microsoft Office or Office. If older version are found, uninstall them by selecting the application then click Uninstall and follow the prompts.
    3. License Status  A user’s license must be active to activate Office software. In some cases O365 licensing can expire due to error or overdue billing. If a user’s license is expired they will receive an error when trying to use or activate Office. You can check the license status in the O365 Admin Portal by signing in as a Global Admin then click Admin > Billing > Licenses > if the number of expired licenses is not 0 you will need to contact Sales to re-activate the license.
    4. Support and Recovery Assistant (SARA)  The SARA tool from Microsoft can be used to troubleshoot or resolve common O365 issues. You can follow the steps below to use the SARA tool to troubleshoot an Office activation issue.
      1. Install and Run the Support and Recovery Assistant (SARA) for O365.
      2. Follow the wizard and chose the option “I've installed Office, but I can't activate it, and then select Next”.
      3. Follow the prompts to troubleshoot activation issues
    5. CMD Prompt Activation  If the steps above have not resolved the issue you can try to force Office activation using the Cscript tool that is included with Office. This article walks through using the Cscript tool to Troubleshoot Office Activation Issues.
  2. If the steps above do not resolve the issue a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.
    1. Customer Domain Name
    2. Email address of affected user or users
    3. Date issue started
    4. Windows version and Office version from the affected machine or machines
    5. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

General Office Issues

  1. Issues with Microsoft Office are fairly common and can be caused by many different things. The outline below will walk through basic troubleshooting and the necessary process for creating a support ticket.
  1. Add-Ins  Most Office programs such as Word, Excel, and Outlook allow add-ins that can potentially cause problems in some cases. Common problems that we see are slow performance or crashing. Add-Ins can easily be disabled by holding down the CTRL key when clicking an Office program. Once this is done you will see a prompt asking to start in safe mode. Testing safe mode should always be an early step in the troubleshooting process. This article provides more information on Starting Apps In Safe Mode.
  2. Updates  Microsoft releases Office updates on a regular basis and it’s important to stay current with the latest updates. Many issues or bugs that occur with Office are corrected through updates so running an older version can contribute to poor overall performance. Updates for Office should be installed automatically but it is possible to disable automatic updates so this should be checked when troubleshooting issues. To check for Office updates simply click File > Account > Update Options > Update Now. If the machine is already fully updated you will receive a message stating this. This article provides more information on Installing Office Updates.
  3. Conflicting Versions  Office has undergone many changes over the years and newer versions are often installed alongside older versions. In some cases multiple versions can be installed without issue but as a best practice only one version of Office should be installed. You can check if multiple versions of Office are installed by going to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features > check for Microsoft Office or Office entries. If multiple versions are found the oldest version should be uninstalled by selecting the application then clicking Uninstall and following the prompts. This article provides more information on Uninstalling Office.
  4. Repair Office  In some cases Office settings can become unstable so running a repair on Office can help restore default settings. You can start a repair by going to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features > select the Office application then click Change. At this point you will often be prompted to choose a Quick Repair or an Online Repair. While a Quick Repair is faster, an Online Repair is recommended because it’s more thorough. NOTE: You will likely be prompted to reactivate Office once the repair is complete. This article provides more information on Repairing Office.
  5. Uninstall and Reinstall  As a final troubleshooting step uninstalling then reinstalling Office will often alleviate issues that steps a - d did not resolve. This link provides a Scrub Tool that will completely remove Office 2016 from a machine. The scrub tool often cleans settings that other methods miss so it can be a very useful tool. To run the scrub tool open the Zip file then run OffScrubC2R.vbs. You will be prompted to reboot the machine after the uninstall finishes. If the Office version is not 2016 this article provides more information on Uninstalling Office. Once Office has been uninstalled the machine should be rebooted before Office is reinstalled.

2.      If the steps above do not resolve the issue a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.

  1. Customer domain name
  2. Email address of affected user or users
  3. Date issue started
  4. Windows version and Office version from the affected machine or machines
  5. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

Shared Mailbox Conversion

  1. Shared mailboxes are common in Office 365 and they not require a license so they can be useful in many scenarios. The proper method to convert a mailbox to a shared mailbox is often overlooked though and this can lead to issues. The steps below will walk through the conversion process and best practices.
    1. Conversion - To convert a regular mailbox to a shared mailbox, navigate to the Exchange Admin Center > Recipients > select the user you want to convert from your User list. To the right in the side panel, there is an option “Convert to a shared mailbox”. Click this option to convert. You can also convert a user in Powershell if you are familiar with it by running the command: Set-Mailbox user@example.com -Type Shared. Once a mailbox is converted to a shared mailbox you should allow at least 2 hours for propagation before proceeding further.
    2. Permissions - Next you will need to set permissions to allow others to access the shared mailbox. NOTE: A shared mailbox does not use a username or password to sign in and cannot be added to Outlook using traditional methods. To set permissions on a shared mailbox, find the user in the Exchange Admin Center under Recipients > Shared > Double click the user and navigate to the Mailbox Delegation tab. Here you can add appropriate Send As or Full Access permissions then click save. The mailbox will automatically appear in a user’s Outlook if you granted them full access permissions. If you do not want the mailbox to appear automatically please contact AppRiver support for assistance.
    3. Remove License  As mentioned earlier, a shared mailbox does not require a license so you can remove the license from the user after the 2 hours of propagation has passed. You can remove the license in the AppRiver CP or the O365 Admin Portal. NOTE: Do not delete the user from the O365 portal or the Appriver CP as this will delete the shared mailbox. Additionally, if you remove the license before allowing the 2 hours of propagation time it can also delete the shared mailbox.
  2. If the steps above do not convert the mailbox to a shared mailbox or you experience issues a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.
    1. Customer domain name
    2. Email address of affected user or users
    3. Date issue started
    4. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

Outlook Connectivity

  1. Outlook connectivity issues can be common in O365 so it’s important to understand the relevant steps that can be used to troubleshoot issues.
  1. Autodiscover is required for connectivity in Outlook 2016 so the first troubleshooting step is checking to ensure the domain has their Autodiscover record published. The Autodiscover record is a CNAME record that normally looks like Autodiscover.domain.com. You can check this record at MX Toolbox by entering Autodiscover.domain.com (replace domain.com with the domain you’re working on).
  2. Run the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant (SARA) and follow the steps based on your current issue. The SARA tool will check your configuration and attempt to resolve any issues if possible. The SARA tool will also let you gather diagnostic information in case the issue cannot be resolved.
  3. Create a new Outlook profile to ensure the old Outlook profile is not the cause of the issue. In some cases, Outlook profiles become corrupt so creating a new profile can often alleviate issues. This article walks through Creating a New Outlook Profile.
  4. If the issue is still unresolved at this point, we recommend testing Outlook Web Access (OWA). If OWA works correctly we would also recommend testing Outlook from another machine if possible. Testing Outlook from another machine will help determine if the issue is related to the user’s account or their machine.

2.     If the steps above do not resolve the issue a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.

  1. Customer domain name
  2. Email address of affected user or users (Full credentials will help expedite investigation)
  3. Date issue started
  4. Windows version and Office version from the affected machine or machines
  5. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

Understanding Propagation Time

  1. Propagation time is common in Office 365 and many services have varying propagation times. Below we will list common operations and the corresponding propagation time for them.
  1. Unblock a blocked user  This issue occurs when O365 detects a large amount of spam being sent from an O365 mailbox. If a user receives a “Bad Outbound Sender” bounce-back this indicates the user has been blocked from sending external email. You can unblock a user in the Exchange Admin Center under Protection > Action Center > blocked users are listed here. NOTE: After unblocking a user it can take up to 2 hours propagation time before the user can send external email again.
  2. Creating a new user  After creating a new user in O365 and assigning the appropriate license propagation time is required. According to Microsoft, it can take up to 24 hours in some cases for a user to fully provision, but propagation time is usually around 2 hours. The length of time often depends on the number of services included with the user’s license as well as the current provisioning backlog.
  3. Restoring expired licenses  This action is necessary when a trial is not accepted or there is a lapse in billing. Restoring expired licenses often requires a call to Sales and propagation time is required after the licenses are restored. In most cases the restored licenses will be fully functional within 2 hours, but we have seen this process take up to 4 hours in a few cases.
  4. Adding full access or send as permissions  In many organizations full access or send as permissions are required and propagation time is required for both types of permissions. Full access permissions generally take at least 2 hours to propagate and send as permissions generally take at least 4 hours to propagate. Outlook should be closed and reopened before utilizing new permission as well.
  5. Office 365 Message Encryption (OME)  OME is a popular service that requires the use of Powershell to be activated. Once OME is activated 24 hours of propagation is required before creating transport rules that utilize OME.
  6. General Exchange Operations  Many administrative activities regarding Exchange take propagation time because settings must sync to multiple servers in O365. A general rule of thumb for adding or changing settings in Exchange is to allow at least 2 hours for propagation time.
  7. General Sharepoint Operations  Many administrative activities regarding Sharepoint require propagation time. A general rule of thumb for adding or changing settings in Sharepoint is to allow at least 1 hour for propagation time.

2.     If issues are found after allowing the recommended propagation time a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.

  1. Customer domain name
  2. Email address of affected user or users
  3. Extra details to help explain the issue (Screenshots, URLS, Steps Performed)
  4. Date issue started
  5. Length of allowed propagation time
  6. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

Handling a Terminated Employee

  1. Properly handling a terminated employee in O365 can be tricky due to cached logins and multiple access points such as, Outlook, OWA, and Mobile Devices. The steps below will outline the recommended method for handling terminated employees.
  1. The first consideration when terminating an employee should be saving the users data. Mailbox data can be saved by exporting the mailbox to a PST file or placing a mailbox on Litigation Hold (requires an Exchange Online Plan 2 license). This article provides more information on Saving the Content of a Former Employee's Mailbox.
  2. An early consideration when terminating an employee must also be allowing someone to take over the mailbox or email. This can be achieved by forwarding the terminated employee’s mailbox to another user or converting the terminated employee’s mailbox to a shared mailbox. This article provides more information on Forwarding a Former Employee's Mailbox to Another Mailbox or Converting to a Shared Mailbox
    1. Forwarding the terminated employee’s mailbox to another user requires leaving the mailbox active so this often consumes an O365 license.
    2. Converting a terminated employee’s mailbox to a shared mailbox will free up the O365 license because shared mailboxes do not require a license. This option is very popular since multiple users can access the shared mailbox and it does not consume a license.
  3. A common problem when terminating an employee is lingering mobile access. Mobile devices cache authentication for extended periods so it’s possible a user can still have access even if a password is changed. Many users now use personal devices for business email as well so this issue must be addressed. The best option to handle this situation is wiping or blocking the former employee’s mobile device. This article provides more information on Wiping or Blocking a User's Mobile Device.
  4. Steps A  C help ensure business data is backed up and protected so our next step involves disabling access for the terminated employee. The best method to disable a user’s access is by blocking their O365 sign in. This articles provides more information on Blocking a User's Access to O365.
  5. If the terminated user has a license that includes OneDrive you must also consider saving the OneDrive data. This portion is often overlooked as many administrators main focus is email. Luckily, O365 allows a Global Admin to change the owner of a user’s OneDrive so someone else can save the data. This article provides more information on Saving a User's OneDrive Content.
    1. NOTE: If the terminated user synced their OneDrive data to a personal computer there is no way for an administrator to wipe that data from the machine.
  6. At this point the terminated employee’s data should be saved and another user should be granted access if necessary. If the user is still licensed at this point you will need to consider if you want to remove the license so a license is not being consumed by a former employee. If the license is removed the user’s mailbox and OneDrive data will be stored by O365 for 30 days. After 30 days of being unlicensed the user’s data will be permanently removed. This article provides more information on Removing the License from a Former Employee.
  7. The final step for handling the terminated employee is deleting the user from O365. It is recommended to delete inactive users for security reasons as well as overall cleanliness and usability of the O365 users list. Once a user is deleted from the active users list it will be moved to deleted users for 30 days. After 30 days as a deleted user the user is permanently purged from O365. This article provides more information on Deleting a User from O365.

2.    If questions or issues occur during this process a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.

  1. Customer domain name
  2. Email address of affected user or users
  3. Extra details to help explain the issue (Screenshots, URLS, Steps Performed)
  4. Date issue started
  5. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

Retention Policies

  1. Retention Policies are commonly used in O365 to maintain mailboxes and help ensure mailbox sizes are healthy. While Retention Policies can be extremely useful, they can also be confusing and seem not to be working in many cases. The steps below will walk through troubleshooting issues with Retention Policies.
    1. Setup and Assignment  Retention policies are generally managed in the Exchange Admin Center (EAC). It’s important to understand that Retention Policies are assigned to mailboxes and Retention Tags must be added to Retention Policies to determine what actions that policy has. If you are working on an issue where items aren’t moving the first thing you should do is verify the correct Retention Tags are added to the correct Retention Policy. Next verify the Retention Policy is assigned to the correct mailbox. You can verify the Retention Policies and Tags in the EAC under Compliance Management > Retention Tags or Retention Policies. To verify a retention policy is assigned to a mailbox navigate to the EAC then click > Recipients > Mailboxes > double-click the mailbox in question > under Mailbox Features check the Retention Policy.
    2. Propagation Time  It’s important to understand that the process that handles Retention Policies is called the Managed Folder Assistant (MFA). The MFA only runs once every 7 days by default so you must allow at least one week for retention actions to occur. NOTE: If you need to expedite the MFA process the following PowerShell command can be used to do this: Start-ManagedFolderAssistant Identity user@domain.com. MFA checks the creation date of mail items to determine if items should be moved or deleted based on the retention policy. The MFA is a resource based process so it’s possible the process will start and stop several times over the course of a few days when processing items that are flagged by the retention policy.
    3. In Place Archive  The In Place Archive in O365 is a common destination for items that are flagged for retention. The default Retention Policy in O365 contains a tag that will archive items over 2 years old if the in place archive is enabled for that particular mailbox. If the In Place Archive is not enabled the retention policy will take no action on items that are over 2 years old.
    4. Retention Tags  There are several types of Retention Tags in O365 and all of them server different purposes. Default tags apply to the entire mailbox, Folder tags apply to specific default folders, and personal tags can be applied to any user created folder. If a personal tag is applied to a folder a default tag will not apply to that same folder.
  2. If the steps above do not resolve an issue with retention policies a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.
  1. Customer domain name
  2. Email address of affected user or users
  3. Extra details to help explain the issue (Screenshots, Desired Setup, Specific Folders)
  4. Date issue started
  5. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

Sharing in Microsoft Teams

  1. Sharing in Microsoft Teams can be tricky and there are many settings that can be adjusted. If issues occurs with Microsoft Teams it’s important to check and understand the settings available in the Teams Admin Center (TAC). The steps below will walk through the process of troubleshooting a Teams sharing issue.
    1. Assigned Policy  Microsoft Teams has several different polices and custom policies can be created as well. If you’re troubleshooting an issue for a specific user you can check the user’s policy in the TAC. To do this log into the O365 portal as an admin then click Admin > click Admin Centers > click Teams and Skype > click the Users tab > check the policies assigned column and see which policy the user has assigned. NOTE: By default, all users should be assigned the Global Policy.
    2. Messaging or Meeting Features  Microsoft Teams provides a lot of control for admins through different settings that be enabled or disabled for each Teams policy. To check a Teams policy’s settings navigate to the TAC then click Meetings > Meeting Policies or Meeting Settings > choose the specific policy applied to the particular user you’re working on > check the features under General, Audio & Video, Content Sharing, and Participants & Guests.
    3. External Sharing  Microsoft Teams provides the ability to share and chat externally but this feature may need to be enabled by an admin. To check the external sharing settings navigate to the TAC > hover over the gear icon then under Org-Wide settings click External Access > here you can choose to allow External Access and communication with Skype users.
  2. If the steps above do not resolve an issue with Microsoft Teams a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.
  1. Customer domain name
  2. Email address of affected user or users
  3. Extra details to help explain the issue (Screenshots, Desired Setup)
  4. Date issue started
  5. Troubleshooting steps already performed

 

SharePoint Permissions

  1. Sharepoint Permissions allow customization on many different levels. You can set permissions on sites, document libraries, folders, and even specific items. While being able to customize permissions allows a lot of flexibility, it can also create chaos and confusion when troubleshooting issues. The steps below will walk through setting or changing permissions on sites and libraries.
    1. Classic Site Permissions  Sharepoint has come a long way in a short time so there are both modern and classic sites available at this time. This video walks through Setting or Changing Permissions in a Classic Sharepoint Site.
    2. Classic Library Permissions  Sharepoint allows setting permissions on both sites and libraries to allow flexibility. It’s important to understand that site permissions and library permissions are set or changed in different places though. This video walks through Setting or Changing Library Permissions in a Classic Sharepoint Site.
    3. Modern Site Permissions  Sharepoint recently added modern team sites to provide additional features and usability for O365 users. Handling permissions in modern sites is slightly different from classic sites though. To set or change permissions in a modern site navigate to the site as a user with admin permissions > click the gear icon in the top-right then click Site Permissions > select Invite People and choose to add to group or site only permissions > type the name or email address in the space provided then choose Read, Edit, or Full Control > click Add.
    4. Modern Library Permissions  With the addition of modern sites the way we set or change library permissions has changed as well. To set or change permissions on a library in a modern site navigate to the library as a user with admin permissions > click the gear icon in the top-right then click Library Settings > click Permissions for This Document Library > click Stop Inheriting Permissions if wish to have custom permissions on this library > click Grant Permissions if you want to add permissions > enter the name or email address of the user you want to share with > click Show Options then choose the permission level you want to grant > click Share.
  2. If the steps above do not resolve an issue with Sharepoint Permissions a support ticket is needed. The items below should be included in the support ticket.
  1. Customer domain name
  2. Email address of affected user or users
  3. Extra details to help explain the issue (Screenshots Including URL, Site or Library URL, Desired Setup, Email Address)
  4. Date issue started
  5. Troubleshooting steps already performed