Category Archives: Office 365

Installing Office365 ProPlus on a RDS Server (Terminal Server) using Shared Computer Activation

Microsoft have announced the ability to run Office 365 ProPlus on a RDS Server using a new feature called Shared Computer Activation. For more details of this feature, read the blog here –

UPDATE (7/1/2015): Some of your most common questions regarding this topic are answered by the Office Garage Series team here –

  • How do I use shared computer activation and what do I need to download or enable in Office 365?
  • I’m a small business or bought Office 365 directly or via a 3rd party. Can I use shared computer activation if I don’t have Volume Licensing versions of Office?
  • Can I use Office 365 ProPlus with shared computer activation in my standard image? What if some people don’t have Office 365 ProPlus rights on those PCs?
  • Will shared computer activation work with Citrix XenApp, Azure RemoteApp or similar remoting solutions?
  • Can I replace normal, user-based subscription activation completely with shared computer Activation? Are there any disadvantages?

Here is a walkthrough on how to implement this.

  1. Download the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run here –


  2. Run and extract the tool to a folder on your RDS.

  1. Edit and configure the configuration XML file as follows: (please see the comments below regarding copying and pasting this to a Notepad program)


    <Add SourcePath=”\\SERVER\SHARE\” OfficeClientEdition=”32″ >

    <Product ID=”O365ProPlusRetail”>

    <Language ID=”en-us” />



    <Display Level=”None” AcceptEULA=”True” />

    <Property Name=”SharedComputerLicensing” Value=”1″ />


    **NOTE: Edit and configure the \\SERVER\SHARE path


  2. From an elevated Command Prompt, run Setup to download the installation files.

    Setup.exe /download configuration.xml

    ***NOTE: Add location paths as needed

    The Office365 ProPlus installation files will be downloaded to the specified share with the following structure.


  3. From an elevated Command Prompt, run Setup to install Office Click-to-Run.

    Setup.exe /configure configuration.xml

    When the installation is complete, the Office 2013 suite will be available for use.


  4. On starting the application, you will be prompted to Activate Office. Click Next and Sign in.


  5. Once signed in, you are ready to go. Office will automatically activate and configure the applications.


For more information, head on to the following 2 MS Technet articles.



You can now install Office 365 on Remote Desktop Services Servers (Terminal Servers) using Shared Computer Activation

When attempting to run Office 2013 Professional Plus, installed from your Office 365 subscription (P2, M, E3+), the following error message occurs.

Finally, there is some good news! Microsoft have announced that as of 1 September 2014, all Office SKUs – Office ProPlus, Project Pro, Visio Pro, can now be used on a shared device or virtual machine. This enables users on Remote Desktop Computers – ie Terminal Servers, to run an activated copy of Office without the requirements of purchasing an additional Volume License or Open License.

Kudos to Microsoft for finally making this feature available! For more information on this feature, see the official Microsoft blog post here –

I will post a blog shortly to run through the installation process with screenshots.

Cannot access the Mail control panel applet after Office 365 installation

When installing Office 365 Professional Plus on a PC, the wizard automatically connects the email accounts to Office 365 easily. However, if you want to add an additional Microsoft Exchange on-premises account, there may be an issue where the Mail applet in the control panel does not work.

This appears to be cause by incorrect registry settings. Uninstalling Office 2013 and Re installing it appears to solve the problem in most cases. Settings appear to be retained and do not need to be reconfigured.

Increase the maximum PST file size for Outlook

I have been working through a bunch of Microsoft Exchange migrations recently. One of the issues that we have seen has to do with the size of the exported PST file. By default, the maximum size of PST files has been limited to 20GB for Outlook 2003 and 2007, and 50GB for Outlook 2010 and 2013.

This limit can be increased or decreased via two registry settings.

  • WarnLargeFileSize – This value sets warning threshold in MB for the maximum size of a PST file. The maximum is 4090445042 (That is about 4PB!)
  • MaxLargeFileSize – This value determines the maximum size in MB that can be written to a PST file. This should be set to about 5% higher than the warning size above. This maximum is 4294967295.

Here are some common values that could be used:

  •  30GB maximum (29GB warning) = 30720 (29696)
  • 75GB (73GB) = 76800 (74752)
  • 100GB (95GB) = 102400 (97280)
  • 150GB (145GB) = 153600 (148480)
  • 200GB (190GB) = 204800 (194560)
  • 500GB (480GB) = 512000 (460800)
  • Are you sure you want such a large PST file after this?

The registry settings are found or created here, depending on the Outlook version.

  • Outlook 2003 HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\PST
  • Outlook 2007 HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\PST
  • Outlook 2010 HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\PST
  • Outlook 2013 HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\PST

How to connect your Office365 subscription on your iPhone or iPad

Microsoft recently announced some great news for Apple users. OneNote for IOS is now freely available. Additionally, Excel, Word and PowerPoint are now available for the iPhone and iPad. The apps are free to download and can be used to view documents stored on the device or on your OneDrive account.

If you have a valid Office 365 subscription, you can log in to your account and use these apps to edit and create documents as well. First, you need to install apps which are available from the Apple App Store.

The initial splash screen shows you a few quick features.


Press continue to activate the app.

There is some confusion at this stage. I think there should be a log in option at this point to allow you to log in to your Office 365 account. However, there are only to choices – Buy Office 365 Home or View for Free.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. I you click on Buy Office 365 Home, you will be prompted to log in to the iTunes Store. If your Office 365 subscription does not match your iTunes account email, you will get an error, “This Apple ID doesn’t have a paid Office 365 subscription.”


The solution is to choose the View for Free option. At the main screen, click the Activate icon at the bottom left and you will be prompted with two choices – Activate by Signing In or Buy Office 365 Home. Microsoft, this Activate option should have been on the front screen!


Once you have signed in, you will be able to edit and create documents using the Office 365 apps.




Migrating Email from SBS Exchange to Office 365

In the past few months, I have been working with some clients on moving their existing Small Business Server (SBS) systems over to the Microsoft cloud based Office 365 email system. There are a number of issues and possible gotchas in making this transition which will be discussed here. Note that this blog post is targeted to the small business community with existing SBS 2003, SBS 2008 or SBS 2011 deployments that are looking to move their email services to Office 365, while maintaining their existing network. We will not be considering Office365 migration method in this move as the costs and complexity of implementing this in a small business are prohibitive.

The pre-requisite when performing such a migration, is to plan and work out a migration path for email services. Questions to be considered are:

  1. Do we need to migrate all the old email data, or should some be archived?
  2. Are there old accounts that can be decommissioned?
  3. What distribution groups and contacts need to be migrated across?
  4. Are there any Send As and Send on Behalf of permissions that need to be addressed?
  5. Are there individual permissions on Calendars and Folders that need to be recreated?
  6. How will we move the old email data from Exchange on premises to Office 365?

Moving Email data from On-premises Exchange to Office 365

Central to the entire issue is retaining old emails and settings. There are a number of ways to move the data across to Office365.

  • Export-Import. This method involves exporting the current emails to PST and re-importing them into Office 365 once Outlook has been configured.
  • is a fast and easy way to move mailboxes at a low cost.
  • Office365 Migration wizard. This is a built in tool from Microsoft to help in performing a migration from on-premises Exchange. It requires an Azure subscription and the installation of the Directory Sync tool and has some tough pre-requisites for SMBs. The process is detailed on technet here –

One main drawback from using any method that does not synchronize the Office 365 platform to your existing Active Directory is dealing with the issue of Auto-Complete or Suggested Contacts. After the migration, it is quite likely that replies on old emails or emails sent using the stored contact information in Auto-Complete or Suggested Contacts will result in a Undeliverable error as follows:

#550 5.1.1 RESOLVER.ADR.ExRecipNotFound; not found ##

Create Users and Set up Domain in Office 365

In this step, you need to set up and recreate all the users, distribution groups, and domains to match what you have on-premises. In the public DNS, set the MX records to point to your on-premises Exchange until you are ready to receive emails at the Office 365 service. Ensure that the Autodiscover and other DNS services are set up properly.

Setting up the Outlook Profile

One of the main issues with setting up Outlook for Office 365 on an existing SBS domain is the existing autodiscover configuration set up for each user account. The following steps should be followed to ensure a simple, incident free set up of Outlook on Office 365.

  1. Log in to the PC as the user. The configuration is done per user.
  2. Update your PC with a the latest patches, especially Microsoft Office patches and Service Packs.
  3. Log in to the Office 365 portal using the users email address and assigned password.
  4. Install software and connect it to Office 365

  5. You will need to sign in to Office 365 again using the user’s credentials.

  6. The Office 365 setup application will note that manual steps will be required (which involves setting up the Outlook profile as detailed here).

  7. For Office 2007, the registry key is [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover]

    For Office 2010, the registry key is [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover]

    The six entries are all DWORD. (NOTE: all but one entry are set to 1)







    They should be displayed among other entries like this.

  8. Download and run the two AgileIT tools from Just enter the domain name and click OK.

  9. Now you can Add a new Outlook Profile from Control Panel-Mail (32-bit). You will see the existing Outlook Profile there, which can be kept as a backup, as you may need it later for export to PST purposes.

  10. The local autodiscover settings that have been configured earlier will kick in and set up the account. You will need to log in using the Office 365 credentials.

You can also add the on-premises Exchange profile to this new profile, if you are planning to export the old email data or manually transfer information over to the office 365 account.

With smaller sites, this is a quick and easy way to manage your Office 365 migration. With larger installations, the Office 365 migration wizard using Azure and Directory Sync may be a more efficient method. In the end, it is up to the business owner, with advice from the IT consultant, to work out which method is preferred.

UPDATE: There is a really good article on how to use Azure Active Directory to handle password sync between your local AD and the new Office 365 AD –

Office 365 Service Updates

Technology Partners selling Office 365 to clients should be monitoring this wiki every month to see what latest upgrades are being done on the platform. This is the definitive source for the latest information. Thanks to Robert Crane for the heads up!


Some useful PowerShell Commands for working with Office 365

I had to diagnose some issue that a client was having with Office 365 Exchange. A lot of features are found “under the hood” and are accessible using PowerShell. Here are some common basic comamnds that will help in connecting to your Exchange Online account. Thanks to Robert Crane, Office 365 MVP, for his helpful blog ( in getting me started.

EDIT: There are new files to be downloaded in order to get the Powershell modules (

1. Install the Azure Active Directory Modules.

2. Set up your credentials to login to Microsoft Online. $cred=get-credential

3. Connect to the Microsoft Online Service. connect-msolservice –credential $cred

4. You can now use PowerShell command to view and manage your Office 365 account.

  1. Check expiry status of all users. get-msoluser –all | format-table userprincipalname, passwordneverexpires
  2. Display a list of all contacts. Get-Contact
  3. Here is a useful command reference –  [EDIT: Now relocated here –]

5. If you need to work with Exchange Online, you can open a session by running the following two commands.

  • $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $Cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
  • Import-PSSession $Session

After this, you can manage your Exchange service with more advanced commands. For example, I had to cancel forwarding on a user account (which I could not see using the Web App or in Outlook) using the following command – Set-Mailbox -Identity <> -DeliverToMailboxAndForward $false -ForwardingSMTPAddress $null

I was also able to check the Out of Office settings using this command –

Get-Mailbox <> | Get-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration

Fixing the WINMAIL.DAT attachment problem in Office365

I had not seen this issue for a long time. However, I received an email from a client recently telling me that his recipients using Apple Macs could not open his attachments, as they were received as WINMAIL.DAT files.

This is due to Office365 setting the default attachment format to TNEF. This format causes issues with mail clients that are unable to read this attachment format, thus creating the WINMAIL.DAT issue.

The solution is to use PowerShell to make changes to the Office365 account. Refer to my previous post here on how to set up PowerShell for Office365.

  1. $Cred = Get-Credential
  2. Connect-msolservice -credential $Cred
  3. Type in your Office365 admin user credentials
  4. $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $Cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
  5. Import-PSSession $Session
  6. Set-RemoteDomain Default -TNEFEnabled $false
  7. Remove-PSSession $Session

That should do the trick. The Microsoft help article documenting this can be found here –

[Edit 11 May 2015: Changed commands for connecting to Office365]