Master & Cmd-R

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Microsoft recently announced some sexy improvements to SharePoint Online, and I thought I’d recap the main points and shout it out from the mountaintops – hey, I’m excited about it!

  • Improved file upload experience: increased file upload limit from 250MB to 2 GB and expanded support for a broader range of file types.

    This is pretty sweet, as users will now be able to upload larger files (such as CAD drawings and video files). Users can upload the files through drag and drop, standard file upload, or just use SkyDrive Pro. 
    This comes on the heels of a recent announcement increasing the default storage provisioned per user in SkyDrive Pro (from 7GB to 25GB)

  • Increased Site collection and list lookup limits: increased site collection limit from 3,000 to 10,000 and list lookup threshold to 12 lookups.

    Note that this only applies to Enterprise plans – Small & Midsize business still only have 1 & 20 site collections respectively. It’s a bit scary to think of a single tenancy having that many site collections, but it’s just goes to show how scalable Office 365 really is!

  • Improved self-restoration: increasing recycle bin retention duration and turning versioning on by default for new SkyDrive Pro libraries.

    You now have 90 days to recover items deleted from your SharePoint libraries, AND your SkyDrive Pro library. That, and turning on versioning by default in SkyDrive Pro? Office 365 is the gift that keeps on giving!

Users unable to change passwords

One gotcha to be aware of when changing password polices in Office 365 is this – once you change the password policy so that passwords never expire, your users will be unable to change their passwords in the Self Service options. The error that they’ll see doesn’t really tell you much:

The tricky thing about this is that the Office 365 Admin Center doesn’t show you when the password policy is set to never expire – here’s an example of a tenancy where passwords are set to never expire:

You’ll notice that it still shows 730 days (2 years is the maximum time frame you can enter into that field) in the password expiry field – this is because the password expiration policy is set globally, but through PowerShell it’s set on a per user basis. You’ll need to dive into PowerShell to find the truth of the matter.

To verify that password expiry is set to never expire, run the following command:

Get-MSOLUser | Select UserPrincipalName, PasswordNeverExpires

This shows that some users have been set to never expire, while any user created after that will (by default) inherit the global password expiry policy.

To set the password expiry policy to never expire for an individual user, run the following command:

Set-MsolUser -UserPrincipalName -PasswordNeverExpires $true

If you want to change the policy for all users then run the following:

Get-MsolUser | Set-MsolUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true

Just make sure you let your users know that they’ll need to have their password reset by an administrator if they forget it, and you’re good to go.

Edit PDF content in Word

File this under a new feature I didn’t know existed… you can now edit PDFs in Word 2013!

The converted document might not look exactly the same (formatting might be off by a little bit, or a lot) depending on how much image elements are in the document, and it obviously works a great deal better with documents that are mostly text. However, I opened a document that had been a Word document saved as a PDF, and it was completely perfect, so your mileage may vary.

Once you’re done editing your document, you can use Word to export it back to PDF, by simply clicking on File, Export, then Create PDF/XPS, like so:

Don’t have the latest version of Word? Office 365 has several options that include the latest version of Office, and it will always be current and up to date, which means that you get new features like this one when they come available!

British Airways takes to the cloud with Office 365

Saw this post today… Wow!

“Office 365 will allow employees to collaborate and achieve their work tasks regardless of the platform, product or device,” IAG chief information officer Nigel Underwood said in a statement. He added that creating a common IT platform for airlines across the group “will be more efficient and reduce our costs”. IAG said the Microsoft deal will allow the organisation to consolidate systems. “Office 365 and Yammer will enable us to switch off legacy email and related systems, including about 1,000 bespoke applications,” an IAG spokeswoman said.”

58,000 new users using Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Yammer… allowing users to be more productive, and efficient while reducing costs at the same time? This statement holds true regardless of whether you are a small business owner, a sole proprietor, or a mega airline with 58,000 employees.

The one where I break Word

I was editing a template today and trying to get some Quick Parts in Word 2013 to automatically update and populate data from the document properties – this ensures that certain fields would automatically be filled in when creating a new document based on this template, which works really well for fields that need to be filled in like Author, Date, Client name, and so forth.

At any rate, I was messing around trying to get these fields to update from the document properties on a SharePoint library without having to close and re-open the document, and all of a sudden, my document fields were replaced with curly braces and a bunch of weird code… like this:

I restored a previous version of the document, I rebooted, I even did a repair of Office but nothing would fix it… I broke Word! Thankfully, all was not lost – if you’re reading this and you’re in the same spot as me – here’s the answer:

Hit Alt-F9!

Turns out there is a key combination that shows the code view in a Word document, and I found it… boy, did I find it! Just press Alt-F9 again, and all is right with the world once more.

That will teach me to try random key combinations to see if I can auto refresh a quick part field!

It’s over 10,000!

As an up and coming blogger, this stat right here makes me incredibly happy:


While I can in no way compare to the heavy hitters that are my colleagues, this is a personal achievement for me – it’s exciting and humbling to know that there are people out there who read what I have to say, and sometimes even leave a comment 😉

I’m looking forward to hitting the next milestone – here’s looking at you, kid!

Set SkyDrive Pro storage limits

A new feature that’s recently popped up in the SharePoint admin center allows you to manage storage limits for individual user’s Personal Site, now called SkyDrive Pro. SkyDrive Pro is an awesome utility that gives you greater storage and sharing capabilities, while allowing you to sync a SharePoint library on your computer. Like it’s free cousin (just called SkyDrive), SkyDrive Pro installs a utility in your taskbar, and continually keeps your files synchronized with their online versions.

So What?
Small and Midsize Business plans each allow for an allocation of 25GB of storage per user, as soon as they are provisioned. This amount is counted separately, and does not add to or subtract the overall storage allocation for a tenant.

However, Enterprise plans (E1-E3) allow you to allocate up to a whopping 100GB per user!
One thing to note is that while the first 25GBs are free (per user), you’ll have to take the remaining Gigabytes out of your shared storage quota. You can find more information on how this works here.

Now What?
Head over to your SharePoint admin center, and you’ll find a new link for SkyDrive Pro, like so:

Type in the name or email address of the user whose quota you want to adjust, and select their name from the people picker:

You’ll be able to see what the user’s current usage is, and then change their storage limit up from 25GB to either 50GB or 100GB. At this point, there are no custom options, just those 3.

Click Save to apply your changes, and you’re done!

You will also see a storage allocation meter on this page, and it will go up and down as you assign (or limit) storage for your users:

But wait, there’s more!
If you find yourself running out of space, you can always purchase more at the low cost of $.25 per Gigabyte, per month. This allows you to easily expand your storage needs as you require them, and then trim them back when you no longer need the space as simple as the click of a button… well done, Microsoft!

Finding inactive users in Office 365

When you log into your Office 365 admin portal, you’ll find a section called inactive email users under the service overview. This is all well and good, except that Microsoft doesn’t give you an option of finding out who these people are… so even though you have this awesome chart (below) you have no idea who the inactive users are – very frustrating!


Even clicking on View Table only gives you the same information, just in a different format:


Alan Byrne, from the Microsoft Script Center, has written an awesome script that you can use to figure out just who it is that hasn’t logged in for a month or two – it’s very handy for figuring out if you are paying for licenses that you aren’t using any more.

Download the script and execute it in PowerShell using the following command:

.Get-LastLogonStats.ps1 -Office365Username -Office365Password Password123 -InputFile c:FilesInputFile.txt

Of the three parameters, 2 are mandatory: -Office365Username and -Office365Password. The third parameter (-InputFile) allows you to specify the UserPrincipalNames of the people whom you would like to check – it will only return results for those users. A great thing about this script is that it will also show you users who have never logged on, not just the last logon date for users who have logged on.

Once you run the script, the csv file will be saved in the same folder you run the script from, and the results will look like this:


Once you have this list, you can decide if you want to delete any users – note that if you remove a license from a user, their data gets deleted immediately:

Caution:    When you remove the license from a user, any data associated with that user is deleted and cannot be recovered, except for documents saved on the Team Site. For example, that user’s mailbox and all messages contained in it are deleted.

Thankfully, you do get a warning first, but make sure you’re ready for the consequences before you remove anyone’s license!


Ah, PowerShell… how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! 😀

What happens when I cancel?

When you cancel your Office 365 tenancy, there are two important dates you need to know about (listed below):


Once you cancel your accounts and your tenancy, all of your accounts will remain active until the end of your billing cycle, which is the first of the two dates in the screenshot below.

Data deletion:

After your accounts expire, your data gets held for 6 months before it finally gets deleted.


It’s important to note that if you are hoping to export all your data out of Exchange Online or SharePoint, you’ll need to do it while your subscription is still active. Once your subscription is cancelled, you won’t be able to log in as those users to export their data, and at this point, Microsoft doesn’t provide any tools or utilities for getting your data out. There are third party migration utilities out there, but the tried and true methods of exporting mailboxes to .pst files require active accounts.


Recover multiple (thousands) of items in OWA 2007

When a user deletes emails in their Outlook or Web client, these items typically go into their Deleted Items folder – however, if the user hard deletes (Shift-Delete) these items, or empties their trash, these emails can still be recovered out of the Dumpster. The Dumpster is basically a retention setting in Exchange that keeps deleted emails for a certain number of days.

This folder is usually accessed by going into the user’s webmail, clicking on Options, and then clicking on Deleted Items. You can select the items you need to recover, and then click on the Recover to Deleted Items Folder.

Now, this is fall fine and dandy, but what do you do when you need to recover thousands of emails that a user has deleted (usually hastily covering their tracks as they are escorted out of the building by burly security guards)? You are only able to select 50 items at a time in the Recover Deleted Items window – are you going to sit there and select items 1 page at a time for the rest of your life? Not you!

The easiest way to recover thousands of emails out of the Dumpster is to use the Recover Deleted Items option in Outlook – however, this option is not (usually) turned on by default. Here’s how you turn this little magical option on:

    • On the client computer used to perform the deleted items recovery operation, click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    • Locate, and then click the following registry subkey:

(If you’re on a 64 bit OS, the path is under the Wow6432Node key:

      • You might need to add the Options subkey – I didn’t have it on my machine
      • On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
      • Type DumpsterAlwaysOn, and then press ENTER.
      • Double-click DumpsterAlwaysOn.
      • Type 1 in the Value data area, click Decimal in the Base area, and then click OK.
      • Close Registry Editor.
      • Restart Outlook.

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Note that depending on what version of Windows and Outlook you are using, this key might be in one of the following locations:

    • 32-bit Outlook on a 32-bit version of Windows:


    • 32-bit Outlook on a 64-bit version of Windows:


    • 64-bit Outlook on a 64-bit version of Windows:


      Now close and re-open Outlook – click on Folder then Recover Deleted Items:

      You should now see all your deleted items showing up (Dumpster for the win!)

      Click the little folder tree icon (Select All):

      Then click the envelope icon (Recover Selected Items):

      Sit back and watch the magic:

      You can now log back into OWA and verify that your dumpster is now empty, and all those files will be sitting in your Deleted Items folder:

      Who’s your daddy now?

      You are DumpsterAlwaysOn… you are!