Viewing external users on Sharepoint Online / Office 365

Microsoft change the interface so often that it is difficult to keep documentation up to date sometimes.

A common query that we get is how to view the external users in the admin portal/interface rather than having to resort to powershell.

The answer as of Jan 2017 is quite straight forward.
1. Go to the Sharepoint site you want to administer.
2. Click on the cog in the top right and choose Site Settings:

3. Choose Access Requests and invitations:

You’ll be able to view the external users that have pending requests with the access they’ve requested.

Also you can see under History, the users that have accepted or declined invitations.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact Office 365 Setup

Our first experience of Sony’s new handset has been mixed.
The phone looks great but setting it up for business is less straight forward.

Ordinarily, to setup an android handset with Office 365 Exchange Online, you would simply choose new account and tell it Microsoft Exchange as the account type. Pop in your email address and password and away you go.
At least that is the case for many HTC/Samsung phones and even Apple handsets.
But if you dare to want your contacts and calendars syncing with a Sony Xperia then you have to set it up manually.

We spoke to both Sony and EE to confirm and both were clueless. The first call to Sony said we had to set up a Google Mail account and sync with that first. EE didn’t know how to do it and put us through to Sony again who said that it was the providers fault. That is right Sony said it was Microsoft’s problem.

Anyway, enough of the background. Here are the steps to achieve what they said couldn’t be done:

1. Go to settings
2. Go to Accounts
3. Go to Add Account
4. Exchange Active Sync
5. Enter your email address choose next
6. Enter password BUT hit the Manual Setup option
7. In the domain\username box put in your email address again.
8. In the server box put
9. Click Next then it confirm the details and Finish
10. The initial sync will possibly error requiring a security policy
11. Swipe down to get to the security request, tap it and accept it.


Microsoft Security Essentials on XP is ending.

With regards to the Microsoft Security essentials, it will continue to function but will not get updated.
Two options are:
Upgrade the PC to Win 7.
Install AVG Free from this link:

Choose Basic Protection and then CUSTOM install, remove all the ticks from the additional components.
It will need a reboot at the end.

Then you can remove MSE.

Sharepoint Online on the Mac

Our office is predominantly PC based, but we do have added a Mac mini recently in order better support our customers.
What has become apparent very quickly is that the integration between OS X and Microsoft is not quite there especially when it comes to Office 365.
We are Microsoft Cloud partners which means we have internal use rights to Office 365 E3 which is the full gamut of products. It is essential we use it ourselves fully so that we can demonstrate to our customers and be confident supporting it.

The goal of good software is to provide a great user experience in my opinion. On the Mac I would want to be able to open files directly from Sharepoint in Finder.
Office 2011 for the Mac comes as part of the E3 plan and included within that is Office Document Connection. This doesn’t provide the functionality I want.
The Internet tells me I should be able to connect using WebDAV however this is broken in Mavericks.

Parallels is a program that allows you to run Windows as a virtual operating system which integrates with OS X.
So basically the process is:
1. Install Parallels (~£70)
2. Install Windows (~£90)
3. Update Windows to latest service pack and updates
4. Install Office 2013 from E3
5. Install Office updates
6. Install Microsoft hotfix (KB2846960)to make sure you can map a windows drive letter to Sharepoint
7. Add Word 2013 and Excel 2013 to the mac launcher
8. Use Word and Excel as you would normally and it accessing the windows drive letters
9. IF your sharepoint library is less than 5000 files (ours is not) then Skydrive Pro should also work from within Windows and OS X.

This may seem like a hassle but in fact it gives you access to Word and Excel 2013 and direct access to the sharepoint drive.

Compulsory reading for employees!

When we get a phone call from a customer that has clicked on an email containing a link to a virus, how can we stop this happening again? The actual answer is simple, user education. So here is a guide that should be compulsory reading for everyone, it will take a minute to read through and yet save on downtime and increase productivity.

Firstly, the why:
There are criminal enterprises out on the Internet that want to make money. They do this by infecting as many PCs as possible then using them surreptitiously to send spam.
They stay one step ahead of the anti-spam and anti-virus companies meaning that it often doesn’t matter if you are up to date, they can still get through.  They get through because they rely on fooling users into clicking on links in email and visiting websites that are infected with viruses. This all causes your PC to misbehave and run slowly.

The consequence – it can take 30 minutes to several hours to clean up an infected PC. Sometimes the whole computer has to be reloaded if it is badly infected.

The education bit: Emails – the truth

Courier companies and Royal Mail / Parcel Force will NOT send you email.
HMRC will not email you with a tax rebate.
NO company will email you saying your account is suspended.

If you receive an email that looks like it is one of them – DELETE IT.

Think – if you place an order with Screwfix then expect to get an email confirming that order and probably another one saying it has been dispatched. If you didn’t place an order with Screwfix and yet you receive an email from them with a link to click then it is probably bad.

If in doubt you have numerous options:

  1. Call a professional (like us)
  2. Go on to the companies website directly rather than clicking on any links in an email.
  3. Call up the company that the email is pertaining to. e.g. your bank. to find out if the email is genuine.

Finally, if one of your friends gets infected then it is likely that the bad software will email everyone in their address book with a link containing more bad software. So if you receive an email from a friend with just a funny looking link in it, call your friend to be safe.

CAUTION is your friend.

Spyware continuing to cause problems….

Over the years we have seen a steady trend of clients computers getting infected with malicious software. Up until recently we knew that it would take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to safely clean up an infected machine. However, there is now a new  malware out there called ZeroAccess which is so nasty that we’ve resorted to wiping computers. It has highlighted just how much important data that users store on their computers rather than on a central server where it gets backed up.

Ebay collections

From time to time we buy and sell items on ebay. Sometimes the seller doesn’t want to organise the shipping themselves and so we came across a site called Shiply.

It is a site that allows you to post up your delivery job for couriers and one man and van types to bid to do the work.

On the jobs we were posting we would get 4-5 quotes from companies and we could specify further instructions like collecting at weekends etc. Where the jobs were further afield we had to wait a bit longer to fit within the schedule of the courier but for the cost it was worth it. You can also get quotes on the delivery before the ebay auction has finished so you kno whether it is worth bidding or not.

Link here: Shiply

Deep Freeze

If you run a business and your staff keep accidentally getting their computers infected then we’ve found some software for you. This would also be suitable if you have a PC in a public area.

Basically you start with a clean PC and apply the deep freeze software which stops changes from being made to the computer permanently. If something goes wrong you just reboot the PC and the original state comes back.