The Mysteries of Microsoft 365 - Common Glitches and Fixes

The Mysteries of Microsoft 365 - Common Glitches and Fixes

If you're like a lot of organizations, you've found that embracing Microsoft 365 and it's many tools can be a huge productivity booster. However, even fine-tuned setups can still give users trouble now and then.

In this guide, we'll take a look at some common Microsoft 365 issues and share the fixes to ensure your workflow remains uninterrupted. Whether you're a fledgling user or a seasoned pro, read on to arm yourself with troubleshooting know-how.

Authentication Annoyances

Depending on how your 365 account is integrated with your computing environment (the computer at your desk, any local servers, various apps, etc.) logging in sometimes isn't as straightforward as you might expect. Perhaps it's something as simple as a misspelled or expired password, but it could be something more complex like how your credentials are formatted in certain situations, or how they sync across different sites/devices

  • Double-check your credentials. You might be used to popping in your usual "john@..." email address in on a lot of sites while certain systems require the more formal "jsmith@..."
  • If you have multi-factor authentication enabled, make sure you're acknowledging the follow-up prompts all the way through. A common one is giving the OK to the popup on your phone, but putting it down before the phone finishes unlocking to confirm it's you.

Email Errors In Outlook and OWA

When you encounter issues with sending or receiving emails in, it can really throw off your communication flow. You might be seeing messages just fine in the browser, while Outlook or your phone mail client are lagging behind. Or messages might vanish, declaring their independence from the laws of digital delivery with no error notification in sight.

  • Review your Outbox for lingering messages, make sure they're not holding up the line because they're too large.
  • If you're not seeing something you've been expecting, verify that you haven't accidentally blocked the sender or created a mail rule that inadvertently filed the message away somewhere before you got a chance to see it.
  • If using a shared mailbox, confirm you have the necessary permissions and that the mailbox hasn't exceeded its size limit.
  • If you've recently setup Outlook on your computer or phone, give it time to finish syncing all your existing data before getting too worried about certain messages - it's probably stuck in line waiting for its turn to show up

Stuttering Synchronizations with OneDrive

Tools like OneDrive have improved how we share and sync files, but it isn't immune to sync failures and file formatting faux pas. Your documents failing to synchronize can lead to versions getting out of whack and lost time cleaning up the fallout if if not remedied promptly.

  • You probably don't need to sync everything, grabbing too many files at once can cause the agent to get choked up and and stop passing updates along to colleagues
  • Keep naming conventions simple and try to avoid burying documents under layers and layers of folders, there is a limit to file names which may be fine if you're working in the browser version, but will upset File Explorer
  • If you're having network issues try to resolve that first or else your computer may start creating copies with the computer name or timestamp on the end to help differentiate, which will cause confusion later when suddenly there are multiple copies and nobody is sure which is the most up-to-date.

Oops! Accidental Deletions and You

If a user thought they didn't need something anymore and deleted it, only to realize later that they desperately need it back, you do have options.

  • First things first, check your recycle bin within OneDrive, if you're in the browser it's right on the left-hand side. If it just happened then it's likely the file is simply waiting to be rescued.
  • If the file was shared, you might need to contact the person who originally owned the file to have them share it back out to your or check their Recycle Bin
  • Make sure you are backing up your Office 365 data! Microsoft enables users to rollback a few versions if needed, but there is NOT a point-in-time backup included, you must put that in place yourself. Rollbacks can also be overwritten rapid-fire in a security incident, effectively destroying your data.

365 Apps not App-ing

Staying connected to your 365 environment is quite simple thanks to the apps for both iOS and Android, but issues can be particularly irksome because they often involve devices beyond ITs purview, like personal smartphones and tablets.

  • Ensure you’re using the latest version of the 365 apps, as updates often carry bug fixes related to syncing issues.
  • If possible, check your issue on a different network to see if it can be isolated to cell data or a bad wireless network.
  • Since data isn't actually on your device, it's not too difficult to remove and reinstall an offending app to clear any possible issues without worrying about lost work.

Digging Deeper

For the tuned-in Office 365 user, encountering a varied range of glitches and inconveniences is almost an inevitability. Customized dictionaries in Word mysteriously resetting, Planner tasks that refuse to budge from the 'Incomplete' column, or SharePoint permissions that seem to have a mind of their own—the list can get long.

Don't be afraid to check out Microsoft's training materials and online communities to gain insights and find ways to improve your own processes. By staying informed and proactive, and communicating with IT resources, you can become a Microsoft 365 expert all on your own!

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