Using a new generic domain name (gTLD) with Office 365

Its been very interesting to me seeing all the changes that are occurring in the domain space, especially with all hundreds of generic top level domains that will be flooding the market this year. I’ve been experimenting with a new gTLD domain name and seeing if its possible to setup in Office 365. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be very good support for the new gTLD domain names currently. I’ve been running into several brick walls. The very first thing you will notice is that you can not add a generic domain name, the field verification requires it to be a domain that ends with .com or similar extension.

Office 365 Small Business Add gTLD domain - Type a domain name that includes .com or a similar extension

Fortunately there is a fairly easy workaround for this issue. Yup, you guessed it. Powershell!! This article gives step by step instructions on how to add a domain to your office 365 account via powershell. Here are the concise steps if you are already used to using Office 365 & Powershell.

  1. Connect to your Office 365 account using the command “connect-msolservice”. (without quotation marks)
  2. Use the “New-MsolDomain” cmdlet to add your domain. Just like this “New-MsolDomain -name example.technology”
    Office 365 add gTLD domain via powershell

Bingo! It works.

Office 365 Add Domain via Powershell Generic Top Level DomainI was even able to verify the domain

Verify gTLD domain in Office 365 Small BusinessThe problem is I’m now stuck on Step 2. Which is the step where you need to “Setup Office 365 and keep your website where it’s hosted today”. It gives an error message that “Sorry, we couldn’t save that. Please try again.”

Grrr.. So I’m still stuck. If anyone has any tips, feel free to comment. Otherwise I’ll update this post once I figure out to continue.

Update 3/3/2014: I’ve discovered that at this point it is not possible to use a generic top level domain with Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Small Business Premium. I upgraded my account to Office 365 Mid Sized Business, and I was able to add, verify, & activate the domain name following the steps above. So in short, if you want to use a new cool domain name, make sure you are using Office 365 Mid Sized Business plan or any of the Enterprise plans.

 

 

 

After Windows Update, Outlook 2013 Folder List Pane is Empty

outlook 2013 folder list empty - windows updateYesterday Microsoft released a few updates for Windows & Office. One of the updates, KB2817630, appears to break Outlook 2013. The screenshot to the right is what happened to one of our customers after the update was automatically installed. Absolutely no folders appear in the folder pane.

At this point it appears the fix is to install this hotfix available from Microsoft.  Update: Hotfix has been pulled for some reason.

 

Update: Microsoft has published a Technet article detailing this problem with some resolutions.

Update: Microsoft has now published an Outlook 2013 Update to fix this.

Configure Office 365 Passwords to never expire

Office 365 LogoOne of the biggest complains we get from customers that are using Microsoft Office 365 is the mandatory password expiration. Microsoft has a KnowledgeBase article that explains with a few simple powershell commands how to disable this and set the passwords to never expire.

  1. Connect to the Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell by using your company administrator credentials. For more help on this step, see this article on Technet. Note: This also used to be called Microsoft Online Services Module for Windows Powershell.
  2. Connect to your Office 365 service using the following cmdlet. Enter the Administrator username and password for the Office 365 service.
    connect-msolservice
  3. Run the following cmdlet to change all the user accounts passwords to never expire.
    Get-MSOLUser | Set-MsolUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true

This has worked very well for us and makes the customers very happy as the password expiration can be a hassle especially for small businesses.