Office 365 Improvements Include Outlook Troubleshooting Tool

Microsoft described Outlook improvements this week, along with other Office 365 news.

A new Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 is available. It's a troubleshooting tool for Outlook clients that will verify the credentials of end users, check the client's update status and licensing, and determine whether the Exchange Server can be reached by the Outlook client. The Support and Recovery Assistant tool needs to be downloaded and installed on the client machine that's experiencing the problem.

While Microsoft announced this tool today, it's been available as a beta since May of last year. Presumably, it's no longer at the beta stage. Microsoft describes the tool at this page.

The Support and Recovery Assistant will run certain tests and report on any failures. It then "will offer to create a new Outlook profile for you." While it looks like this tool is simple enough to be run by end users, they will need to have administrative privileges on the client machine to install and use it.

Outlook 2016 for Mac Improvements
Microsoft indicated today that it is planning some improvements to the end user experience on its Outlook 2016 Mac clients. These new features will show up around "mid-May" of this year.

The coming features include new sizing handles to help insert images into e-mail messages. Microsoft is also adding enhanced fonts and font-color options, plus numbered and bulleted lists that are "richer." Support for Tables also will be coming.

Sunrise Goes Away in August
In other e-mail client news, the Sunrise Atelier team that's been behind improvements in Microsoft's Outlook clients for mobile devices announced that its Sunrise calendar applications for Android and iOS devices will get pulled from app stores on Aug. 31. The team's development work for the Outlook clients is still continuing, though.

Microsoft bought Sunrise Atelier last year as part of its Outlook refresh efforts. Those efforts also included the acquisition of other mobile app software developers, such as Acompli and 6Wunderkinder. In October, Microsoft made it clear that the Sunrise apps eventually would get discontinued at some point, so their demise wasn't unexpected.

Other Office 365 News
Microsoft offered a roundup of its recent Office 365 news in this blog post today.

On the client side, Microsoft is planning to release a new "safety tips" feature for users of its Exchange Online Protection service. It will advise end users about e-mail safety using a color-coded scheme for "suspicious, unknown, trusted or safe" e-mails. The safety tips feature is expected to arrive "over the coming weeks" to Exchange Online Protection subscribers.

IT pros may appreciate that the Office 365 Import Service has hit general availability status as of last month. This service is for organizations moving mailboxes to Exchange Online. They can upload PST files to Microsoft's servers for small sets of data. For larger jobs, they can mail hard drives containing the PST files to Microsoft. However, Microsoft charges $2 per GB for mailed drives.

Microsoft also announced some PowerShell-based scripts late last month to facilitate Office 365 e-discovery searches. They're designed "to automate time-consuming Content Search tasks," a Microsoft TechNet article explained. However, Microsoft isn't backing the use of these scripts with any warrantees, so it's use at your own risk.

Microsoft also announced some compliance news. The Yammer enterprise social networking service available via Office 365 subscriptions now meets "ISO 27001 and SSAE 16" security and compliance standards. Office 365 achieved Cloud Security Mark accreditation in Japan. Office 365 also now meets Spain's National Security Framework requirements for security controls.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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