Microsoft Office

Workaround to “the server is temporarily unavailable” when signing into Lync 2013

The estimated reading time for this post is 2 minutes

Since our Office 365 tenant was upgraded we’ve been experiencing difficulties with our users signing into Lync 2013. When these users tried to sign in, the Lync 2013 client returned an error saying it could not communicate with the server. The users received the following error.

“The server is temporarily unavailable.”

The server is temporarily unavailable
The server is temporarily unavailable

Background

Firstly our IT guy raised this issue with Office 365  through a support ticket some months ago when we started experiencing this issue. There was some back and forth communication however no solution was ever found. As far as I know the issue is still open.

A few months passed and I was getting more and more frustrated that I wasn’t able to communicate with my team using Lync so I decided to spend sometime and see if I could find a solution myself.

Here is some other background information about our configuration…

  • Domain joined machines using Office 2010 were ok
  • Mobile clients were fine
  • All user are part of an Windows 2008 R2 Active Directory domain that is not connected to Office 365 through ADFS or DirSync
  • User accounts experiencing the issue have spaces in their account name (Joe Bloggs)
  • The Office 365 DNS records are setup correctly – even broke out fiddler and checked the my Lync client was reaching it’s end-points correctly which they were
  • Our internal domain is using an unresolvable .local address

After reading countless forum posts I noticed many others were reporting similar issues and the issue seemed quite widespread.

So after some research I read that Microsoft were aware of the bug and did not expect it to be resolved until September time. Others were saying that it worked with users who’s machines where not joined to an Active Directory domain. This lead me to think about try using a local account and there it is folks – my solution!

This is a less of a solution but more of a work around whilst Microsoft fix this issue once and for all!

  1. Kill the “lync.exe” process (use Task Manager to end the process)
  2. Create a new local user account on the computer (lusrmgr.msc)
  3. Add this account to the Administrators security group
  4. Navigate to the Program Files directory for Lync 2013 (C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\)
  5. Whilst holding the SHIFT key down, right click on the “lync.exe” application and select “Run as different user”
  6. Enter the username and password of the account that was just created
  7. Lync 2013 should open and launch the “New user configuration” window
  8. Sign in to Lync 2013 with your Office 365 username and password
  9. The Lync 2013 client should now happily work

I should highlight that some features such as creating a Lync meeting through Outlook might not work due to the processes running as different user accounts. Try it out for yourself and see.

Fingers crossed Microsoft fix this issue pretty soon!

Published by

James Callaghan

Father, blogger, consultant, SharePoint, Azure, Office 365 and PowerShell specialist, troubleshooter, geek, home brewer and would be amateur chef.

3 thoughts on “Workaround to “the server is temporarily unavailable” when signing into Lync 2013”

  1. We managed to fix this changing the regkey:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync\
    DisableNTCredentials
    set dword value to 1

    If it doesn’t exist, create it.

    1. Great tip Jo! It’s been a while since publishing this article and I know both Office 365 and Skype for Business (formally Lync) have moved on technically in a big way so can’t verify this approach but thanks for sharing it.

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