On-premises lives on, SharePoint 2016 & bye Outlook attachments

In this post, I share information about On-Premises SharePoint, highlights of SharePoint 2016 and see how Outlook attachments (bye-bye) are changing as we know them.

Firstly I’d like to congratulate the SP24 Conference (#SP24Conf) organisers for delivering an awesome conference this week. The format was new and a challenge for those involved I’m sure. It worked very well aside from the twenty-first-century hiccup or two. I look forward to the next one when the crew have all recovered and caught up on their sleep. Maybe I might be able to get a speaker slot next time where we might hear more about SharePoint 2016!

I managed to stay up for three sessions before calling it a night (a late one at that – 2 am UK time. I was delivering an Azure briefing at the Microsoft Offices in London the next morning. But I did manage to attend five other sessions towards the end of the day. Hopefully, in a few weeks, we will have access to all the sessions when I’ll try to watch as many sessions as I can when the time arises.

SharePoint 24 Conference - Keynote delivers important industry news and SharePoint 2015 highlights.
SharePoint 24 Conference – Keynote delivers important industry news and SharePoint 2016 highlights.

SharePoint 2016 highlights and more…

I’d like to share some highlights I learned during the SP24 Keynote that Bill Baer’s delivered. It’s important news for all those involved in the industry to hear at this time. More importantly, it demonstrates again that Microsoft is continuing to share more and more with us long before they would have done before.

SP24 Keynote available on YouTube
SP24 Keynote available on YouTube

SharePoint On-Premises lives on

With Microsoft investing so much in their Cloud products whether that’s Office 365 or Microsoft Azure, many have thought that time had been called for the On-Premises version of SharePoint. Well, that time is not in sight – not yet anyway!

So the next version of SharePoint that we’re shipping in later 2015 will in fact not be the last version of SharePoint server that we ever ship.

Sure we’ll see features and changes to these Cloud products more often especially Office 365, long before we see them On-Premises. We might not see some features at all but Bill said, “Microsoft will continue to develop in On-Premises for as long as there is demand for it”.  SharePoint 2016 is not going to be the last.

We are going to continue to ship SharePoint server on-premises as long as there is a demand for SharePoint server on-premises!

Not only that but SharePoint 2016 will ship towards the end of 2015.

In late 2015 we are going to launch another version of SharePoint server to our on-premises audience.

SharePoint 2016 highlights

On top of the On-Premises news, Bill also demonstrated features from the next version of SharePoint – SharePoint 2016. Here are some highlights from the Keynote:

The close integration with Yammer was clear once again and more Office Graph functionality seemed to be visible since the demonstration during the SharePoint Conference 2014 (#SPC14).

We also learned about Remote Index. This will make it possible to push On-Premises Search Indexes to Office 365 to provide a single search experience and result set. A unified search index in Office 365 along with Office Graph will create an awesome experience for end-users.

Outlook is the first program that many of us launch on a typical working day yet we have many other sources of information. Expect to see changes to Outlook that will help us access this information and deliver more than just email to us.

A further change to Outlook and SharePoint 2016 that we’ll see in the next version is the removal of email attachments as we know them with the help of OneDrive for Business. Users will continue to attach files to their emails but they’ll be saved to their OneDrive for Business Document Library and shared with all to, cc and bcc addresses via a URL in the email. This is a really exciting change and I look forward to discovering more about soon. The net result is users will have continuous access to the latest files and can use features such as Co-Authoring.

Discover more

Join me over the next year as I discover more news and information about the next version of SharePoint and Office 16 by following my #Office16 tag.


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

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


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 some time 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 users are part of a 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 set up correctly – even broke out fiddler and checked 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 was aware of the bug and did not expect it to be resolved until September time. Others were saying that it worked with users whose machines were not joined to an Active Directory domain. This leads me to think about try using a local account and there it is folks – my solution!

This is less of a solution but more of a workaround 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!