It’s official you can now customise the Office 365 login page with your own branding – ok not quite yet but Microsoft have just released a preview feature that will soon allow us to.
The dull Californian highway image that we are all accustom to can now be replaced with your own image along with your own logo and login information which is impressive in itself but these elements can also be localised for different languages. This is all achieved with a preview feature Microsoft have recently released for Windows Azure Active Directory Premium which of course underpins Office 365. Pricing for this feature is not yet available but I imagine it will be published soon.
What can be customised?
Microsoft have made the following elements of the login page customisable.
The “Banner Logo” which is displayed on the sign page and access panel.
The “Sign In Page Illustration” displayed on the sign in page to the left of the login form.
The “Sign In Page background color” visible when there is no sign in page illustration present or for low bandwidth connections.
The “Sign In Page Text” that appears below the login form and can be used to give more information to users such as where to get support.
The “Tile Logo” which is not used but might be used to replace the “organisational account” pictogram.
A “User ID Label” which again is not used but could be set to “Company email” or “User ID” .
Browse to the Active Directory page and select your Office 365 directory.
Click on the “Enable Active Directory Premium” link on the summary page.
Then from the summary page click on the “Customise your organisation’s Sign In and Access Panel pages” link where you will be able to upload your logo and other assets.
As this is a preview feature Microsoft have decided for the first few weeks of the preview that users must opt in on each device to experience the customised sign in page. To opt in you must visit https://login.microsoftonline.com/optin.srf.
Demo customised sign in pages
Microsoft have also provided to demo fictitious sign in pages that you can get access to experience a customised login page.
The default interval for Windows Azure Active Directory Sync (DirSync) synchronisations is 3 hours. If for instance your Active Directory has lots of changes you you’ll probably want to consider shortening the sync interval.
The schedule can be modified by changing the “Microsoft.Online.DirSync.Scheduler.exe.Config” configuration file. Before proceeding to make any changes to the sync interval you should evaluate how long it takes to complete a synchronisation. You can do this by reviewing the application event log for entires that indicate when a sync has started and completed.
To modify the configuration file open “C:\Program Files\Windows Azure Active Directory Sync\Microsoft.Online.DirSync.Scheduler.exe.Config” in Notepad. You will then need to modify value of the “Synctimeinterval” key – the notation of this is Hours:Minutes:Seconds.
Save the configuration file and restart the “Windows Azure Active Directory Sync Service” Windows Service (via PowerShell Restart-Service MSOnlineSyncScheduler) to apply this change.
When configuring Windows Azure Active Directory Sync (or DirSync as it was previously known) it’s useful to be able to run various synchronisation tests. The default synchronisation schedule is 3 hours so unless you want to wait you will need to force a full synchronisation using PowerShell.
To do this you need to load the Windows Azure Active Directory Sync PowerShell module and run a cmdlet. Start by navigating to “C:\Program Files\Windows Azure Active Directory Sync” in PowerShell and then run “.\DirSyncConfigShell.psc1” from this directory. This will launch a new PowerShell console with the Windows Azure Active Directory Sync PowerShell module loaded (Add-PSSnapin Coexistence-Configuration). Then to force a full synchronisation you need to run the Start-OnlineCoexistenceSync cmdlet.
You can verify that a synchronisation has occurred by reviewing the application event log on the server running DirSync – there should be several items in the log such as “Directory Synchronization, Event ID – 114, Export cycle completed”. There is also a status of the Active Directory Synchronisation on the “Users and Groups” page in the Office 365 admin portal. There are also two other ways to see the status of synchronisation jobs which I will go into in more detail in a later post but these include using the Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) client and Fiddler a web debugging proxy.
You can create a shortcut to “C:\Program Files\Windows Azure Active Directory Sync\DirSyncConfigShell.psc1” on the desktop for ease of administration. I however take this one step further and create a shortcut to perform a synchronisation as well. Create a shortcut with the following target below.