Here's what's new in the Office 365 Beta

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Here's what's new in the Office 365 Beta

Updated April 8, 2011.
This information is subject to change. Subscribe to this blog to receive the latest information.

Audience

This post is intended for customers who have signed up before April 2011 for the Beta release of Microsoft Office 365 for Enterprises (Ent) or Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses (SB). This group will be referred in this document as Private Beta participants.

Summary

Microsoft is rolling out some updates to the Office 365 Private Beta between now and the end of March, 2011. Watch the Office 365 Beta community for updates. This document highlights notable changes that Private Beta participants may experience beginning March 7th, 2011. It also provides a list of customer actions required, to transition their current Office 365 Beta tenant to the updated version of the beta.

This document does not include documentation/help updates or issues, limitations, work-arounds, and known bugs. That information is in the Office 365 Beta Release Notes for enterprises and small businesses.

IMPORTANT

  • Four of the items below will require your review and action.
  • Please review the Office 365 Beta Release Notes for your offer.

The What's New table below summarizes the changes that private beta customers will see beginning on March 7th and concluding later this month. The Area column indicates the area of the service that has changed. The Offer column indicates whether the changes will be visible to enterprise customers, small business customers, or both sets of customers. The Customer Action column highlights changes that require customer action. The Description column provides a brief description of the change. Where available these descriptions link to additional information below the table.

What's New

ID

Area

Offer

Customer
Action

Description

0

General

Both

YES

Update the Microsoft Online Connector (Enterprise & Small Business). See notes below.

1

Connector

Both

 

Microsoft Online Services Connector now called Office 365 desktop setup

2

Exchange

Enterprise

 

Single sign-on access to Forefront Online Protection for Exchange admin center.

3

Exchange

Enterprise

 

Active Directory synchronization write-back (this enables smooth mailbox off-boarding for customers who deploy rich coexistence)

4

Exchange

Enterprise

 

Exchange Online Archive for on-premises Exchange 2010 mailboxes

5

Exchange

Enterprise

 

Outlook 2007 support for Exchange Online Archive

6

Exchange

Enterprise

 

Support for Exchange Online Unified Messaging for North America customers. See notes below

7

Exchange

Both

 

Increased geographic availability of hosted voicemail

  • Integration with on-premises PBXs available from all datacenters
  • Integration with Lync 2010 on-premises is from North American datacenters only

8

Dir Sync Tool

Enterprise

YES

Re-install the Directory Synchronization Tool. See notes below.

9

Office Subscription

Enterprise

 

No changes to Office Professional Plus, however private Beta customers will need to "run" the Connector (now called Office 365 desktop setup) using the steps above due to private beta fixes.

10

Portal (IW)

Both

 

SharePoint Online header on the user home page changed from "Sites" to "Team site".

11

Portal (IW)

Both

 

Office Professional Plus no longer appears on the user homepage.

12

Portal (IW)

Both

 

Introduction of the Downloads page, which explains the setup steps better. Previously, the items were installed from different pages (Lync and Office Professional Plus from the user page and Connector from the Resources section of the Home page).

13

Portal (IW)

Both

 

Term "Microsoft Online Services Connector" now called "Office 365 desktop Setup"

14

Portal (Admin) (E)

Both

 

Administrators now land by default on Admin Overview page (with Microsoft Online Services brand).

15

Portal (Admin) (E)

Enterprise

 

Service Health and Planned Maintenance dashboards.

16

Portal (Admin) (E)

Enterprise

 

More Support options, such as the service request form.

17

Portal (Admin) (E)

Both

 

New Setup Overview and Custom Plan sections. See notes below

18

Portal (Admin) (E)

Enterprise

 

Enhanced steps for single sign-on and Active Directory synchronization.

19

Portal (Admin)

Both

 

New left navigation with added choices (Subscriptions, Setup Overview, more items under Support).

20

Portal (Admin)

Enterprise

 

Enhanced domain re-delegation/verification steps, with more detailed instructions.

21

Portal (Admin)

Both

 

New Subscription Management and Licenses pages.

22

Portal (Admin)

Both

 

New predefined views under User Management.

23

Portal (Admin) (P)

Enterprise

 

Availability of domain Re-delegation

24

Portal (Admin) (P)

Both

 

Support form available for entering service requests online. IMPORTANT: The ability to submit online service requests is disabled until later in March

25

Portal

Enterprise

 

New commerce features enabled in the Private Beta. See notes below

26

Portal

Enterprise

 

Support for Extra Large directory synched companies over 20,000 user objects. Includes only Exchange Online and Lync Online. SharePoint Online is NOT available for customers with over 20,000 users

27

Lync

Enterprise

 

Integration with dial-in audio conferencing partners

28

Lync

Both

 

Support for Lync Online attendee client

29

SharePoint

Enterprise

YES

All SharePoint Online customer My Sites are migrated to new customer-specific URLs. See notes below

30

SharePoint

Both

 

SharePoint Online Administration experience unified across full Office 365 for enterprises suite

31

SharePoint

Enterprise

 

File upload limit increased from 50MB to 250MB

32

SharePoint

Enterprise

 

Integrated eventing system (to handle failures)

33

SharePoint

Enterprise

 

Public-facing sites are available for Office 365 for enterprises. Improvements to the process for sharing sites with external users.

34

SharePoint

Both

 

The number of languages available for multi-language user interface on sites has increased from 7 languages to 40 languages.

35

Office Web Apps

Small Business

 

Office Web Aapps edit links may not work for existing private beta customers after this upgrade. See notes below.

36

Community

Both

 

With this update, a new rhythm of customer email communications will begin in April, 2011.

Customer Actions Required

The Office 365 beta has been updated. What do you need to do?

All customers

Enterprise customers only

Update the Microsoft Online Services Connector

As part of this update, you must install the new version of the Microsoft Online Services Connector, which has been renamed to Office 365 desktop setup on every user's computer. Before installing the Office 365 desktop setup, you must remove some applications and verify a registry setting as described in the steps below.

1. In Control Panel, uninstall the programs below, if they are installed.

  • Microsoft Online Services Connector
  • Microsoft Online Services Sign-in Assistant
  • Microsoft Online Services Sign-in Assistant Add On

2. Verify or update the Lsa Registry key as described below.

  1. In the Registry editor, navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\ key.
  2. In the Name column, locate Security Packages.
  3. If necessary, edit the entry in the Data column to place Kerberos at the beginning of the list.

3. Run the Office 365 desktop setup, which replaces the Microsoft Online Services Connector.

  1. In the Office 365 portal, in the right pane under Resources, click Downloads.
  2. Under Set up and configure your Office desktop apps, click Set up.

Update links and registry entries to your SharePoint Online My Sites

As part of this update, company My Sites will have new customer specific URLs, which will be different from the rest of your SharePoint Online sites. This change provides an added layer of security to your SharePoint Online sites. The new URL will be similar to https://YourCompanyName-my.sharepoint.com/my.

When this change is implemented:

  • All documents and document libraries hosted on My Content sites will be available at the new location.
  • In-progress workflows, social tags, and note boards on My Sites will need to be edited or re-created because of the new URL.
  • Office programs such as Word and Excel allow documents to be saved directly to SharePoint Online. To update your Office installations to point to the new My Site location, you must update the following Windows Registry setting on every user's computer using Regedit.exe or Group Policy.
    "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0\common\Portal\Link Providers\MySiteHost"
    Change the value of "URL" to https://YourCompanyName-my.sharepoint.com
    Important: Do not include a trailing '/' character.

Re-enable external user access to Site Collections

If you granted access to your SharePoint Online site collections to users from outside of your organization, you must re-enable this feature so those users can continue to have access to your site collections. To enable external access, from the SharePoint Online Administration Center, click Manage Site Collections, and then click Manage Share By Email.

Customers running directory synchronization must install the latest version of the Directory Synchronization tool

Customers running the Microsoft Online Services Directory Synchronization Tool must uninstall it and install the latest version. Installing the new version will trigger a full synchronization of your Active Directory to Office 365 Beta, but should not disrupt your usage of the services. See Active Directory synchronization: Roadmap for information about installing the Directory Synchronization tool.

Additional Information

The information below is linked from the What's New table. 

Web video is not supported

This includes adding web videos to webpages and inserting web video into blog posts. If you have already added web video to a page, a link to the video will remain, but the video will no longer play inline in SharePoint Online.

 

The ability to embed web video in public-facing sites via the Site Designer tool in SharePoint Online will remain. In addition, customers can utilize the Silverlight Media Web Part to add WMV videos stored in SharePoint Online to play inline on SharePoint Online pages.

Increased geographic availability of hosted voicemail (Enterprise and Small Business)

  • Integration with on-premises PBXs available from all datacenters
  • Integration with Lync 2010 on-premises is from North American datacenters only

New Setup Overview and custom plan sections (Enterprise and Small Business)

  • New Setup Overview page that covers everything (desktop setup, Lync, SharePoint, DirSync, SSO) and not only Exchange/Email as it did before.
  • Custom Plan wizard. Previously, there were only two plans: IMAP migration and Exchange migration. With these updates, the wizard generates custom plans that include other types of migration and the other services.

New commerce features enabled (Enterprise only)

  • Manage subscriptions
  • Catalog
  • License compliance

These offers will not require promo codes.

Support for Exchange Online Unified Messaging for North America customers (Enterprise only)

North American customers in the Office 365 Private Beta can now use Exchange Online Unified Messaging.

Previously, we had restricted the usage to those North American customers who had PBXs or IP PBXs that were supported (there is a list and links to configuration details at the UM Telephony Advisor pages), but could not accommodate customers running Lync Server 2010 for Enterprise Voice. Now, with help from the Lync Online team, we are able to offer UM Online service to North American customers running Lync. Expansion of the UM Online service to other regions will be announced in due course.

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Comments
  • We have a problem whereby the Office 365 desktop setup application reports it can not connect to the server or that the server has issues with the connection. The internet connection is fine, the older apps have been removed and the registry edit has been performed. Any ideas?

  • Sorry, no idea. Please post your question in the forums, or contact Support directly.

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