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Updated April 8, 2011.
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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.
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.
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.
Update the Microsoft Online Connector (Enterprise & Small Business). See notes below.
Microsoft Online Services Connector now called Office 365 desktop setup
Single sign-on access to Forefront Online Protection for Exchange admin center.
Active Directory synchronization write-back (this enables smooth mailbox off-boarding for customers who deploy rich coexistence)
Exchange Online Archive for on-premises Exchange 2010 mailboxes
Outlook 2007 support for Exchange Online Archive
Support for Exchange Online Unified Messaging for North America customers. See notes below
Increased geographic availability of hosted voicemail
Dir Sync Tool
Re-install the Directory Synchronization Tool. See notes below.
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.
SharePoint Online header on the user home page changed from "Sites" to "Team site".
Office Professional Plus no longer appears on the user homepage.
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).
Term "Microsoft Online Services Connector" now called "Office 365 desktop Setup"
Portal (Admin) (E)
Administrators now land by default on Admin Overview page (with Microsoft Online Services brand).
Service Health and Planned Maintenance dashboards.
More Support options, such as the service request form.
New Setup Overview and Custom Plan sections. See notes below
Enhanced steps for single sign-on and Active Directory synchronization.
New left navigation with added choices (Subscriptions, Setup Overview, more items under Support).
Enhanced domain re-delegation/verification steps, with more detailed instructions.
New Subscription Management and Licenses pages.
New predefined views under User Management.
Portal (Admin) (P)
Availability of domain Re-delegation
Support form available for entering service requests online. IMPORTANT: The ability to submit online service requests is disabled until later in March
New commerce features enabled in the Private Beta. See notes below
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
Integration with dial-in audio conferencing partners
Support for Lync Online attendee client
All SharePoint Online customer My Sites are migrated to new customer-specific URLs. See notes below
SharePoint Online Administration experience unified across full Office 365 for enterprises suite
File upload limit increased from 50MB to 250MB
Integrated eventing system (to handle failures)
Public-facing sites are available for Office 365 for enterprises. Improvements to the process for sharing sites with external users.
The number of languages available for multi-language user interface on sites has increased from 7 languages to 40 languages.
Office Web Apps
Office Web Aapps edit links may not work for existing private beta customers after this upgrade. See notes below.
With this update, a new rhythm of customer email communications will begin in April, 2011.
The Office 365 beta has been updated. What do you need to do?
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.
2. Verify or update the Lsa Registry key as described below.
3. Run the Office 365 desktop setup, which replaces the Microsoft Online Services Connector.
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:
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 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.
The information below is linked from the What's New table.
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.
These offers will not require promo codes.
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.
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.