Here are the tasks you should do before upgrading from Microsoft Live@edu to Microsoft Office 365 for education. We recommend that you get started as soon as we notify you that your school can begin the upgrade:

1. Update your contact information and Institution profile page

2. Update the URL used to access email

3. If you're using the SSO Toolkit, apply an update and plan for single sign-on using federation

4. Plan for provisioning or synchronization changes

5. Document your Live@edu Exchange Online settings

6. Get your users ready for the upgrade

1. Update your contact information and Institution profile page

Sign in to the Service Management Portal, click Institution profile, and update your information:

  • Make sure the email addresses under administrator contact information and contacts for critical notifications are up-to-date and include addresses outside of your Live@edu domains.
  • Verify that your Institution profile data is accurate and does not contain any errors.

2. Update the URL used to access email

Afer the upgrade, users can no longer access email by going to http://outlook.com. To ensure your users can access email before and after the upgrade using the same URL, update your email sign-in URL now by doing one of the following:
  •  Use a CNAME record to create a domain-specific URL, such as http://mail.contoso.edu/.
    • If you have already set up a CNAME record with a target of www.outlook.com, this CNAME record will continue to work after the upgrade. A CNAME target of www.outlook.com works, even though a user can't go directly to http://outlook.com/.
    • If you haven't yet set up a CNAME record, you can set one up now: the record is identical for Live@edu and Office 365.
    • For more information about creating a CNAME record, see Customized URL using a CNAME record in Live@edu.
  • Encourage your users to switch to using https://www.outlook.com/[DOMAIN] for Outlook Web App, because this URL works both before and after the upgrade.

3. If you're using the SSO Toolkit, apply an update and plan for single sign-on using federation

If you are using the Live@edu SSO Toolkit, you must make the following changes:

  • Update the SSO Toolkit to version 4.5.
    • This won’t affect users before the upgrade, and ensures that single sign-on access to Outlook Web App will be available to users throughout the upgrade and afterwards.
    • Important: If you don’t update the SSO Toolkit before your upgrade to Office 365, the SSO Tookit will stop working partway through the upgrade, and users will need to use their Live@edu account and password to sign in to Office 365. Updating the SSO Toolkit before the upgrade to Office 365 will prevent there being a time period with no single sign-on service.
  • Prepare to implement federation.
    • The updated SSO Toolkit will be supported in Office 365 until December 31, 2014 for domains that are currently enabled for the SSO Toolkit. At that point, you need to implement federation to continue having single sign-on functionality or to provide single sign-on functionality for additional domains.
    • Implementing federation takes time and preparation, so start planning now.

If you are not using the SSO Toolkit now, if you want users to be able to sign in to both on-premises and Office 365 by using the same credentials, you can use identity federation in Office 365.

For detailed information about updating the SSO Toolkit and planning for federation, see Single sign-on.   

4. Plan for provisioning or synchronization changes

How you currently provision users determines which tasks you need to do.

If you provision users by using MAv3 or the Windows Live Admin Center SDK

  • Important: Depending on where you are located, support for MAv3 and the Windows Live Admin Center SDK with Live@edu ended on April 20, 2013 or will end on May 27, 2013. MAv3 and the Windows Live Admin Center SDK are not supported in Office 365, and will stop working once the upgrade to Office 365 starts, even if the upgrade is initiated before May 27, 2013.
  • Prepare for provisioning changes in Office 365 by reviewing the following section.

If you provision users by synchronizing with your on-premises directory, ECP, or Windows PowerShell

  • If you provision by synchronizing with your on-premises directory, the tools for directory synchronization are different in Office 365. For more information, see Directory synchronization options.
  • If you provision users by using Exchange Control Panel, you can create users through the Admin page of the Office 365 portal, or continue using ECP. For more information about setting up user accounts through the Admin page of the Office 365 portal, see User accounts and permissions.

Note:   When you add new mailboxes in Office 365 through ECP or Windows PowerShell in Exchange Online, you also need to assign an Office 365 license to each mailbox. For more information about licenses, see Manage licenses.

5. Document your Live@edu Exchange Online settings

There are several features of Microsoft Exchange Online that are different in Office 365 than they are in Live@edu because of service plan details. If you are using supervision policies or have customized role assignment policies, use the information in Exchange Online differences to document your settings so you can re-create them after the upgrade.

6. Get your users ready for the upgrade

Let them know what’s coming:

  • Review the Software requirements for Office 365, and then update the desktops as needed. The key difference in requirements is that Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 are not supported.
  • Tell your users that they will have two accounts, resulting in the following portal changes:
  • Tell your users to add an alternate email address for their Live@edu account so that it will be easy to reset their Microsoft account password if they forget it during or after the upgrade. For information on how to add an alternate email address, see Why do I need to add security info?
  • Tell your users in advance what to do if they have trouble accessing their email during or after the upgrade: