Attention: This page is scheduled to be removed on June 30, 2014. Please refer to the Message Center in the Office 365 admin portal to stay informed about changes to your Office 365 service, including new features and actions you need to take to keep your service running smoothly.


The Office 365 Service Upgrade for 2013 shouldn’t require any preparatory action for your organization. Mind you, there are a few exceptions and where appropriate, we are contacting customers directly via email about these exceptions.

But that doesn’t mean you, as an IT professional or small business owner, don’t want more details about what you should check before and after the upgrade. Confirming that common maintenance tasks have been performed will minimize any upgrade impacts for your organization

Contents

  1. Before the service upgrade
  2. Upgrade scheduling
  3. During the upgrade
  4. After the upgrade

Before the service upgrade

Make sure you receive the upgrade notices

All upgrade notifications will be sent to the preferred e-mail address of each Global Admin of your Office 365 service. Take a moment to check your email settings in Office 365 to make sure you will receive critical service alerts from Office 365.

If you have a partner of record, they will be carbon-copied (or blind carbon-copied) on service alerts sent to you.

Verify email settings with Office 365

Description: Office 365 sends critical service alerts to global administrators, including service upgrade notifications.

Action: Make sure that service alerts are sent to an email address that you check.

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft Online Portal.
  2. Click on “My Profile” at the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Make sure that the email address listed in “Preferred Email” in the “Contact Preferences” section is set to an email address you check.

Risk: If no admins in your organization have set a preferred e-mail address, you will only be notified of the service upgrade via alerts in the Microsoft Online Portal.

Check spam filter settings to allow Office 365 service alerts

Description: Office 365 sends critical service alerts to global administrators from office365@microsoftonline.com. To make sure your junk email filter doesn’t capture these emails, take steps to mark office365@microsoftonline.com as a safe sender.

Action: Add office365@microsoftonline.com to your safe senders list with Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2010.

Risk: You may miss critical service alerts from Office 365.

Learn more: Configure junk email settings in Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010

Checking Email Connection Settings

The top post-upgrade problems relate to Outlook connectivity and mailflow. In nearly all cases, these problems can be avoided by verifying the Domain Name Server (DNS) settings you use with Office 365 before the service upgrade.

Verify Autodiscover settings

Description: Office 365 uses a feature called Autodiscover so you can connect to Office 365 using just your user name and password—this is the only method Office 365 supports for connections from Outlook and other mail clients, including mobile apps. For Autodiscover to work properly, you need to create a DNS record with your hoster.

Action: Verify each of the domains you use with Office 365 is configured correctly by following these instructions.

If you manage your own DNS server, proxy server, firewall and/or virtual private network (VPN), you should download the Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer to run the same tests from within (and outside of) your network to verify that this infrastructure is not blocking the lookup of Autodiscover records. (If you don’t know whether you manage this kind of infrastructure, you probably don’t, and don’t need to take this additional step).

Risk: If you have misconfigured this record, or if your Outlook (or other mail client) connects to Exchange Online with a server URL, Outlook may not reconnect to Exchange Online after the service upgrade.

Learn more: Correcting Autodiscover and DNS Settings

Change manual Outlook profiles to Autodiscover

Description: With the pre-upgrade Office 365 service it is currently possible to connect to Exchange Online by finding the server URL (or POD number) and entering in that address in Outlook or a mobile device. Manually configuring an Outlook profile or mobile device email app with Office 365 is not supported. All users need to use Autodiscover to connect to Office 365.

Action: Implement Autodiscover now, and update any Outlook profiles or mobile devices that you know were manually configured.

Risk: After the service upgrade, Office 365 users with manually configured Outlook profiles or mobile device email apps will be unable to connect to Office 365.

Learn more: Outlook can't set up a new profile by using Exchange Autodiscover for an Exchange Online mailbox in Office 365

Verify MX Records

Description: Receiving email from external senders requires you set up a Mail Exchange (MX) Record. If you have misconfigured this record, email from external senders may not reach you after the service upgrade.

Action: Verify that you have correctly set the MX Record for each of the domains you use with Office 365. Go to testconnectivity.microsoft.com, click on the “Office 365” tab, and run the “Office 365 Exchange Domain Name Server (DNS) Connectivity Test.”

If you manage your own DNS server, proxy server, firewall and/or virtual private network (VPN), you should download the Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer tool to run the same tests from within (and outside of) your network.

If you have a hybrid on-prem/cloud deployment, or have a FOPE standalone tenant, make sure you replace any "generic" MX records (such as mail.global.frontbridge.com) with domain-specific tokens in both your internal and external environments.

Risk: If the MX Record you set up with Office 365 is incorrect, you may experience mail flow problems after the service upgrade.

Learn more: Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer Tool

Check IP addresses used by Office 365

Description: If your organization uses a firewall to control inbound and outbound internet access, you may restrict inbound and/or outbound access to IP addresses for security reasons. If you do this, you will need to regularly update your infrastructure to allow access to IP addresses used by Office 365.

Action: Subscribe to the Office 365 URLs and IP Address feed, check for any new values, and make sure to keep your proxy and/or firewalls up to date.

Risk: If the IP address is not listed in your firewall, you may experience various connectivity problems, including blocking your Outlook users from connecting to the Office 365 service.

Learn more: Office 365 URLs and IP Address

Check domains used by Office 365 in your proxy server

Description: Office 365 is changing the domains used to aid automatic connections between Outlook and Office 365. If your organization uses a Proxy server to restrict outbound access to specific domains for security reasons, you will need to allow access to two new domains to maintain email connectivity.

While proxy servers are common, using one to restrict internet access is not, so if you aren’t sure whether you use a Proxy Server to restrict access to certain domains (let alone if you are even using a proxy server), then you almost certainly aren’t impacted.

Action: Add outlook.office365.com and office365.com to your proxy server. Don’t delete the current Outlook Anywhere endpoint, outlook.com.

Risk: If those domain are not listed in your proxy server and you use your proxy server to restrict internet access, the after the service upgrade you may inadvertently cause connectivity problems, including blocking your Outlook users from connecting to the Office 365 service.

Learn more: How to troubleshoot computer issues that limit Office 365 rich client authentication (see resolution #2)

Check MX/FQDN settings for Hybrid deployments with third-party spam filtering and/or security tools

Description: : If you have a hybrid deployment with a third-party spam filtering or other tool that processes email before it is directed to Office 365 (sometimes referred to as SmartHost), then that third-party tool uses a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) to direct email to Office 365.

Action: Verify that the FQDN record in that third-party tool is properly configured to route email to Exchange Online Protection. To determine your FQDN value, look in Office 365's Domain Manager for a value like contoso.onmicrosoft.com. Remove ".onmicrosoft.com" and replace it with ".mail.eo.outlook.com". Specifically, make sure that you are not using a generic value (such as mail.global.frontbridge.com). You should be using a domain-specific token (e.g. contoso.mail.eo.outlook.com).

Risk: If you misconfigured the FQDN value the third-party tool uses to route email to Office 365, you may experience mail flow problems after the service upgrade.

System Requirements Check

While Office 365’s browser and Office client system requirements have not changed substantially since 2012—for example, both Office 2007 and Office 2010 remain supported—there have been some minor changes over the past year.

Service pack for Office 2007 and Office 2010

Description: Service packs include critical functionality which may be required to maintain Office 365 connectivity. We strongly urge you to deploy service packs as soon as they are released. Service Packs are delivered automatically by Windows Update, but you can also use Windows Intune or System Center to manage your computers.

Action: Please make sure you have deployed the following Service Packs.

Risk: Office 365 requires these service packs today, and while we do not expect users without the service packs to be unable to connect to Office 365 after the upgrade, connectivity could degrade or break at any time.

Learn more: Office service packs and Office 365 system requirements

Required public updates for Office 2010 and Office 2007

Description: Cumulative public updates include critical functionality which may be required to maintain Office 365 connectivity. Cumulative public updates are delivered automatically by Windows Update, but you can also use Windows Intune or System Center to manage your computers.

Action: The following cumulative public updates must be current before the service upgrade:

  • Outlook 2010 must be current to at least the April 2012 cumulative public update (KB2553248).
  • Outlook 2007 must be current to at least the July 2012 cumulative public update (KB2596598)

 

Risk: Outlook 2010 users without this public update may be unable to connect to Exchange Online mailboxes after the service upgrade.

Learn more: Requirements for specific public updates to Outlook 2007 and 2010

Public updates for Office 2007 and Office 2010

Description: Cumulative public updates include critical functionality which may be required to maintain Office 365 connectivity. We strongly urge you to deploy public updates as soon as they are released. Cumulative public updates are delivered automatically by Windows Update, but you can also use Windows Intune or System Center to manage your computers.

Action: We strongly recommend that you are current to at least the November 2012 cumulative public updates—if not completely current—before the service upgrade. All updates are cumulative: by deploying more recent updates, you will cover earlier deadlines and public updates.

If you can’t be completely up-to-date, please make sure you have deployed the following public updates before each deadline.

  • By 8 April 2014
    • Outlook 2010 Nov 2012 cumulative public update (KB2687623)
    • Outlook 2007 Nov 2012 cumulative public update (KB2687404)

Risk: While you don’t need to deploy these public updates before the service upgrade, it’s strongly recommended. Sometime after the deadlines, Outlook will be unable to connect to Exchange Online without the public updates.

Learn more: Requirements for specific public updates to Outlook 2007 and 2010

Internet Explorer 7

Description: Office 365 ended support for Internet Explorer 7 in October 2012.

Action: You should upgrade to a supported browser immediately:

  • Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Vista.
  • Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP.

Internet Explorer 7 does not run on Windows 7.

Risk: After the upgrade, Internet Explorer 7 users will have a substantially degraded experience.

Learn more: Office 365 support for Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 8

Description: The user experience with Office 365 on Internet Explorer 8 may be substantially diminished.

Action: While Office 365 will support Internet Explorer 8 until that date, you are strongly urged to move to a browser with which Office 365 is designed to work.

  • Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Vista

Internet Explorer 8 is the highest browser that runs on Windows XP. Internet Explorer 8 does not run on Windows 8.

Risk: After the upgrade, users connecting to Office 365 with Internet Explorer 8 should expect slower performance while using Outlook Web App or other Office Web Apps, especially if they are running on older hardware, via Terminal Services, or other scenarios with low memory. If this happens while using the Outlook Web App, you may want to use Outlook Web App Light. If you experience this with other Office Web Apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and/or OneNote Web Apps, we recommend you use the desktop version of Office instead.

Learn more: Office 365 support for Internet Explorer 8

Root Certificates for Windows

Description: As mailboxes are moved during the upgrade they will be on a new environment that requires new certificates for authentication. These need to be installed manually on Windows XP, but are installed automatically as part of Windows Update with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Office 365 strongly urges you to turn on Windows Update so you receive all automatic updates to Windows. You can also use Windows Intune or System Center to manage your computers.

Action: All Windows XP users should update their Root Certificate (KB931125).

Risk: Invalid certificates may prevent end user systems from authenticating with the Office 365 service, including e-mail.

Learn more: SSL\TLS communication problems (KB2801679)

Hybrid Exchange and Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3

Description: Exchange hybrid environments—where some of your users have their mailboxes in the cloud while others are on Exchange servers you manage on premises—require close interoperation between cloud and on-premises Exchange servers, including rapid deployment of service packs and public updates on your on-prem Exchange servers.

Action: All admins running hybrid environments need to download and deploy Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 (SP3) immediately

Risk: Without Exchange SP3, hybrid environments will not be able to manage Exchange Online from the Exchange Management Console once scheduled for the service upgrade. You will still be able to use the Microsoft Online Portal and PowerShell to administer Exchange Online.

Learn more: Exchange Hybrid Deployments & the Service Upgrade

SharePoint Designer 2010

Description: Office 365 no longer supports SharePoint Designer 2010.

Action: If you use this tool, you should upgrade to SharePoint Designer 2013.

Risk: You will be unable to use SharePoint Designer 2010 with Office 365.

Learn more: Preparing for the SharePoint Online Service Update

32-bit Directory Synchronization tool

Description: Office 365 ended support for the 32-bit DirSync tool in January of 2013.

Action: It is time to upgrade to the 64-bit Directory Synchronization tool (if you don’t know what this is, trust us, you’re not using it).

Risk: Office 365 may block connections from the 32-bit DirSync tool after 1 October 2013. Synchronization will fail, your cloud and on premise directory will no longer be in sync, and authentication problems may ensue.

Learn more: Office 365 support for the Directory Synchronization tool

Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition and Office for Mac 2008

Description: Microsoft ended all support for these products in April of 2013. (If you don’t use Macs, you’re not using these).

Action: Upgrade to Office for Mac 2011.

Risk: Connectivity to Office 365 from Entourage 2008 Web Service Edition and/or Office for Mac 2008 could degrade or break at any time.

Upgrade scheduling

Communication rhythm

Office 365 will set the rhythm of service upgrades and you should expect to be upgraded in 2013.

The Microsoft Online Portal is the primary means of communication about your service upgrade, but you will also receive emails notifying you about the service upgrade. Here is the upgrade timeline.

Four weeks before the upgrade

The Microsoft Online Portal will display upgrade information, and you will receive the initial upgrade notification email when we are getting ready to upgrade your Office 365 service.

  • If your subscription has access to Early Upgrade (a.k.a. pilot) it will be enabled at this time
  • Postpone is enabled.

Two weeks before the upgrade

The Microsoft Online Portal will show your exact upgrade date, and you will receive an upgrade confirmation email with the exact date of your upgrade.

  • You have about a week left for Early Upgrade (a.k.a. pilot).
  • Check your initial email: Postpone is disabled about one week before the upgrade. That initial email will give you the exact last date to postpone.
  • Upgrade date is based on 12 AM UTC

One week before the upgrade

One week prior to your upgrade date, you may be unable to modify the following:

  • Retention policies.
  • Remote domain settings.
  • Provisioning policies.
  • Role-based access control.

Upgrade begins

We will upgrade many customers on the same day, and that means upgrades will start for different customers at different times. We can’t give you an exact time for when your upgrade will start, and we won’t email you when it does start, but it will begin that day.

Upgrade is complete

The Microsoft Online Portal will have a new look and feel, and display information about the completion of the service upgrade. You will also receive an email notifying you that the upgrade is complete.

Once you are scheduled

Can I postpone?

Not a good time? No worries. You can postpone your service upgrade once for any reason.

Don’t postpone the upgrade right away

If you plan to postpone when you receive that first email, just hold on if you want a small set of users to test Office 365 first, or if you want to delay for the longest possible timeframe.

First, you have three weeks from the initial email to postpone. If you are looking for the longest possible delay, wait until a day or two before the postponement deadline appears in the first email. You probably won’t be rescheduled for at least another month, but the month starts the day you hit the postpone button, so you get a few extra weeks by waiting.

Make sure to postpone at least eight days before your upgrade date, as the postpone button will be disabled seven days prior to your upgrade date.

Second, if you have access to the Early Upgrade (a.k.a. pilot) feature, upgrade some users early so you understand what the service upgrade experience will be like. Why do this before postponing? After you postpone, you won’t be able to submit any new Early Upgrade requests (at least not until you’ve been rescheduled).

Learn more: Early Upgrade (a.k.a. pilot)

What happens after I postpone?

You should expect to hear from us about the upgrade within a week of postponing(though it could be longer or shorter). 

Learn more: Postpone

Should I tell my users about the upgrade?

Definitely. While they shouldn’t notice anything during the upgrade, anyone checking their email via the Outlook Web App will notice the new look and feel right away.

We have email templates ready for you to customize and send out to let your users know what to expect.

Microsoft canceled or postponed my upgrade. What’s the story?

We don't cancel a scheduled service upgrade lightly. When we do, it is typically because we discovered an unexpected technical problem that--if the upgrade had moved forward--may have left your service in an incomplete state, and potentially disrupted the normal operation of your organization.

Please note that adding new services to your subscription or migrating Exchange data from on-premises to the cloud can cancel your upgrade.

There’s nothing you need to do to resolve the issue: It’s our job to get you rescheduled. While we can’t tell you when your upgrade will be rescheduled, please know we’re working on getting you upgraded as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies. We realize this is an inconvenience.

Can I purchase new licenses after I've been scheduled?

You can definitely purchases more seats, but if you purchase and deploy new services, please be aware that we may have to reschedule your service upgrade for a later time so that we can prepare that new service for upgrade.

For example, if you subscribe to Exchange Online, feel free to purchase more Exchange Online seats. If you purchases licenses that would add SharePoint Online (or Lync Online, Office Subscription, etc.) to your service, however, we may have to reschedule your service upgrade for a later date if we need to do any additional work to prepare that new service for the upgrade.

This is particularly important for educational institutions that upgraded from Live@EDU: we recommend that you wait until after the service upgrade is complete before switching to the Academic SKU which adds SharePoint Online to your service.

Can I deploy more users before the upgrade?

You can definitely create more users before the upgrade is complete, but these should be completely new email accounts. If you use Office 365 migration services to migrate existing, on-premises users to the cloud, your service upgrade will be canceled, and won't be rescheduled until those migration batches are complete.

If you create new users, they will not get the new experience until after your entire service is upgraded.

During the upgrade

What should I expect during the upgrade?

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t notice anything during the service upgrade outside of a request to close and re-open Outlook and/or the Outlook Web App.

Learn more: Service Upgrade Experience

When will the upgrade start?

We will start upgrading your users on the day we notified you, though we can’t tell you exactly what hour and minute we will start the work.

How long will it take?

Once we get started, it should take a day or two to complete, though in some cases it can take longer. We'll email you if your upgrade takes more than three days.

What will we notice during the upgrade

If your users spend most of their day in Outlook, they should not notice a thing—at the most, a message will pop up asking them to close and re-open Outlook. Users in the Outlook Web App, or admins in the Microsoft Online Portal (MOP), will need to sign-out and sign back in when their account is upgraded. After the upgrade, Outlook Web App and MOP users will see the new look and feel of Office 365 immediately.

If you have delegated access to your email account to another person, they should not have trouble accessing your email account during the upgrade. Users who have been delegated access will need to close and re-open Outlook after each delegated mailbox is upgraded.

Please note that there is a risk of Outlook connectivity issues in complex delegation chains (person A delegates B, who then delegates to C) that can often be resolved by using the Outlook Web App.

Access to resource mailboxes (such as a conference room) or shared calendars should continue throughout the upgrade.

How will we know the upgrade is complete?

The Microsoft Online Portal will have a new look and feel, and display information about the completion of the service upgrade. You will also receive an email notifying you that the upgrade is complete.

After the upgrade

Post upgrade problems

Connecting to Email

Having connectivity problems? Check out our post-upgrade troubleshooting guide.

Upgrade isn’t complete after 48 hours

In nearly all cases, the service upgrade will take less than 48 hours to complete. On occasion, though, we have had a few rare cases when upgrade tasks took longer, even up to a week. If this happens to you we'll email you after three days. Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about you, and there isn't anything you need to do. The service upgrade team meets several times per week just to look at slower upgrade tasks and make sure we're doing everything that needs to be done.

Known issues

There are some known functionality changes post-upgrade. For example, spellcheck in the Outlook Web App requires Internet Explorer 10 or other modern browser.

For the latest information, check out the Known Issues page (English-only)

Trouble with third-party software, including mobile phones

While we extensively test the APIs that other software companies use with Office 365--including the email programs on Android and iOS smartphones--those vendors are responsible for supporting the software they distribute. They can help you resolve any problems you are experiencing with their software.

Learn more about current issues with Exchange ActiveSync and third-party devices.

Verifying hybrid deployments post upgrade

If you have an Exchange hybrid deployment—where some of your users have their mailboxes on Office 365, while others are on an Exchange Server under your control—please remember that we can’t check the settings you have on your on-premises server. You should take a few moments after your service upgrade to check mail flow. Specifically, try to send email from an external account, an Office 365 account and an on-premises Exchange account to different Office 365, on-premises and external accounts.

 

If your upgrade from FOPE to EOP is delayed until a later date, you should repeat these checks after we upgrade you to EOP.

Contacting support for help

Need assistance? There are several ways to get support. You can:

Post-upgrade tasks

Lync 2010

Description: There’s a new Lync client, Lync Basic, to replace the existing Lync 2010 client. Upgrading to the new client is required, and we recommend you do so before 8 April 2014.

Action: We recommend you shift your organization to Lync Basic (or Lync 2013, if you have rights to it) as soon as possible after the upgrade. If you have rights to Lync 2013, you can deploy this pre-upgrade if you wish.

Risk: After Office 2010 leaves mainstream support in October 2015, there is a risk that quality of the user experience with Lync 2010 client could diminish at any time.

Learn more: Learn more about upgrading to Lync Basic

SharePoint Online user interface

Description: After the service upgrade, all of your SharePoint sites will have the old look and feel. To get the new look and feel, as well as all the new features, a site administrator will need to upgrade each site collection.

Action: You choose when to upgrade each site so you can balance any training you think your users may need, as well as make sure any site customization looks exactly right after the visual upgrade.

The site collection upgrade is required, however, and you should complete the work within three months of when your upgrade is complete.

Risk: Three months has passed since your upgrade has completed, we will contact you to let you know that we will trigger the upgrade of your MySites and Team Sites automatically. We can’t test your customizations, though, so you really should take care of this yourself.

Learn more: SharePoint Online Site Collection Upgrade

Upgrade your SharePoint Online public site

Description: The Public Website in Office 365 has been significantly improved to help you build a truly professional online presence for your business or organization. On the new public website, you get a new template experience, you can browse and add apps, add social media features, use advanced design features, and more.

Action: After the service upgrade, follow these instructions to use an app to upgrade your existing site to use all the new features.

Risk: You won’t be able to take advantage of all the new features we have added to public sites, and will be adding to public sites in the future.

Learn more: Upgrade your public web site

Office Professional Plus 2010 Subscription

Description: When you purchased a subscription to Office—either via Office 365 E3 or Office Subscription Standalone—you purchased a subscription to the latest version of Office, not a license to a specific Office release. All users running Office Professional Plus 2010 Subscription need to upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus after the service upgrade.

This does not apply to non-subscription Office 2010 installations.

Action: Upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus by 8 April 2014.

Risk: Roughly twelve to fourteen months after your service upgrade, Office 365 will stop refreshing Office 2010 Subscription licenses, and two months thereafter, the product will enter reduced-functionality mode. We will notify you via the Message Center as this date approaches.

Learn more: Upgrade from Office Professional Plus 2010 Subscription to Office 365 ProPlus

Windows XP

Description: Microsoft is ending all support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.

Action: You should upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 7 as soon as possible.

Risk: While Office 365 does not expect Windows XP users to be unable to connect to Office 365 after 8 April 2014, connectivity to Office 365 could degrade or break at any time.

Learn more: Office 365 and Windows XP

Outlook 2003

Description: Microsoft is ending all support for Outlook 2003 on April 8, 2014.

Action: You should upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus, Office 2013 or Office 2010 as soon as possible.

Risk: After this date, Office 365 does not expect Outlook 2003 users to be unable to connect to Office 365, but connectivity to Office 365 could degrade or break at any time.

Deploy Service Pack 2 for Outlook 2010

Description: Microsoft has released Service Pack 2 for Outlook 2010. Our Service Pack Support Lifecycle policy requires that Office service packs be deployed within 12 months of release, in this case by 14 October 2014.

Action: Deploy Office 2010 Service Pack 2 before 14 October 2014.

Learn more: Office 365 and Service Packs for Windows and Office.

Need assistance or help with topics in this guide? There are several ways to get support. You can: