Annoyed by Microsoft

by Volker Weber

IMG 1420

I delivered a presentation today and I had to fall back to plan C. Plan A was to bring my PPTX on a thumbdrive and deliver it through a PC that was already set up at the venue. That fell through since they did not have audio. So I brought Surface Pro 4 and a speaker, testet this at home, and it looked OK. However, when I tried it on site, PowerPoint Mobile froze three out of three times and I fell back to plan C: use my iPhone. In the end I lugged a bag, a Surface a speaker, a power supply, a bunch of cables, and the only thing I would have needed was my HDMI adapter and the phone that lives in my pocket anyway.

That might have been a once off problem, since gazillions of PCs deliver PPTX every day. Maybe it's my choice of lite universal apps instead of full fat Win32 applications. Speaking of which, Word Mobile has developed a problem I cannot get to the bottom of. I can use the clipboard once to copy from Edge and paste into Word. Subsequently it will ignore the new clips and always paste the very first one. Only if I quit Word Mobile and reload, it will paste the last clip. Annoying.

And then there is my Microsoft Account. OneNote keeps asking me to log in, at least once per day per device. Word tells me it can't write to OneDrive without me entering the password, every single fc&k!ng day. When I open a PPTX from OneDrive, Powerpoint goes into a tailspin. It just does not work anymore as it used to.



Have you installed the Microsoft Authenticator app? At least on iOS+Office365 your access token is cached here, so that you only have to login once for all Microsoft apps.

Tobias Zuegel, 2017-11-08 10:56

Do you use an[other] exchange account which is not your O365 account?

Some of my users got login prompts several times a day up to a point where I suspected something fishy going on. Then I realized they were asked for their O365 credentials even though they were just opening Outlook with another (on premises) account.

This started when M$ switched to "modern auth" for online accounts:

In my case the fix (or just a workaround) was to enable modern auth for the local Exchange servers as well: "Set-OrganizationConfig -OAuth2ClientProfileEnabled $true"
If this applies to you maybe ask the IT guys from your other mail account investigate this topic.

Ralf ter Veer, 2017-11-08 11:32

Die Authenticator app does not help. While it caches the access token, it expires quite quickly. The app only helps if you want to log into one MS app, and a few minutes later into another. There are several kinds of access tokens, each of them having a different expiration period. While you can change these with PS commands as O365 user, I have not tried that yet, and I am sure for non-business users such settings are not available.

What is extremely annoying is that logging in means entering a large, complex password into an iPhone all the time, potentially with 2FA confirmation. This is extremely pleasant when you're on the run outside, pull out the phone to check iOS Outlook where the meeting is, and are presented with the message "We have trouble signing you in, please login again", you ending up on the street typing Th1sC0mplexPa,,word.

I have had several complaints, including my own ones, as people switched over from their BlackBerries. I have asked O365 support, the forums, etc. The problem seems to be known, but nobody feels like doing something about it as they regard this as a "feature". The only way out seems to be certificate-based auth, but this requires a standalone ADFS even with O365, which does not make sense in my 5 people self-service environment.

Long story short, Volker, welcome to the club. Perhaps we can establish a Bürgerinitiative.

Peter Daum, 2017-11-08 11:40

Btw, on iOS, if you decide to be lazy and NOT to authenticate because you are happy with working offline for now, apps often regard themselves as not activated, becoming useless. With 1 year subscription periods, I really do not understand why MS does not implement a more graceful mechanism.

Peter Daum, 2017-11-08 11:42

Hmmm ... I just installed a new iPad here and the Authenticator app does help as you do not need to enter credentials into each and every app. This makes things a lot more easy.
Access token lifetime is 1h by default - but refresh token lifetime is 14 days. So as long as you do not change passwords, you should be asked for re-authentication every 14 days. Details here:

You are so right certificated-based authentication is a solution and yes it requires ADFS and yes it is quite complicated. We set it all up successfully in a development environment and are planning the productive rollout.

This all applies to Office 365 Workaccounts. I have no idea if that also applies to Microsoft Accounts.

Tobias Zuegel, 2017-11-08 12:15

Installed. Logged into O365. OneNote keeps asking.

Volker Weber, 2017-11-08 12:24

“Use Authenticator instead ...”. Did that now.

Volker Weber, 2017-11-08 12:44

Hi, heard about IBM Docs? Runs everywere, on anything, anytime😊

Rolf-Thore Johansen, 2017-11-08 19:13

Your presentation was excellent nonetheless. Even without sound. Thanks a lot!

Tobias Vogel, 2017-11-09 08:37

Does Authenticator help with the OneNote-Problems ?

We have this problem on several new Ipads in the company - up till now no working solution.

Funny though - on Ipads beeing in operation for several months everything works like charm.

Martin Posch, 2017-11-09 10:00

Computer Haiku:

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Microsoft is like that.

Stephen Bailey, 2017-11-09 16:10

Funny. But not a haiku.

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

Volker Weber, 2017-11-09 16:25


Stephen Bailey, 2017-11-09 16:27

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