Common Office 365 Problems and their Solutions

Himanshu Goyal
Himanshu Goyal | Updated On - 02 Aug 2021 |

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

By providing excellent features and incredible functionalities, Microsoft 365 has gained a remarkable position in the market as a collaboration and productivity platform. This cloud Office 365 platform is extremely secure for data too. It helps users store and edit enterprise-level data and allows them to share and collaborate with others via advanced collaboration tools and applications, irrespective of their geographical locations.

Microsoft 365 has always inspired businesses to move to the cloud since its launch in 2011. Though it provides multiple subscription plans, affordable pricing, and a set of applications that allow users to communicate and collaborate, Microsoft 365 still lacks at some points. There are some common problems that many Microsoft 365 users often face while using it.

In this article, we will highlight some of the common issues and their solutions that are often encountered by users in Microsoft 365.

  1. Sign-in problems with Microsoft 365

    Sometimes if users are unable to sign in to Microsoft 365 portal, there could be two reasons behind this problem – either the password is wrong, or the service that handles log-ins is not supportive. Don’t worry! This error can be fixed easily.

    As most of you might know, Microsoft 365 Home and Personal license rely on your Microsoft account. So, your Microsoft 365 ID and password must match with your Microsoft 3655 account. Make sure you are typing the correct credentials for your account.

    If the problem persists, then click the Can’t access your account link on the Microsoft 3655 log-in portal. The password reset guide will help you how to verify and change your password.

  2. Synchronization errors with Microsoft 365

    First, let us explain what Microsoft 365 synchronization problem is. When you open any of the Microsoft 365 applications like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, recently added files must appear in every application whenever you open them, but if that doesn’t happen, then there are synchronization problems with Microsoft 365.

    Well, it’s infrequent with desktop version, mobile users often face this problem a lot. In such cases, you should close the app immediately and re-open it. However, if the problem still occurs, it means the file has never synchronized with OneDrive, which means your system is not connected properly to the Internet. So, check your Internet connection, and then check for files.

  3. Difficulty in getting support

    When we take a service or plan, we expect a hundred percent technical support from the vendor. But, with Microsoft 365, users don’t get the support that they want. We don’t mean that Microsoft doesn’t provide any assistance, but it doesn’t facilitate any support system to deal with every support request. So, if you have a query related to Microsoft 365, then you’ll have to wait for some days to get an efficient solution.

    The only other solution that you can use is to take help from an external IT support service provider or use a third-party tool to fix your issues.

  4. Bandwidth demand

    High bandwidth demand for Microsoft 365 often becomes the most challenging thing for users. While working online with Microsoft 365, users need sufficient bandwidth to keep the workflow maintained, especially while managing a lot of files in OneDrive. One way to get out of this situation is by contacting your internet provider and asking for higher bandwidth plans.

  5. Microsoft 365 isn’t 100% cloud-based

    Most of you know Microsoft 365 as a 100% cloud-based platform, but some apps of Microsoft 365 are not available in the cloud, like MS Access and Publisher. Now, it is up to your bandwidth, which type of Office apps you use – desktop or cloud. Because businesses with lower bandwidth will end up using the desktop version of Office apps.

  6. It is not easy to migrate to Microsoft 365

    While all other issues could be resolved quickly, performing the migration to Microsoft 365 is one of the worst nightmares for users. While migrating to or from Microsoft 365, users face a lot of difficulties, such as:

    • Migrating all types of data- Exchange data, SharePoint data, OneDrive data, IMAP data, etc.
    • Difficulty in performing the migration using manual methods
    • Requirement for technical experts for migration
    • Need for selective migration
    • Ambiguity is estimating migration time and feasibility
    • Finding a good professional Office 365 Migration tool
    • Assigning impersonation rights to users mailboxes

    With these obstacles, it is almost impossible for non-technical users to perform the migration in Microsoft 365.

Some additional Microsoft 365 problems and solutions:

  • Problem1 – Microsoft 365 Activation Issues

    When any user attempts to activate Microsoft Office via Microsoft 365, he may receive an error like when the activation fails – “We are unable to connect right now. Please check your network and try again later.” Or “Sorry, we can’t connect to your account. Please try again later.”

    Solution – Try the following solutions to troubleshoot the aforementioned error.

    • Utilize Microsoft 365 Support and Recovery Assistant to fix the activation issue.
    • Check for the correct license under Microsoft 365 Settings.
    • Remove the existing product key to activate the Microsoft Office program
    • Check for proxy servers and firewall blocking
  • Problem2 – Glitches in the Microsoft Teams application of Microsoft 365 while working on the Safari browser.

    Solution – Before running Microsoft Teams in the Safari browser, you can try unselecting the Prevent cross-site tracking setting from the browser Preferences>Privacy section. But ensure to again select this setting for other browsings after your work on Teams is completed.

  • Problem3 – Update issues in Microsoft 365 such as failure in installing or detecting updates

    Solution – Check for all network connections, Check Microsoft 365 update channels from File>Office Account>About Outlook.

  • Problem4 – Add-in issues in Microsoft 365 such as programs shut down/crash, slow performance, etc.

    Solution: Disable add-ins and run Microsoft 365 applications without them and run it in safe mode as suggested.

  • Problem5 – Temporary server issues while attempting to sign in to Microsoft 365 account for its activation after the installation.

    Solution: Perform workarounds like checking internet connectivity, resetting browser (IE) settings, repairing Office online, disabling two-step verification for the account, and running Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant

  • Problem6 – Office setup freezes or stops responding due to corruption in the installation file.

    Solution: Use the Microsoft Office Uninstall wizard to remove the currently installed Office completely and then re-install Office.

  • Problem7 – SharePoint Online issues like unable to share content with external users, no picture showing up in user’s profile, site collection creation issue, access denied issue, library sync issue, SharePoint tenant storage issues, etc. and OneDrive issues like OneDrive site collection provisioning issue, issues while changing storage quota, sync issue (OneDrive & sync client), OneDrive web access issue, etc.

    Solution: Run respective diagnostics in Microsoft 365 Admin Center for the specific SharePoint Online and OneDrive issues.

  • Problem8 – Error: UserAlreadyBeingMigratedException while trying to enable or disable an archive mailbox for the Microsoft 365 user.

    Solution: If failed move requests due to which the error has occurred are affecting management tasks, connect to Exchange Online PowerShell and remove the request running this command – Remove-MoveRequest -Identity IdentityOfFailedRequest. Now, run the command again to enable or disable an archive mailbox for the user.

  • Problem9 – Cannot migrate archive mailbox to Microsoft 365

    Solution: Ensure to enable archive mailbox before starting mailbox migration to Microsoft 365, and reconnect on-premises archive mailbox within 30 days of disconnection.

  • Problem10 – Cloud-based Archive Mailbox cannot be accessed by Outlook Web App in a hybrid deployment. Instead, an error appears – “Your archive appears to be unavailable. Try to access it again in 10 seconds. If you see this error again, contact your Help Desk.”

    Solution: To fix the problem, update root certificates by running the Windows update on the Exchange hybrid server, and the run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard again.

  • Problem11 – Items are duplicated in the Microsoft 365 archive mailbox while an active IMAP migration batch is running, or the MRM retention policy is enabled.

    Solution: Pause or stop the running migration batch, remove duplicate items manually, or delete the migrated mailbox entirely and try to migrate it again. Also, you can disable the MRM Retention Policy before starting the migration batch.

  • Problem12 – Unable to receive emails in Outlook 365

    Solution: Check the correct working of the Inbound mail flow via the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer tool (perform Inbound SMTP email test under Office 365 tab>Internet Email Tests).

  • Problem13 – Can’t connect to a Skype user account

    Solution: After enabling multi-factor authentication for the account, you have to use the app password to connect to Skype for Business and if you have selected the option saying, “Allow users to create app passwords to sign in to non-browser applications”, then you can create a separate app password also.

  • Problem14 – Failure in signing out of the Microsoft 365 web services

    Solution: Try solutions such as signing out the Microsoft 365 account, and signing in again, closing and launching browsers again, signing out of all Microsoft online services, clearing web browser cache and cookies, etc.

  • Problem15 – Unable to send emails on Windows 10

    Solution: Check for missing messages on Outlook on the web, run Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant tool, check Microsoft 365 service health, and use the inbuilt message trace tool in Microsoft 365.

  • Problem 16 – Can’t use Autodiscover or Setup wizards

    Solution: Check the default Autodiscover URL, use Microsoft 365 Support and Recovery Assistant tool to run an automatic check for the issue, update the Outlook application to the latest version, test the working of Exchange Autodiscover via Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer.

  • Problem 17 – Repair process for an Office Click-to-Run application does not start

    Solution: Perform online repair on the installed Microsoft 365 program.

  • Problem 18 – Can’t search inactive mailboxes in Exchange Online

    Solution: To the Discovery Management Role group in Exchange Online, add the View-only Recipients Role.

  • Problem 19 – Litigation Hold users cannot delete messages in Microsoft 365 (cannot clear Deleted Items folder, mailbox items, or create copies of items)

    Solution: Use this command to review for each affected mailbox folder statistics and duplicate items analysis –

    Get-MailboxFolderStatistics <UserIdentity> -IncludeAnalysis | ? {$_.name -like “Deletions” -or $_.name -like “Purges” -or $_.name -like “Versions” -or $_.name -like “Recoverable Items”} | FL Name,ItemsInFolder,FolderSize,*Subject*

    If you are an administrator and member of User MRM Management or SSA Records Management and the Recoverable Items Folder size is more than 30GB, then execute this command.

    Start-ManagedFolderAssistant <UserIdentity> -HoldCleanup

  • Problem 20 – Error “We can’t display your message right now. Something went wrong and your encrypted message couldn’t be opened. To view the message, follow the instructions in the original email message and try again,” while attempting to view an encrypted message.

    Solution: Fix this problem by resetting the MIME types related to the default Outlook Web App policy to its default values. For this, first, connect to Exchange Online using Remote PowerShell and then run the following cmdlets one after another.

    $owapolicy = Get-OwaMailboxPolicy
    Set-OwaMailboxPolicy -AllowedMimeTypes @{remove = “text/html”} -BlockedMimeTypes @{remove = “text/html”} -ForceSaveMimeTypes @{add = “text/html”} -Identity $owapolicy.Identity

  • Problem 21 – Microsoft 365 Import Job fails with MailboxAmbiguous error in the Import Job log file while importing PST files via Network Upload or Drive Shipping method.

    Solution: First, to check whether objects are recipients or soft-deleted users, execute these commands.

    Get-Recipient <SMTP_ADDRESS>
    Get-Mailbox <SMTP_ADDRESS> -SoftDeletedMailbox
    Get-MailUser <SMTP_ADDRESS> -SoftDeletedMailUser

    Once the user is identified, utilize the Exchange GUID as the target mailbox while mapping with the CSV file.

  • Problem 22 – Having email issues after adding a custom domain in Microsoft 365

    Solution: Ensure that mailboxes are created for everyone in the cloud platform, for those who hold the email in the domain before changing the MX record when you add a custom domain to your Microsoft 365 account.

  • Problem 23 – Issue (Error: List ‘|0’ does not exist at site with URL ‘|1’) when creating documents in Microsoft 365 portal

    Solution: Try restoring Documents Library from the Recycle Bin and if failed, create a “Documents” list on your Team Site.

  • Problem 24 – Unable to setup Microsoft 365 on your iOS device

    Solution: Check for the correct assigned Exchange Online license, check whether the Exchange ActiveSync of the account is enabled, and try resetting the password for the account also.

  • Problem 25 – Missing email after moving from WorkSpace to Microsoft 365

    Solution: If folders or messages are missing on the Outlook on the Web but available on the WorkSpace webmail, restore deleted items from the Deleted Items folder, and if folders or messages are missing from both Outlook on the Web, and Workspace WebMail, contact for official help.

  • Problem 26 – Error when you try to turn on/off the search Audit Log in Microsoft 365

    Solution: Check that the user is assigned the Audit Logs Role in the Exchange Online. By default, global admins in Microsoft 365 are members of the Organization Management role group to which the Audit Logs role is assigned by default but the user needs to check this permission to fix the issue.

  • Problem 27 – Archive Status is set to “None” for an active archive mailbox while checking the archive status of the mailbox in the Exchange Online PowerShell.

    Solution: To check the status of the archive, use ArchiveDatabase and ArchiveGuid properties using the following command.

    Get-mailboxUserName|fl archivedatabase,archiveguid

Similar issues can arise during Office 365 migrations too. The best solution to these problems is either taking help from an expert who knows how to deal with Microsoft 365 migration, or using third-party tools like Kernel Office 365 Migration (https://www.nucleustechnologies.com/office-365-migration/), Kernel Migrator for SharePoint (https://www.nucleustechnologies.com/sharepoint-migration/), Kernel IMAP to Office 365 (https://www.nucleustechnologies.com/imap-to-office-365/), etc. for a smooth and seamless migration.

Wrap Up

No doubt, Office 365 is a beneficial platform for organizations, but users may face some problems while using it. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the common issues with Office 365 and how they can be solved. In this article, we tried to highlight the most common problems faced by Office 365 users and recommended some reliable professional solutions for them.