How To: Use the Microsoft BPOS Single Sign In on a Mac (with a HUGE Gotcha for Outlook 2011 and Mail users)

Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) is the 2007-based iteration (Exchange 2007, Office Live Communicator, etc.) of Microsoft’s Online Services offering.  Microsoft Office 365 is the 2010-based iteration (Exchange 2010, Lync 2010, etc.).  At present, BPOS is live, and Office 365 has a “target release date” of mid-summer this year (2011).  A future article will cover the migration path from BPOS to Office 365, once said migration path is released to the beta users.

For details on the differences between Microsoft BPOS and Office 365, please see the links below:

BPOS: http://www.microsoft.com/online/business-productivity.aspx

Office 365: http://office365.microsoft.com/en-US/online-services.aspx#slide-1

At present, the BPOS edition requires the use of a Single Sign In application (Office 365 will not require this and will be more tightly-integrated with the Microsoft LiveID system).

One question we get asked rather frequently is, “Does BPOS work on a Mac?”

Yes, yes it does.

Caveat: Outlook 2011 and Mail users should read the “HUGE Gotcha” in step 7.

1) On your Mac, go to http://home.microsoftonline.com

2) Once you log in, you’ll see a link to “Download Sign In”… go ahead and click the link:

   

     …which in turn takes you to the Microsoft Download Center, where you must click another download button:

    

     …and save the DMG file somewhere you can find and mount it.

3) Once you’ve mounted (opened) the DMG file you just downloaded, go ahead and drag-and-drop it into your Applications folder:

    

4) Navigate to your Applications folder and double-click on the “Microsoft Online Services Sign In” application:

    

     …and click Open if you get this security warning:

    

5) Run through the setup, accepting the default options (Next > Accept > Next > Finish)

6) Put in your username and password, check both the boxes for “Remember my user name” and “Remember my password,” and click the “Sign in” button:

    

7) Once logged in, the sign in application will search your Mac for supported applications and will configure them automatically for you… but with a HUGE Gotcha.  Unless you’re an Entourage 2008 user, the Microsoft Single Sign In application will not automatically configure your e-mail client for you.  Sorry Mail and Outlook 2011 users… as of the time of this writing, your e-mail application is not supported by the Single Sign In application.

For Entourage 2008 users, you’re done.  Enjoy BPOS!

For Outlook 2011 and Mail users, please read on.

Outlook 2011 BPOS Configuration for Mac

1) Quit out of Outlook completely, including the “Office Reminders” helper application:

   

2) Hold down the “Option” key on your Mac’s keyboard, and then click on the Outlook icon… keep holding down the “Option” key until the Microsoft Database Utility appears, at which point you’ll want to click the “+” button to add a new identity:

    

3) Name the identity something useful, and then right-click (control-left-click) the identity and choose “Set Default,” at which point you’ll notice that the identity you just created is in bold:

    

4) Close the Microsoft Database Utility, and then re-open Outlook 2011… then go to Tools > Accounts:

   

5) On the Accounts screen, choose “Exchange Account”:

   

6) Put in your e-mail address twice, your password once, make sure that “Configure automatically” is checked, and click the “Add Account” button:

   

7) Check the “Always use my response for this server” checkbox and click the Allow button:

   

     …and remember… patience, grasshopper.  This takes a minute or two to auto-configure.

8) Change the “Account description” to something helpful, then close out of the Accounts screen.

   

    You’re all set!  You should now see your mail, contacts & calendar in Outlook.

Mail BPOS Configuration for Mac

Note: This assumes a first-time configuration, as I have not had reason to set up Mail prior to writing this How To article.  If you already have Mail configured and want to add BPOS Exchange as an additional account, I’d recommend watching the following video:

(Thanks to Virorum Ltd for taking the time to make this video!)

1) Start up Mail

2) Put in your name, e-mail address and password, and click Continue:

   

     …and remember… patience, grasshopper.  This too takes a minute or two to auto-configure.

3) Once your settings are auto-configured, ensure that “Address Book contacts” and “iCal calendars” are both checked and click the Create button:

   

Thankfully, Microsoft has correctly configured the Autodiscover service correctly such that many different e-mail clients (Outlook 2007, 2010, 2011, Mail) can connect.  You’ll also notice a similarly simple procedure when connecting your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Android, Palm or Windows Mobile device.

HUGE Gotcha for iOS users (iPhone, iPod, iPad): You must be running iOS 4.2 or above for the Autodiscover service on Microsoft BPOS to work correctly.  This is straight from Microsoft and has been verified by testing with an iOS 4.1 and an iOS 4.2 device—the iOS 4.1 device will not automatically discover the e-mail server settings correctly.  You must upgrade to iOS 4.2 or later (which simply amounts to plugging the iOS device into your computer, firing up iTunes, and clicking the “Yes” button when prompted to back up and upgrade your device).

How To: Merging multiple PST files in Outlook into one Master archive

Note: This entry has also been posted on my company's website here: http://blog.cwps.com/bid/57269/How-To-Merging-Multiple-PST-Files-in-Outlook-i...

A customer had gone through several computers with several iterations of Outlook.  Per Microsoft’s default preferences (grumble grumble), each different Outlook profile insisted on creating its own Auto-Archive folder in the user’s Application Data directory.

Obviously, this is bad from a backup perspective—what had prompted this question was the fact that her old computer’s hard drive had died, having succumbed to the “click of death.”  She lost everything that wasn’t backed up on the network drive (including, presumably, the latest iteration of her local Auto-Archive folder).  We continue to suggest to all customers that they:

1) Turn off Auto-Archiving

2) Manually create an archive PST file on the network drive (which should be backed up nightly)

3) Name the PST file something useful (like 2008 Archives)

4) Drag-and-drop items as needed into the new archive folder, making sure to not let it get too large—if it does, repeat steps 2-4 to create a new archive and break it out further

At any rate, I was looking for a way to combine multiple PST files into one—in order to consolidate all of the old Auto-Archives (some of which had thankfully been moved to the network drive prior to her hard drive crashing) from previous Outlook profiles into one master archive file.

Note: I made sure that combining the files wouldn’t create an archive larger than 1-2 GB.  There are different schools of thought on “what Outlook can effectively handle” regarding the size of archive PST files—I tend to play it safe and break things out into multiple smaller archives, rather than one large one.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any truly freeware applications out “in the wild.”  Everyone wanted $29.99.  I was convinced I could do it for free.

Note: The next steps & screenshots are from Outlook 2010.  Steps will differ in Outlook 2003 & 2007.

For my test, I created three archive files: 1, 2 and 3.  Within each, I created subfolders.  Archive 1 had folder 1.  Archive 2 had folder 2 and folder 1.  Archive 3 had folder 3, folder 2 and folder 1.  Folder 1 always contained copies of the same item (three in total once merged—if it doesn’t eliminate duplicates).  Folder 2 also contained copies of the same item (though different from the item in folder 1)… for a total of two copies once merged).  Folder 3 contained one item:

 

I then created a “Master” PST on the network drive that is to contain the merged contents of archives 1, 2 and 3:

 

Once named & saved it to the network drive, we can see that it’s blank:

 

So, with “Master” highlighted in my Folder List view, I went to File > Open > Import:

 

I then said “Import from another program or file”:

 

…and “Outlook Data File (.pst)”:


Unfortunately, as I discovered, you have to close the PST file first:

 

…so after closing the file:

 

…I ran the same steps again, making sure to select “Do not import duplicates”:

…and match the options below:

 

I then repeated the process for archives 2 and 3… closing the archive, importing into the Master archive, and checking the contents:

At this point, I moved the physical 1, 2 and 3 PST files to a folder marked “Old Archives – Merged into Master Archive.”

The final (and most important) step is to change the Auto-Archive location in Outlook to be the same as the Master archive PST file:

Now, all of the archives are in one Master PST file, safely tucked away on a backed up network drive.