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About the author: Jonathan Stuckey

What Microsoft don't tell you with global outage

Have you see today's Microsoft Admin Service Health Dashboard? No?

8 issues. 2 Incidents. 6 Advisories.

This translates to random mayhem for users, and major frustrations if you are business support person with (limited) experience of managing Microsoft 365 platform

The reality behind seemingly random issues in your business

If you have the right level of access the 365 service health-report can be seen from the admin centre: via and you will get to see glorious detail like:

Unless you've been schooled on how to read this you may never realise that a combination of key-word "Incident" and affected service including: "Microsoft 365 suite" or "Office for the Web" - and you can kiss your well balanced temperament good-bye.

This combination of labelling means:

  1. this is likely a global outage of services

  2. it will affect anyone access documents or content which use Office webapps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Visio) *and* viewers of PDFs, Images.

  3. depending on other issues - this could result in random behaviour on desktop applications or mobile apps which access content.

This combination is unpredictable in how it presents with users and day-to-day work.

What to do when the sky is falling (for users).

To quote Douglas Adams "don't panic", but be prepared for a few frustrations and dead-ends in troubleshooting.

This is why we always teach our clients to:

  1. clear the browser cache and re-test. (see related links below)

  2. check the online Office 365 health-status site (or twitter feed). See Resources

Today's painful example

Deconstructing the 15 separate tickets and calls we intercepted between 11am NZT and 3pm NZT, we had:

  • People unable to access a document in a library, where user was site-owner and content was their own created this morning.

  • Opening a document in webapp displayed (weird) layering of document over system Error screen (in classic SharePoint / .Net yellow error page)

  • Synchronisation of access to Word documents from library failing to complete with random error

  • Word desktop application failing to open (download) and access cached content - but down load a copy worked

...the list goes on.

We could have spent hours diagnosing permissions, testing document create/edit/display/sync tests, user-validation on document, converting item so can access document structure and confirm not corrupt, run validation tests in various sites, library configurations etc...

In fact one of my colleagues did some of this - but he's very practiced and his run-through took him 15 minutes to do.

OR we could do the 5-minute 1-2-3-4 check:

  1. check network issues (actually reach site/service)

  2. check browser-cache (clear, and retry)

  3. check permissions (person has right privileges

  4. then *check the service health* (did Microsoft break it)

On checking the service health we found 7 issues - most of which were being monitored for impact.

On review the details of MO402741 we saw..:

Users may be unable to use multiple Microsoft 365 services

MO402741, Last updated: July 21, 2022 4:46 PM

Estimated start time: July 21, 2022 3:32 PM

Affected services:

Microsoft 365 suite, Office for the web, OneDrive for Business, Power Apps in Microsoft 365, SharePoint Online, Yammer Enterprise

Issue type: Incident

Issue origin: Microsoft

Status: Service degradation

Manage notifications for this issue

User impact

Users may be unable to use multiple Microsoft 365 services.

All updates

July 21, 2022 4:32 PM

Title: Users may be unable to use multiple Microsoft 365 services

User Impact: Users may be unable to use multiple Microsoft 365 services.

More info: Users may experience issues including but not limited to the following Microsoft 365 services: - Microsoft Teams (Access, chat, and meetings) - Exchange Online (Delays sending mail) - Microsoft 365 Admin center (Inability to access) - Microsoft Word within multiple services (Inability to load) - Office Online (Microsoft Word access issues) - SharePoint Online (Microsoft Word access issues) - Project Online (Inability to access) - PowerPlatform and PowerAutomate (Inability to create an environment with a database) - Autopatches within Microsoft Managed Desktop - Yammer (Impact to Yammer experiments) - Windows 365 (Unable to provision Cloud PCs)

Current status: We’re observing continued improvement for a majority of the functions within the Microsoft 365 apps. We’re focused on the areas that have not recovered and are taking action to restore service at the highest priority.

Scope of impact: This issue may potentially affect any user attempting to utilize any of the listed Microsoft 365 services.

Root cause: A recent deployment contained a broken connection to an internal storage service, which is causing an issue in which users may be unable to access or use various Microsoft 365 apps or functions.

Next update by: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 6:00 PM (6:00 AM UTC)


What next?

Well basically communication is required - telling our customers the basics:

i. Microsoft broke the service. They are in process of fixing it.

ii. no it is not you/your-colleagues fault

iii. close browser/tab for Microsoft 365. Give it an hour and try again.

iv. we will let everyone know when we see problem(s) resolved

So the moral of the story is "dont make more work for your self than necessary". My gripe is Microsoft could provide better examples of the likely impact *and* what Incident label really means for users


If you need to you can check current status for Office 365 services you have:

About the author: Jonathan Stuckey


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