Computer Stuff

Notes on multiple Office accounts from same organisation

The official line from MS is that you can’t have multiple accounts from the same organisation signed-in to office at the same time. You can’t use the Office account switcher in the top-right. If you try to sign in with another user from your org, you will get the following message:

..and your only option is to sign-out the first user, possibly disconnect the Work or School account. Unfortunately, if the first user is the only one that has a license to activate the office desktop apps, then you probably do not want to sign-out of it.

The trick is usually to add your secondary account into Outlook, and allow Outlook to add it as a Work or School account. This results in both accounts showing up in the Office Account Switcher, and you can click between them, with the apps staying activated, OneDrive / Sharepoint, cloud settings and recent files working properly, even if the secondary account only has a basic license without desktop apps.

I recently had an issue where this didn’t work, and for the life of me I could not get it to work. I could not get the secondary account to add itself in to the account switcher without signing out of the main account first – which de-activates Office. It seems that if you do things in the wrong order, it’s nearly impossible to get it right again. The ability to choose your identity within the same org can be quite important, and not just for activation purposes.

Here are my notes from just now, to save myself the hours of messing next time.

On a new computer or new user profile, it seems that if you start out by adding the fully licensed (Business Standard or Premium) email account to Outlook, and activating the product with the same, then you can add the secondary account to Outlook during the Outlook welcome screen, and both accounts will stay active in the account switcher in all office apps.

If you somehow end up with it not working (e.g., accounts added in wrong order, or main account signed-out), then it’s a nightmare to fix. After much trial and error, this seems to work:

  • Disconnect both work or school accounts
  • Remove outlook profile
  • Delete all of HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office
  • Delete %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneAuth

Then proceed as per new computer / profile above. The requirement to use Outlook might have something to do with the main email account corresponding to the entry in LicenseIdToEmailMapping

There are many times when it seems that you have it working, but then closing and reopening Word or Excel a couple of times causes the inactive account to be removed, and the apps become deactivated.

Mikrotik CAPsMAN out-of-hours Wi-Fi disablement / time-conditions.

Script scheduled to run every minute.

:local time [/system clock get time];
:if ($time >= "19:00:00" || $time <= "06:30:00") do={
	:foreach i in=[/caps-man interface find where disabled=no] do={:log info "Disabling CAPsMAN interface $i due to out-of-hours time"; /caps-man interface disable $i}
} else={
	:foreach i in=[/caps-man interface find where disabled=yes] do={:log info "Enabling CAPsMAN interface $i due to workday-hours"; /caps-man interface enable $i}

Outlook does not ask for password when adding new 365 account whose address was previously used as an alias (proxy-address) of an existing account

Yeah, good luck googling for “outlook does not ask for password”! It’s the exact opposite of what used to torment most Outlook users with Exchange accounts for quite a few years after RPC over HTTPS (Outlook Anywhere) was first introduced.

This is Outlook version 2111 Build 16.0.14701.20240 (365 subscription) on Windows 10. a.k.a. Outlook 2019 to 2021 ish.

My customer has a number of mailboxes, all full accounts (added to Outlook as accounts, rather than via delegation), and one of those accounts has quite a few aliases (proxy SMTP addresses). She wants one of those aliases putting as a separate mailbox.

I removed the alias email address, then created a new mailbox with that email address, with an Exchange Online Plan 1 license. Everything went OK server/cloud side, and I could log in via OWA, but any attempt to add the account to Outlook resulted in no prompt for the credentials. It just said ‘done’, but then when trying to access the mailbox, I would get “The attempt to log on to Microsoft Exchange has failed”.

Much faffing around with new Outlook profiles, checking of Saved Credentials in the credential manager, didn’t work.

The solution was to go to Access work or school, and then remove the Workplace or school account of the original account (the one that used to have the problem-address as an alias).

Then, I tried to add in the new account as a Work or School account, but that didn’t work. This may be because it’s an Exchange Online Plan 1 license rather than a full 365 Business Basic license. I stopped using Exchange Online Plan 1 for my customers a while ago and was giving everyone Business Basic licenses, since it was only 80p per month extra in cost, but these licenses are due a 20% price increase soon, amongst other Microsoft price increases and increased minimum-term commitments, so Exchange Plan 1 is back on the cards for basic email requirements.

After the failure to add this new account as a Work or School account, I instead added it to Email & accounts in Windows 10. This then magically added it as a Workplace account as well. I then removed the Email account from Windows 10, because I don’t want to use the Mail app and the Windows 10 notifications. Happily, the Workplace account remained in place.

I reopened Outlook. Outlook prompted for credentials for the original Workplace account that I removed earlier. I gave the credentials and allowed it to add the account back in to Windows as a Workplace account (‘use this account everywhere’. ‘allow my organisation to manage my device’).

I then proceeded to add the new ex-alias problem-account into Outlook. Outlook did not prompt for credentials, but things took a touch longer than last time (when it didn’t work), and this is fine, because the credentials are stored with the Workplace account already. After closing and reopening Outlook, all is well.

Sage 50cloud accounts / Line 50 closes after password screen. After upgrade from v26 to v28

Another Sage problem.

The same old crap – program disappears after the splash screen, or after entering your password. In this case it was after entering password.

Only this time, the cause, or at least the fix, was different. After an hour of pissing-about re-installing, rebooting, deleting everything I could find related to Sage, re-installing again, etc., I remembered the dot-net trick, gave it a go, and whaddaya know, it worked.

The fix, is to go into Windows’ Programs and Features, then Turn Windows features on or off, and turn off .NET Framework 3.5, and also 4.8. Let that take effect, reboot, then turn them back on.

Jobs a goodun.

Do yourself a favour and move to Xero.

Sage 50 Data Access will not install. Fails & rolls back at ODBC stage.

The machine is a terminal server. Windows Server 2012 a.k.a. Windows 8.

These are the MSI log lines of interest. Specifically the ‘wrong context’.

MSI (s) (88:A4) [11:25:47:730]: Created Custom Action Server with PID 5344 (0x14E0).
MSI (s) (88:A8) [11:25:47:754]: Running as a service.
MSI (s) (88:A8) [11:25:47:757]: Custom Action Server rejected - Wrong Context
MSI (s) (88:A4) [11:25:47:760]: CA Server Process has terminated.
MSI (s) (88:BC) [11:25:47:760]: Failed to get IMsiCustomAction*
11/05/2021 11:25:47.761 [7048]: Assembly Install: Failing with hr=80070005 at RemoveDirectoryAndChildren, line 393

Custom MSI actions & terminal server wrong context is a known thing apparently, introduced as an issue around Windows 7 / Server 2008 times with some updates to Windows Installer.
The issue seems particularly common with ODBC related packages, and I suspect this is because there are separate User and System contexts for ODBC configurations. Something is getting confused somewhere.

People say to revert various Windows Updates to downgrade the Windows Installer version.
Unfortunately none of that could be applied here for this Server 2012 machine – all the discussion I found was around Server 2008 / Windows Vista/7.

The other suggested workaround of using psexec did work though, and after a day of fighting this, it will do.

psexec -s -i msiexec /i "c:\users\administrator\Downloads\Sage Accounts 27_2\packages\Sage50Accounts_DataAccess.msi"

Don’t forget you need the full path, because the task runs in a new session / environment as the system account, and will not have the current working directory as its working directory.

If you are installing the whole thing rather than just the DataAccess components, leave off the msiexec /i and just call the installer executable:

psexec -s -i  "c:\users\administrator\Downloads\Sage Accounts 27_2\install.exe"

LINX 12×64 tablet PC cameras not working, BIOS settings kaput, etc.

No it’s not the Windows drivers! The BIOS (UEFI) configuration utility on these things is not built to match the hardware at all. In fact it is wide-open with all the options that the original BIOS-software-supplier has available – most options that are not valid choices for the actual machine at all. A hackers dream perhaps, but a nightmare on this occasion.

Whatever you do, do not do a ‘load defaults’, because you’ll lose the LCD display as well!

If you do lose the LCD display, you’ll need to buy a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter cable, so that you can plug a big HDMI screen or TV into the tablet, and get back into the BIOS setup, from where you can set the LCD-out to EDP, instead of MIPI or whatever it’s been accidentally set to.

Now, forgetting the above, and even knowing that the problem with the cameras is actually down to the configuration options in the BIOS setup utility, I still could not get the cameras going! There are too many options. It’s not just the list of cameras (front: 6 different camera types, rear: 8 different camera types, or vice-versa), there is more to it than that. I suspect some kind of multiplexer or GPIO module which allows the switching between front/rear camera.. yet more options to which we don’t know the correct setup.

As luck would have it, somebody from LINX / Exertis responded to my email request for help – which was a surprise because their auto-responder said that they would only help with in-warranty requests for hardware support. I had given up hope, but a week or so after my initial email, I received a helpful response from Mr Moores at Exertis, with links to an updated BIOS for the machine, and the promise that loading this would apply all the correct settings for the machine, for camera, and other things that probably weren’t working correctly but had yet to come to light. It also purportedly improves WiFi with Windows 10.

I tried it, and it worked!

You can find the file here.

Windows failed to start because a required driver is missing or corrupt: vmbus.sys

Upgrading Server 2003 to 2008, with Hyper-V Integration Services installed, results in this boot failure after a few hours :-/

In hindsight, you should remove integration services first.

Without the benefit of hindsight:

  • Shut down the virtual machine.
  • Using Computer Management -> Disk Management on the Hyper-V host, attach the .VHD file, so that you are mounting the virtual HD of the affected guest.
  • Ensure your Windows Explorer is set to show hidden & system files.
  • Open up regedit, then go to HKLM.
  • File -> Load Hive
  • Browse to the virtual HD -> Windows -> System32 -> Config
  • Choose the ‘SYSTEM’ hive, and when prompted for a name, type ‘broken’, or the name of the machine or something, and press enter.
  • The affected VM machine’s registry is now showing under HKLM->’broken’.
  • Browse to ControlSet001 (do the same for 002, etc.), \Services\vmbus
  • Delete the whole vmbus key (folder).
  • When done, highlight ‘broken’ (where the registry is attached to), and go to File -> Unload Hive.
  • Then go back to disk management and detach the VHD.
  • Try to start the VM so that the final stage of the in-place upgrade can continue.

After the upgrade finishes, you will probably have no networking, no mouse, and other issues.

You should try (sans-mouse) to switch the HAL from ACPI to APIC (as per here)*. Upon reboot, the vmbus issue may return (did it re-install itself?), and so have to repeat the above procedure.
Once the system has booted up with an APIC HAL, you can try to re-install Integration Services properly.

Fingers crossed :-*

(*incidently, I am all done now – the system is working just fine. I had to re-install the integration services, but device manager still shows an ACPI HAL for me. This is x86 Server 2008 (upgraded from 2003). A very temporary measure).

Hint: if the special function keys (start menu, ctrl-esc, alt-tab, etc), are not passing through to the guest: Ctrl-Alt-End will get you to task manager, from there Alt-F -> Run, cmd to open up a command prompt, from the command prompt: taskkill /im taskmgr.exe so that you can get rid of the always-on-top taskmgr that’s in the way, then do your stuff. sysdm.cpl for system properties/device manager, etc.