Office 365 for business FAQ

Office 365 for business FAQ

What is Office 365? How is it different from Microsoft Office?

“Office 365” refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services), such as Lync web conferencing and Exchange Online hosted email for business, and additional online storage with SkyDrive and Skype world minutes for home.
Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of the latest Office applications, which users can install across multiple computers and devices. The Office 365 plans that are online-only are a great choice for certain business needs, and they are compatible with desktop versions of the latest version of Office, Office 2010, Office 2007 (with slightly limited functionality), Office 2011 for Mac, and Office 2008 for Mac.
All Office 365 plans are paid for on a subscription basis, monthly or annually.
“Microsoft Office” is the name we still use for our familiar productivity software. Office suites have traditionally included applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. All the new Office suites (for example, Office Standard 2013) include the latest versions of these applications. These suites can be installed on only one PC and do not come with any cloud-based services included in Office 365.

Will Office 365 work with my copy of Office?

Office 365 works best with the latest version of Office, Office 2010, and Office 2011 for Mac. Office 365 works with slightly limited functionality with Office 2007. If you have an earlier edition of Office, you will need to update to a newer version of Office in order to use Office 365; or you can subscribe to one of the many Office 365 plans that include the latest version of Office. In addition to getting the latest version of Office as part of your subscription, you will also get automatic updates, so your Office will always be up to date. Compare plans.

Is Internet access required for Office 365?

Internet access is required to install and activate all Office 365 plans and to manage your subscription account. Internet connectivity is also required to access Office 365 cloud productivity services, including email, conferencing, IT management, and other services.
Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of Office, for example, Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Enterprise E3. One of the benefits of having the desktop version of Office applications is that you can work offline and have the confidence that the next time you connect to the Internet all your work will automatically sync, so you never have to worry about your documents being up to date. Your desktop version of Office is also automatically kept up to date and upgraded when you connect to the Internet, so you always have the latest tools to help you work. Compare Office 365 plans.

What is the cloud?

“The cloud” is a friendly way of describing web-based computing services that are hosted outside of your organization. When you use cloud-based services, your IT infrastructure resides off your property (off-premises), and is maintained by a third party (hosted), instead of residing on a server at your home or business (on-premises) that you maintain. With Office 365, for example, information storage, computation, and software are located and managed remotely on servers owned by Microsoft. Many services you use every day are a part of the cloud—everything from web-based email to mobile banking and online photo storage. Because this infrastructure is located online or “in the cloud,” you can access it virtually anywhere, from a PC, tablet, smartphone, or other device with an Internet connection.

How many users does Office 365 support?

Office 365 is highly scalable and can support everything from a one-person business to companies with tens of thousands of users:
Office 365 small business plans are best for companies with up to 10 employees, and can accommodate up to 25 users.
Office 365 Midsize Business is best for companies with 11 to 250 employees, and can accommodate up to 300 users.
Office 365 enterprise plans fit organizations ranging in size from a single employee to 50,000-plus users.

What do I need to install when I sign up for Office 365?

You don’t need to install anything in order to use Office 365.
To help you easily connect your desktop version of the latest version of Office, Office 2010, or Office 2007 to Office 365, Microsoft provides Office 365 customers an installable piece of software—called “Office Desktop Setup”—at no charge.
Office Desktop Setup provides many benefits, including:

  • Automatically detecting necessary updates.
  • Installing updates and components upon approval or silently from a command line.
  • Automatically configuring Outlook and Microsoft Lync for use with Microsoft Office 365.
  • Uninstalling itself from the client computer after running.

You can find and install Office Desktop Setup in your Office 365 administration center.

If your plan includes a subscription to Office, you will also be able to install that directly from the Office 365 administration center.

What if I already own a domain name?

You can add the domain name you own to Office 365 to create both domain-based email addresses and a public-facing website.

What do I need to do to add a domain name?

To add your organization’s custom domain to Office 365, you must have access to the DNS records for that domain. If you do not have access, you should contact the person at your company that manages the company domain account.

What do I need to do to add a domain name?

To add your organization’s custom domain to Office 365, you must have access to the DNS records for that domain. If you do not have access, you should contact the person at your company that manages the company domain account.

Can I switch to other Office 365 plans?

You can transition your account within plan families, for example, from Office 365 Small Business to Office 365 Small Business Premium, or from Office 365 Enterprise E1 to Office 365 Enterprise E3 or E4. You cannot transition between Office 365 plan families, that is, from an Office 365 Small Business plan to Office 365 Midsize Business or an Office 365 Enterprise plan, or vice versa. In order to change from a plan in one family to another (for example, from a Small Business plan to the Midsize Business plan, or from the Midsize Business plan to an Enterprise plan), you must first cancel your account with the plan you currently have, and then sign up for a different one.

Can I cancel my subscription at any time?

You can cancel your subscription at any time. However, depending on the product and the type of subscription you have, there may be a penalty for canceling before the end of your contract. For subscriptions with a month-to-month commitment there is no penalty for cancelling your contract at any time. Subscriptions with an annual commitment may incur some penalties if canceled early. Read the complete Microsoft Online Subscription Agreement.

What happens to my data if I cancel my subscription?

Your data is yours. If you decide to cancel your Office 365 subscription, you can download your data—for example, your email and documents on team sites—and save it to another location. You should save your data before you cancel. All the data associated with your Office 365 account is deleted 90 days after cancellation.

I will need extra help setting up Office 365. Who can help?

Microsoft experts are trained IT and development companies that can help you move to Office 365 or develop custom solutions for your business. You can find a listing of all of our Microsoft experts in Microsoft Pinpoint.

Volume License Activation

What is Volume Activation?
Volume Activation is a product activation technology that was first introduced with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. It is designed to allow Volume License customers to automate the activation process in a way that is transparent to end users.

Volume Activation applies only to systems that are covered under a Volume Licensing program and is used strictly as a tool for activation. It is not tied to license invoicing or billing.

Volume Activation provides two different models for completing volume activations. Either or both key types may be used by customers to activate systems in their organization:

  • Key Management Service (KMS)
    KMS allows organizations to activate systems within their own network.
  • Multiple Activation Key (MAK)
    MAK activates systems on a one-time basis, using Microsoft’s hosted activation services.

Important: As part of your installation, it is important to plan and manage deployment of any product using Volume Activation.

What is the Key Management Service (KMS)?
The Key Management Service (KMS) is an activation service that allows organizations to activate systems within their own network, eliminating the need for individual computers to connect to Microsoft for product activation. It does not require a dedicated system and can be easily co-hosted on a system that provides other services.

KMS requires a minimum number of either physical or virtual computers in a network environment. These minimums, called activation thresholds, are set so that they are easily met by Enterprise customers.

  • Activation Thresholds for Windows – Your organization must have at least five (5) computers to activate servers running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 and at least twenty-five (25) computers to activate client systems running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
  • Activation Thresholds for Office – Your organization must have at least five (5) computers running Office 2010, Project 2010, or Visio 2010 to activate installed Office products using KMS. For more information about Volume Activation of Office products (that is, Office 2010, Project 2010, and Visio 2010), see the Volume Activation Quick Start Guide for Office 2010, and Volume Activation Overview for Office 2010.

What is a Multiple Activation Key (MAK)?
A Multiple Activation Key (MAK) activates systems on a one-time basis, using Microsoft’s hosted activation services (that is, it requires connection with a Microsoft activation server). Once computers are activated, no further communication with Microsoft is required.
Important: Each MAK has a predetermined number of allowed activations, based on your Volume Licensing agreement. Contact the Microsoft Activation Center to increase your MAK activation limit.
You can activate licenses in one of two ways using MAK:

  • MAK Independent Activation – Each computer individually connects to Microsoft via the web or telephone to complete activation.
  • MAK Proxy Activation – One centralized activation request is made on behalf of multiple computers with a single connection to Microsoft online or by telephone. This method uses the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), which is a part of the Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). VAMT enables IT Professionals to automate and centrally manage the Volume Activation process using MAK, and includes a check on the number of activations on the MAK.

Can Customer use both MAK and KMS for deployment across my organization?
Yes. Volume Licensing customers can use KMS, MAK, or a combination of each to activate systems in their organization.

SQL Server + CAL Licensing

SQL Server + CAL Licensing

When licensing SQL Server software under the Server+CAL model, customers purchase a server license for each server and a client access license (CAL) for each device (Device CAL) and/or user (User CAL) accessing SQL Server or any of its components. A CAL is not software; it is a license granting users and devices access to the SQL Server software.


How to License SQL Server 2012 Using the Server+CAL Licensing Model

Under the Server+CAL licensing model, each Operating System Environment (OSE) running SQL Server 2012 software or any of its components must have a SQL Server 2012 server license assigned to the physical server hosting the OSE. Each server license allows customers to run any number of SQL Server instances in an OSE, either physical or virtual. Note: When running SQL Server software in a physical OSE, each hardware partition or blade is considered to be a separate server for licensing purposes.
To access a licensed SQL Server, each user or device must have a SQL Server CAL that is the same version or newer than the SQL Server software version being accessed. For example, to access a server running SQL Server 2012 software, a user needs a SQL Server 2012 CAL. Note: Devices not operated by humans require device CALs, even when connecting to SQL Server indirectly. For human operated devices such as PCs or hand-held terminals, a user CAL or device CAL may be used.
SQL Server CALs are version specific. Each SQL Server 2012 CAL provides access to any number of licensed SQL Server instances (SQL Server 2012 or earlier) in a customer’s organization, regardless of the platform (32-bit, 64-bit or IA64) or product edition, including legacy SQL Server Workgroup and SQL Server for Small Business edition servers. Note: Use of hardware or software that reduces the number of devices or users that directly access or use the software (multiplexing/pooling) does not reduce the number of CALs required. For details on how to license SQL Server in a multiplexed application environment, refer to the Advanced Licensing Scenarios section of this guide.

The Server+CAL licensing model is appropriate when:

Deploying the SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition.
Deploying SQL Server Standard Edition in scenarios where you can easily count users/devices and the total licensing costs are lower than using the Per Core licensing model.
Accessing multiple SQL Server databases and/or planning to scale out use of SQL Server by adding new servers over time. Once you have purchased the necessary CALs, you only need to purchase low cost server licenses for new server system deployments.
Accessing “legacy” Enterprise Edition Servers in the Server+CAL licensing model. For more detailed information on this topic, refer to the Additional Product Information section of this guide.

Office 365 Small Business Premium

Office 365 Small Business Premium

Get virtually anywhere access to Office, including Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel. Plus enterprise-grade email, a public website, HD video conferencing, and more services. Plus the ease of managing it all simply, without IT expertise.

Work better together, even on the go

Access your work through a browser, and find all your settings and documents just as you left them on your desktop—whether you’re using your tablet, smartphone, or another device.

  • Stay up to date with everyone’s changes in the same document, even if changes are made at the same time.
  • All your files are automatically backed up online, even the ones on your PC.
  • Away from your PC? Stream a full-featured version of Office on any Internet-connected

Get big business IT—no expertise needed

Deploying, managing, and safeguarding Office 365 couldn’t be simpler with an easy-to-use, web-based admin console, industry-leading virus and spam protection, and a financially backed 99.9% uptime guarantee.

  • Install and deploy Office quickly.
  • Get updates automatically.
  • Easily administer email accounts and set document-sharing and other access rules from virtually anywhere.

Look as professional as you really are

Showing the world how professional your business is has never been so easy. Create documents that will get you noticed, build an eye-catching website, host your own domain for email, and much more.

  • Design customized marketing materials that fit your brand and customers.
  • Market your business with a website that’s easy to set up and update—with no additional hosting fees.
  • Meet customers and partners online with HD video conferencing and screen sharing.

Office 365 Small Business Premium plan includes:

Familiar Office tools

Office suite included Always have the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook1, OneNote, Publisher1, and Access1.

  • Capture your ideas however you work best—using a keyboard, pen, or a touchscreen.
  • Easily format information in Excel with tools that recognize your pattern and auto-complete data.
  • Easily incorporate content from PDFs to create your own great-looking Word documents.
  • Design customized marketing materials that fit your brand and customers.
Office on more devices Experience Office on your PC, Mac, Windows tablet, and other select devices. Visit for compatible devices.
Office on any PC Stream full versions of Office programs on any PC with Office on Demand.2


Plus these online services:

Email and calendars Use business-class, web-based Outlook, including a 25 GB mailbox per user, shared calendars, and task-list tools.
Public website Design and maintain your own public website with no additional hosting fees. Use your own domain name to promote your brand.
Team sites Enable easy access and sharing of documents with 10 GB baseline storage plus 500 MB of storage per user.
Web conferencing Host online meetings with audio and video using one-click screen sharing and HD video conferencing.
Instant messaging Simplify how you connect with instant messaging and Presence (your online status).
Reliability Get peace of mind knowing your services are available with an industry-leading, financially backed 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Security Your data is yours. We safeguard it and protect your privacy.
Administration Deploy and manage Office 365 across your company, no IT expertise required. You can add and remove users in minutes.
Support Microsoft Support provides telephone and online answers, how-to resources, and connections with other Office 365 customers for setup and quick fixes.


What’s changed or removed in Office 2013

The following table contains information about what’s changed in Outlook 2013.

Title Scope Type of Change Description
Outlook Meeting Workspaces Outlook Removing the feature The Meeting workspaces feature is removed from Outlook. The entry point commands to create Meeting Workspaces is removed from both the Quick Access Toolbar and the Ribbon.
Outlook Exchange Classic offline Outlook Removing the feature Offline mode is being removed from Outlook.
Remove /Cleanfreebusy switch and code Outlook Removing the feature Users can no longer start Outlook by using the /cleanfreebusy switch. If they try this, they will receive the following message: “Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. The command line argument is not valid. Verify the switch you are using.”
Command Bars object model (OM) Outlook Modification The Command Bars OM is being changed so that built-in Command Bar objects cannot be accessed through programming.
Outlook Direct Booking Outlook Removing the feature Direct booking of resources in the calendar no longer exists.
Import/Export to Applications Outlook Removing specific file-format support from the Import/Export wizard in Outlook The ability to import/export Outlook data to legacy file formats.
Journal Module and Journaling Outlook Removing the feature The Journal Module is being removed as a top-level module, and auto-journaling is also being removed.
Outlook Links Collection Office Removing the feature Links Collection object model is removed.
Notes and Journal customization Outlook Removing the feature Notes are now only yellow and medium size.
Legacy Contact Linking Outlook Removing the feature The capability to link arbitrary Outlook items to Outlook contacts. This contact linking existed only for displaying information in the Activities tab of the contact, which is a feature that is also removed for Outlook 2013.
Outlook Activities tab Outlook Removing the feature The Activities tab on contact forms is not available for Outlook 2013. The Activities tab used to aggregate all Outlook items (e-mail, meetings, tasks, and so on) associated with a contact.
Outlook Mobile Service (OMS) Outlook Removing the feature Support for the Outlook Mobile Service protocol, which is used for sending and receiving text messages from Outlook, is being removed.
Suggested Contacts Outlook Removing the feature Suggested Contacts was used to automatically keep track of everyone the user sends a message to, but who isn’t in Outlook contacts.In a clean Outlook 2013 installation, Suggested Contacts is no longer available, the folder never is created, and no suggested contact items are created. In an upgrade to Outlook 2013, this folder is visible, and participates in linking, aggregation and search. However, no new suggested contact items are added to the folder. The folder displays in an upgrade scenario. However, it can now be deleted.
Outlook Pubcal: Calendar Publishing Outlook Removing the feature Removing the ability to publish one’s calendar to
Outlook/Exchange Deliver to PST Outlook Removing the feature Removing the ability for users to have Exchange accounts delivering into PST files.
Dialup/VPN Options Outlook Removing the feature Removing application level dial-up options and VPN options.
Public Folder Free/Busy Office Removing the feature Public Folder Free/Busy feature is replaced.
ToDo Bar Outlook Removing the feature A new functionality is implemented.
User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Office Removing the feature UDP is removed. In earlier versions of Outlook the feature was used for new mail alert results and for folder updates.
Preview unread messages Office Removing the feature The Auto Preview feature to preview unread items is removed. It remains possible to configure Message Preview for one, two, and three lines.
Outlook categories quick click Office Removing the feature Categories quick click from the message list is removed. Categories are displayed when they are applied in Office 2013 by right-clicking or using Ribbon buttons.
Outlook Search through Windows Shell Office and Windows Removing the feature In Office 2013, Outlook items do not display in Windows Shell searches (for example, searches from the Start Menu or by using Win+F). Perform Office searches within Office 2013.
Reason for Change Benefits Replacement Additional Information
The feature was not widely used. Allows for a simpler Ribbon experience. N/A For the feature description, see Use Meeting Workspaces to organize meetings
Offline mode is a legacy data access method for online mode connections to Exchange Server. N/A N/A N/A
Because of the removal of the Public Folder Free/Busy feature, this switch is no longer needed. N/A N/A N/A
Command bars are not used in Outlook 2013. Therefore, add-ins that use the Command Bars OM are not required. N/A Use the IRibbonExtensibility interface in an Outlook 2013 add-in instead of command bars. You can’t customize Inspector ribbons by using VBScript code behind forms. Updating Earlier Code for CommandBarsFor more information about how to use IRibbonExtensibility to customize the Outlook 2013 user interface programmatically, see Extending the User Interface in Outlook 2010.
This functionality is outdated and is superseded by the Exchange Availability service and free/busy for resources. More reliable service. Mailboxes that are currently configured to use Outlook direct booking should be migrated to Exchange 2007 or Exchange Server 2010 resource mailboxes.Exchange 2007 and Exchange Server 2010 resource mailboxes provide a better range of features. These mailboxes also provide server-side administration by using the Exchange Management Shell or the Exchange Management Console to simplify resource mailbox management. N/A
The following legacy formats were removed from the Import/Export Wizard: Internet Mail Account Settings, Internet Mail and Addresses, Comma Separated Values (DOS), Access 97-2003, Excel 97-2003, Tab Separated Values (DOS), Tab Separated Values (Windows), ACT!, Contact Manager, Lotus Organizer, Outlook Express/Windows Mail, Personal Address Book. N/A Import/Export to the PST and CSV formats is still a supported option. Export Outlook items to an Outlook Data File (.pst)
N/A Replacement is unnecessary. N/A N/A
Functionality is removed in the UI. N/A N/A N/A
Keeping the Notes module simple. Simplifying how Notes are used. N/A N/A
Contact linking is replaced by the Outlook Social Connector and the New Person Card. N/A N/A N/A
N/A Simplicity The Activities tab is replaced by the Outlook Social Connector and displays in the People pane. N/A
Feature has low usage. No user benefit. N/A N/A
N/A N/A Users in Exchange Server environments can use Exchange Calendar Publishing.Non-Exchange users can use a service such as Hotmail to share calendars. Enable Internet Calendar PublishingHow to keep your family in sync with Hotmail Calendar
Available as part of the operating system. N/A Follow operating system instructions for configuring VPN or dial-up networking connections, For Windows Vista and Windows 7, see Set up an incoming VPN or dial-up connection.For Windows 8, see Configure a Dial-Up Networking Connection Item.
Replaced by the Exchange availability service Free/Busy functionality is more reliable Free busy information can be obtained through the Exchange Availability service Understanding the Availability Service
A new feature known as Pinned Peeks is implemented to achieve similar functionality. Pinned Peeks feature N/A N/A
The UDP functionality that was provided by UDP is replaced with an asynchronous notification method. N/A N/A N/A
Low usage. This feature was used by around 1% of users. Simplicity Apply categories by choosing from the short-cut menus (right clicking) or by choosing Ribbon buttons. N/A
N/A N/A Search Office items within the Office application. N/A

Office 2013–Standard system requirements

Office 2013–Standard system requirements

Refer to the following table for a snapshot of the overall system requirements for Office 2013.The information that follows this table outlines any additional requirements for specific components of Office 2013, including add-ons and tools.
When you choose a product suite or individual program to deploy, evaluate the computers before you deploy any software to make sure that they meet the minimum operating system requirements.

Standard system requirements for Office 2013

Component Office 2013 Requirements
Computer and processor 1 gigahertz (Ghz) or faster x86- or x64-bit processor with SSE2 instruction set
Memory (RAM) 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32 bit); 2 gigabytes (GB) RAM (64 bit)
Hard Disk 3.0 gigabytes (GB) available
Display Graphics hardware acceleration requires a DirectX10 graphics card and 1024 x 576 resolution
Operating System Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012
Browser Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, or 10; Mozilla Firefox 10.x or a later version; Apple Safari 5; or Google Chrome 17.x.
.NET version 3.5, 4.0, or 4.5
Multi-touch A touch-enabled device is required to use any multi-touch functionality. However, all features and functionality are always available by using a keyboard, mouse, or other standard or accessible input device. Note that new touch features are optimized for use with Windows 8.
Additional requirements and considerations Some functionality may vary, based on the system configuration. Some features may require additional or advanced hardware or server connectivity.

Office 2013 applications – specific requirements

The standard Office 2013 system requirements that are listed in the Office 2013 for Personal Computers–standard system requirements table apply to each Office 2013 application. The following Office 2013 programs have some additional requirements:

  • Access 2013
  • Excel 2013
  • InfoPath 2013
  • Lync 2013
  • Lync Server 2013
  • Office Solution Management (Telemetry Dashboard)
  • OneNote 2013
  • Outlook 2013
  • Project Professional 2013
  • Word 2013

Access 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of Access 2013.
Specific Access 2013 requirements

Component Requirement
  • Access 2013 Internet functionality requires an Internet connection and either Internet Explorer 8 or Internet Explorer 9.
  • Instant Search functionality requires Windows Search 4.0.


Excel 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of Excel 2013.

Specific Excel 2013 requirements

Component Requirement
  • Excel 2013 Internet functionality requires an Internet connection and either Internet Explorer 8 or Internet Explorer 9.
  • Instant Search functionality requires Windows Search 4.0.
PowerPivot To use PowerPivot, you must have .NET 3.5 or .NET 4.0 and at least 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM.
PowerView add-in To use with the PowerView add-in, you must have Silverlight 5.0 installed and at least 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM.


InfoPath 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of InfoPath 2013.

Specific InfoPath 2013 requirements

Component Requirement
  • InfoPath 2013 Internet functionality requires an Internet connection and either Internet Explorer 8 or Internet Explorer 9.
  • Instant Search functionality requires Windows Search 4.0.
Programmability Programmability scenarios require .NET 4.0.

 Lync 2013

Microsoft LyncLync 2013 has different hardware requirements from those that are listed in the system requirements Office 2013 for Personal Computers–standard system requirements table above. Refer to the following table for personal computer system requirements or recommendations that are specific to Lync 2013.

Specific Lync 2013 requirements

Component Requirement
Computer/ processor Intel Pentium 4, AMD Athlon 64, or equivalent
Memory (RAM) 2 gigabytes (GB) RAM
Operating System Windows 7 or Windows 8
Data and voice Minimum 1.6 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor. We recommend 2.0 gigahertz (32 bit or 64 bit).
Video For VGA: Dual core 1.9 gigahertz (GHz) processor, or fasterFor High Definition: Qual core 2.0 gigahertz (GHz) processor, or fasterDisplay resolution: 1024 x 768
  • Polycom CX5000 HD (Microsoft RoundTable) conferencing device
  • Minimum 2.0 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor
Graphics Hardware
  • Support for Microsoft DirectX 9 application programming interface (API).
  • Minimum of 128 megabytes (MB) graphics memory
  • Windows Display Driver Model driver
  • 32 bits per pixel capable format
Telephony Microphone and speakers, headset with microphone, or equivalent device(s). Recommended devices:

  • Phones with the “Optimized for Microsoft Lync” logo (see Phones and Devices Qualified for Microsoft Lync for a list)
  • Phones that run Microsoft Lync 2010 Phone Edition
  • A W15-certified (or equivalent) ADA-compliant phone
Video source USB 2.0 video camera or Polycom CX5000 HD device (Microsoft RoundTable)

Lync Server 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of Lync 2013.

Specific Lync Server 2013 requirements

Component Requirement
Computer/ processor Intel Pentium 4, AMD Athlon 64, or equivalent
Memory (RAM) 2 gigabytes (GB) RAM
Operating System Windows, XP (32 bit), Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012
Video Display with 1024 x 768 resolution
Graphics Hardware
  • Support for Microsoft DirectX 9 API
  • Minimum of 128 megabytes (MB) graphics memory
  • Windows Display Driver Model driver
  • 32 bits per pixel capable format


Office Solution Management (Telemetry Dashboard)

Telemetry Dashboard is installed with Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus editions of Office 2013. The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of Office Solution Management Telemetry Dashboard server.

Specific requirements for Telemetry Dashboard

Component Telemetry Dashboard Server Requirement
Database SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, or SQL Server 2012
Shared folders For every 10,000+ users, 11 gigabytes of disk space to act as a temporary store for telemetry data.


OneNote 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of OneNote 2013.

Specific requirements for OneNote 2013

Component Requirement
  • OneNote 2013 Internet functionality requires an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 8 or Internet Explorer 9.
  • Instant Search functionality requires Windows Search 4.0.


Outlook 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of Outlook 2013.

Specific requirements for Outlook 2013

Component Requirement
  • Outlook 2013 Internet functionality requires an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 8 or Internet Explorer 9.
  • Instant Search requires Windows Search 4.0.
For integration with Exchange Be sure to connect Outlook 2013 to the supported versions of Exchange: Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010, or Exchange Server 2013. Outlook 2013 is not supported on Exchange 2003.
For integration with Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013 (optional) Some features require Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013.For a list of some new Outlook 2013 features that are enabled with Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 see What’s new in Outlook 2013.
For integration with Microsoft Lync (optional) Office Communicator 2007 R2, Microsoft Lync 2010 and Lync 2013 are supported with Outlook 2013. Office Communicator 2005 and Office Communicator 2007 are not supported.
Inking features Certain inking features require Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Speech recognition Speech recognition functionality requires a close-talk microphone and audio output device
IRM Information Rights Management features require access to a computer that runs Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012 and Windows Rights Management Services.
Dynamic Calendars Dynamic calendars require server connectivity.
Advanced Certain advanced functionality requires connectivity to Exchange Server 2010 or Exchange Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2010, or Windows Server 2003 with SP1 running Windows SharePoint Services.
Microsoft ID Certain features require a Microsoft ID (Windows Live ID).


Project Professional 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of Project Professional 2013.

Specific requirements for Project Professional 2013

Component Requirement
Visual Reports To use the Visual Reports feature one of the following versions of Excel must be installed on the computer:

  • Office Excel 2007
  • Excel 2010
  • Excel 2013

and one of the following versions of Microsoft Office Visio:

  • Visio Professional 2007
  • Visio 2010
  • Visio 2013
Import Outlook Tasks feature To use the Import Outlook Tasks feature, one of the following versions of Outlook must be installed on the computer:

  • Outlook 2007
  • Office Outlook 2010
  • Outlook 2013
SkyDrive integration Users must have a Windows Live ID.
Project Professional in an Enterprise
  • To enable enterprise Project, portfolio, and resource management capabilities, Project Server 2013 is required.
  • To import tasks to the Outlook calendar or Outlook Tasks list, Project Web App and Exchange Server 2013 are required.
  • To synchronize Project Server 2013 with a SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Server 2010 task list, you must install either Access 2010 or Visio 2010.
  • To create a new Project Site from Project Server 2013 you must use SharePoint Server 2013.
  • To use Lync integration, you must have Lync 2010.


Word 2013

The information in this table outlines additional requirements for specific components of Word 2013.

Specific requirements for Project Professional 2013

Component Requirement
Co-authoring Co-authoring requires SharePoint Foundation 2013 and a Windows Live ID account for SkyDrive. It might also require more memory than the amount listed in the Office 2013 for Personal Computers–standard system requirements table above.


Windows Server Edition & Features Overview

Windows Server Edition & Features Overview

Edition Ideal for… High Level Feature Comparison Licensing Model
Datacenter Highly virtualized private & hybrid cloud environments Full Windows Server functionality with unlimited virtual instances Processor + CAL*
Standard Low density or non-virtualized environments Full Windows Server functionality with two virtual instances Processor + CAL*
Essentials Small business environments Simpler interface, pre-configured connectivity to cloud based services; no virtualization rights Server (25 User Account Limit)
Foundation Economical general purpose server General purpose Server functionality with no virtualization rights Server (15 User Account Limit)


*CALs are required for every user or device accessing a server. See the Product Use Rights ( ) for details.


**Pricing represents Open No Level (NL) ERP. For your specific pricing, contact your Microsoft reseller.


The table below shows a feature comparison among the three main editions.






Maximum Number of Cores

OS Max¹

16 Cores-DB


16 Cores

Basic OLTP




Program-ability (T-SQL, Data Types, FileTable)




Manageability (SQL Server Management Studio, Policy-based Management)




Basic High Availability³




Basic Corporate BI (Reporting, Analytics, Multidimensional Semantic Model, Data Mining)




Basic Data Integration (Built-in Data Connectors, Designer Transforms)




Self-Service Business Intelligence (Alerting, Power View, PowerPivot for SharePoint Server)?



Advanced Corporate BI (Tabular BI Semantic Model, Advanced Analytic’s and Reporting, VertiPaq™ In-Memory Engine, Advanced Data Mining)



Enterprise Data Management (Data Quality Services, Master Data Services)



Advanced Data Integration (Fuzzy Grouping and Lookup, Change Data Capture)


Advanced Security (SQL Server Audit, Transparent Data Encryption)


Data Warehousing (ColumnStore Index, Compression, Partitioning)


Advanced High Availability (Multiple, Active Secondaries; Multi-site, Geo-Clustering)³


  1. Existing SQL Server Enterprise edition licenses in the Server + CAL licensing model upgraded to SQL Server 2012 will be limited to server deployments with 20 cores or less. Refer to Datasheet and FAQ for more details.
  2. Analysis Services & Reporting Services.
  3. Basic includes log shipping, database mirroring, server core support and two-node Failover Clustering. Windows Server Enterprise edition or above is a system requirement for AlwaysOn / Failover Clustering.
  4. SharePoint Server with Enterprise CAL is a system requirement for Power View and PowerPivot for SharePoint. Alerting is accessible through SharePoint Foundation or above.

SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence

SQL Server 2012 is out now and there are a lot of great new features in the world of Business Intelligence (BI) included in this new release and this article covers my top 5 new BI features in SQL Server 2012. From Reporting, Loading Data, and Analysis there are a lot of new features to choose from in 2012. It is hard to choose from all of the new features, so this list was based on how useful each feature is in terms of BI development and analyzing data.

#1 Power View

Power View is a great new ad-hoc reporting tool built for the end users. It requires SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint 2010 and has one of the coolest UI displays compared to the previous tools. Power View gives end users an intuitive ad-hoc reporting tool they can use to easily create and interact with data from PowerPivot workbooks or tabular models deployed to SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. It runs in a browser and uses Silverlight from within SharePoint Server 2010. One of the coolest graphing tools in Power View is the time line. You can build a chart and place a time line along the bottom and click the play button and watch the data change over time. I for one can’t wait to build reports with this tool and see my users build them too.


#2 SSIS Configure and Execute with T-SQL

SSIS has improved significantly in SQL Server 2012. The greatest new feature is the ability to run and control your SSIS packages using T-SQL. With the addition of the new SSIS catalog and the project deployment, your packages are housed in a database now and there is an entire set of stored procedures and functions for SSIS administration. This opens up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities! Imagine writing complex stored procedures that call multiple SSIS packages, or using a cursor to execute a package for each row on a table. You can select data from a table and pass it to a package using parameters. This is much improved from the command line prompt method in the previous versions of SQL Server. It gives developers and DBAs the ability to incorporate SSIS more into their database and their development.

#3 SSIS Parameters and Environments

Speaking of Parameters, it happens to be number three on my top 5 BI list. Parameters and environments allow developers to pass variables into packages now without using configuration files or tables. That’s right, no longer do developers have to manage a group of files or tables separate from their packages. They can execute packages with T-SQL and pass in the parameter values using the T-SQL. They can also save multiple parameter values in the new environments. Environments can be thought of as a parameter bucket that holds a set of parameter values. Packages that need a different set of values can have all the parameters changed with just a simple change of selecting a different environment. A good example of this would be a package that needs one set of values during the week and a different set on the weekend or at month end. As you read in number two, you can execute the package with T-SQL, so you can place logic in your T-SQL, like a Case When statement, to select the proper environment. You can also use them for Development versus Production settings.


#4 SSAS Tabular Models

Developers now have the ability to create tabular models in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT, Formerly BIDS). Instead of having to use Power Pivot in Excel to develop a tabular model, developers can now use a tool they are more familiar with, Visual Studio. This gives developers the ability to create and deploy tabular models using SSDT. These are available to the end user to connect with power pivot and start slicing a dicing data. The diagram view makes it easy to visualize the data and build hierarchies. Before SQL Server 2012, PowerPivot was the only way to create a tabular like model in SQL Server. This new model puts the developers in a familiar environment and allows them to create models for the users to easily consume.


#5 SSIS Undo/Redo

I know this seems like a small improvement, but for any SSIS developers out there, they know the undo/redo feature added to SSIS makes like so much easier. Imagine writing a word doc and not having undo. Oops, you accidently deleted an entire paragraph, now write it again! In SSIS, that was the norm, until SQL Server 2012. Now if you delete some task or make changes you need to reverse, CTRL + Z is here to save the day.


Top Ten Reasons to Buy VS Team Foundation Server.

Top Ten Reasons to Buy VS Team Foundation Server.

  • Streamline The Flow of Data Across Your Entire Team
    Project artifacts are stored in a central repository that facilitates in-context collaboration reducing waste in hand-over time between tasks and streamlines the development process allowing team members to focus on delivering value over transitioning information between roles.
  • Reduce Risk with Real-time Visibility
    Powerful reporting and dashboards provide historical trending and real-time visibility into overall project health. Real-time metrics give you early warnings of potential problems that enable you to be proactive and to make data-driven decisions and course corrections.
  • End-to-end Traceability
    Define, query and report on custom relationships between requirements, work items and test cases. Full traceability lets you track progress and quality back to business goals and customer requirements.
  • Lightweight Agile Planning Tools
    The new Excel Agile Planning Workbook makes it easy for teams to adopt Agile software development methodologies like SCRUM. Use it to create and manage user stories and product backlog, estimate the team’s velocity, and break the project down into iterations. The Iteration Backlog enables you to plan iterations and track progress.
  • Project and Portfolio Management
    Integration with Microsoft Project and Office Project Server enables business stake holders and project managers to gain insight into the health of inflight projects, understand how they support the business needs and help identify ways to improve existing processes.
  • Simplified Installation for Smaller Teams
    Smaller teams and individual developers can choose the new Basic Install option to leverage the power of Team Foundation Server 2010 without the footprint of the full installation.
  • Understand Parallel Development
    Reduce the complexity in branching and merging with powerful new visualization tools. Understand the scope, organization and maintenance of your source code and easily identify, track and manage changes across branches.
  • Prevent Broken Builds
    The new gated check-in feature helps teams working in the same branch to prevent costly and time consuming build breaks by testing code in isolation before it goes into the full repository.
  • Flexible Build Automation
    Windows Workflow-based builds with powerful features like build queuing and build agent pooling enable teams to easily customize, manage and scale out their build environments.
  • Enterprise Scalability
    Network Load Balancing, 64-bit server support and new project