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Server 2016 essentials connect software fails on PC using office 365 credentials

Hi,  I'm having problems getting client PC's connected to our new Server 2016 essentials box.

This is the only server in the office.  Here is how we were set up, what has been done, and the problem.. any insights would be great!



Small office with 8 PC's and users with office 365 accounts.  All PC's just log in to their workstations with their office 365 credentials (windows 10 pro PC's).  At this point our office network was just peer-peer, no server, all authentication and email is done via office 365 cloud accounts


Now- I've installed server 2016 essentials on a new box with the intention of using it for some shared space and a continuous integration and test system.

- Installed 2016 - set up a domain called "PRECISON"

-Did the office 365 integration steps (success)

- imported accounts from cloud services. (success)

(at this point a new list of temp passwords was created and the server said users would need to use those to log in and then change them)

- then using the suggested method of going to http://server/connect  on a client pc, but that resulted in "unexpected error" and failed.

- one PC did get farther in the process than others - and I thought it might be due to that user's server account being temporarily elevated to admin (as suggested on a different forum) - but that only worked for one person.. not sure why.

Any ideas?  


David Roberts David Roberts
Published 10/09/2018 22:46
  • Essentials Experience Role
  • Windows 10
  • Office 365
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David Roberts

Ok.. thought I'd share how we have things working now.

This only applies for when you are wanting to connect PC's without joining the domain (e.g. when you are using office 365 and its AzureAD services)

Simple.  Ha.   Microsoft should really get on the job and make this work right out of the box if they want office 365 to lead the way for SOHO customers!

Dave Roberts

a few seconds ago

  • Ok... found a working solution..for us at least YMMV:

    To connect and get access for users: 

    This is clunky.  First, ensure accounts have been imported to the server from office 365 cloud services, (use dashboard app on server for this).  Then setting up the client PC to have access is a work-around  

    • First, on the server change that person's account to have admin access – this will be a temp change.

    • Then, on the client PC :

        • Use control panel and navigate to the network adaptors (Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network Connections) - edit the properties of the current adaptor, in tcp/ipv4 properties set the preferred DNS to point to the server (e.g. for my Server 2016 box it is: -- yours will be different!) 
        • Open a command prompt window as admin then type: 
          reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\ClientDeployment" /v SkipDomainJoin /t REG_DWORD /d 1 
        • open a browser and run the software downloaded from http://server/connect 
        • Run this download, then when it asks for credentials open up regedit.exe and go to 
          HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\Networking\ServerDiscovery 
          Change "SkipAutoDNSServerDetection" from False to True 
        • Now enter credentials (user name is without the @[your office365]
          (if the password fails, then use the server admin console to reset the user's password) 
        • Next, continue the install.. 
    • The install should now say it is finishing successfully, however you probably still need to manually create a desktop shortcut to the LAUNCHPAD.exe program which gives you a quick way to access the server resources.  This can be found (after the connect install) at C:\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin\Launchpad.exe  

    • Before you can access the server you will need to change that user back to non-admin status.  After that is done, the user will need to re-boot.

    • Run the launchpad.exe program – enter credentials, set it to remember you on this pc.  

  • Shared folders on the server can be viewed here.  If you want to map anything as a network drive then on the client pc go to "This PC" and use the Map Network Drive button which is visible on the computer tab


replied 10/11/2018 23:50
Last Activity 10/11/2018 23:50