Friday, May 6, 2016

The various OneDrive Sync clients


One the confusing things at this point in time that we have a number of different OneDrive sync clients on Windows. Hopefully, I can shed some light on the role that each of these play here.

Two independent services

The first thing to appreciate is that there are two cloud based OneDrive services into which you can store files.

The first of these is the free consumer offering found at:


You access this service using a free Microsoft account. This account is also typically now the same as the account used to login to stand alone Windows 10 machines.

The second service is a commercial product that is part of Office 365 for Business:


As you can see both services now look very, very similar:


OneDrive consumer (above)


OneDrive for Business (above)

I’m not going to dive into the differences between the consumer and business OneDrive here, however you need to appreciate that there are two separate OneDrive services currently and both allow you to synchronise files from the cloud to your desktop.

OneDrive Consumer sync


The first sync client to consider is the one provided for OneDrive consumer. You’ll need a OneDrive consumer account to access the services. For many people that is now the same as their Windows 10 login.

Also, modern operating systems like Windows 10 automatically include the OneDrive consumer sync tool. If you don’t have the OneDrive consumer sync tool installed you’ll find it here:

If the OneDrive consumer sync tool is running on your desktop you can open the system tray, as shown above, and you should find a white icon with clouds as highlighted above.


If you now right mouse click on this white cloud icon you will see the above menu. You will notice that the first option says Open your OneDrive – Personal folder. This is an indication that this tool is synchronising files from OneDrive consumer service to your desktop.


If you select the Settings menu item you will see the above. Note at the top that this tool is connecting using my Microsoft consumer account ( Note that I can also select which folders I wish to sync from the cloud to my desktop using the Choose folders button.


You may notice at the bottom of this dialog the Add a business account button. I’ll come back to this later. However, the important thing is that this sync client (i.e. white clouds) is designed to sync files from OneDrive consumer service to the desktop.


If you look at your file system, the files from OneDrive consumer are synced with this tool to a OneDrive – Personal location as shown above.

OneDrive for Business sync (classic)


The second sync icon to examine here is the one of the two that has dark blue clouds. This one also does has as pronounced outline and is highlight above.


When you right mouse click on this icon you’ll see the above menu options. You will notice that the first option says Open your OneDrive for Business folder. This is an indication that this tool is synchronising files from OneDrive for Business service to your desktop.

This client is the original sync tool for Office 365 for Business in that it could synchronise both the OneDrive for Business files in Office 365 as well as those found in SharePoint Online Team Sites. Thus, it could sync from two separate locations in Office 365 for business.


If you elected to synchronise your personal OneDrive for Business files they would be saved into a location denoted by OneDrive – Tenant Name as shown above.


If you elected to synchronise information from SharePoint Online Team Sites in Office 365 for business they would saved into a location called SharePoint as shown above.

Unfortunately, as the amount of business data grew and people wanted to sync this volume of data to desktops like other products, the OneDrive for Business classic sync client started to have issues. This resulted in common errors during the sync process.

If you are experiencing these sync issues with OneDrive for Business classic sync tool, I wrote a blog post a while back that may help:

Troubleshooting OneDrive for Business

Due to these sync issues and the growing volume desired to be synced Microsoft decided to go back to the drawing board with their OneDrive for Business sync and re-write it from scratch. That new tool is known as the OneDrive for Business NextGen sync client.

OneDrive for Business NextGen sync client


The NextGen sync icon looks a lot like the classic OneDrive for Business sync. If you look closely, it has a more pronounced outline.


If you right mouse click on the NextGen sync client you’ll see the above menu which is very different from the OneDrive for Business classic sync tool. You will notice that the first option displays as Open you OneDrive – Tenant name folder. This is an indication that this tool is synchronising files from OneDrive for Business service to your desktop.


If you select Settings you’ll see that options are almost identical to those of the OneDrive consumer sync tool. This is because this OneDrive for Business NextGen sync tool is based on that. You will however, notice that I am connected to this using my Office 365 for Business account.

At the moment the NextGen sync client can only synchronise OneDrive for Business files, it cannot do files from SharePoint Online Team Sites. This means that if you need to sync Team Site files you’ll need to use the OneDrive for Business classic sync. Microsoft have publically committed to update the NextGen sync client to also do Team Sites before the end of this year.

The NextGen sync client overcomes all of the sync issues that were evident with the OneDrive for Business classic sync client. It also provides additional feature like selective file sync.

If you want to learn more about the OneDrive for Business NextGen sync client start here:

Getting Started with NextGen Sync Client



It is therefore possible for you to have three OneDrive sync clients on your Windows desktop all syncing to different locations as shown above.

If you have the OneDrive for Business NextGen sync client installed it will automatically take over the job of syncing your OneDrive for Business files from the OneDrive for Business classic client, leaving the classic client only syncing SharePoint Online Team Sites.


As noted previously, you have the option with both the OneDrive consumer and OneDrive for Business NextGen client to add a personal and business account to the one tool and allow it to perform both functions for you. This is certainly the preferred option if you need to reduce complexity and you don’t have the need to sync SharePoint Online Team Sites.

The future

Microsoft have committed to consolidate all these different sync clients into one before the end of this year. They are already bring a range of new features to the NextGen sync client and have committed to a whole lot more. You can read about the latest updates here:

OneDrive for Business Spring Updates

OneDrive sync clients have had a chequered history. It has also brought a lot of challenges with its ‘appropriate’ using with Office 365 for Business. However, I am now very positive with the development and direction I see. Things are still a little confusing for end users, as the above demonstrates, but you need to remember we are still in transition here. Sure, I’d like changes to come quicker but I am very pleased to see that change is now happening on a regular cadence. That’s what gives me the confidence to say that I reckon the OneDrive for Business sync tool will soon be the premier cloud file syncing experience available on the market. There is still a ways to go, I admit, but I really feel things are on the right track for the way people want to work with file sync.

Of course, you can’t overlook all the improvements in the mobile versions of OneDrive but I’ll leave that to an upcoming blog post but I hope this post has made things a bit easier for people to understand the current environment with OneDrive sync options.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

CIAOPS Tech Support Facebook group


I’ve set up a private Facebook group to provide a support community around cloud technologies, especially those from Microsoft. Invite to the group is via a minimum monthly pledge of $10 on my Patreon page here:

The group allows me to post a lot of additional information I find as well as being involved with members. This typically means answering questions, providing feedback and basically helping them work better with the cloud.

The conversation are not only technical but extend to the business application of things such as Office 365, Azure, and more. That means it is suitable for end users through power users right up to IT Professionals actually implementing these technologies.

All you need to become part of the CIAOPS Tech Support community is pledge at least $10 per month to help me continue to build content and then friend me ( on Facebook so I can add you to the group.

I hope you’ll join our community.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Beyond the Basics With SharePoint Online


I am happy to announce that my new publication “Beyond the Basics with SharePoint Online” is now available.

This book is designed to help you take your knowledge to the next level with SharePoint Online. Once you have mastered the basics it is time to put document approvals, contents types, columns and more to work for you. This book will show you how to do all this plus more. It even covers how to get started using InfoPath and SharePoint Designer to really start customising your environment. SharePoint is an extremely powerful tool for solving business problems so knowing how to use it effectively is going to help you solve these problems faster. If you want the knowledge to do just that and you have already mastered the basics of SharePoint Online, then this is book for you.

This book contains over 250 pages of detailed information and screen shots of every stage of configuring SharePoint Online.

The book is available in a number of different formats and sources including:

PDF version

Via Amazon

Some of the topics it includes are:

- SharePoint structure overview

- Introduction to Email Alerts

- Introduction to Document Approvals

- Changing the Site Title, Logo and URL

- Document Check In/Out

- Connecting SharePoint to Access

- Content types

- Creating Subsites

- Introduction to Lookup Columns

- Advanced List Editing

- Working with Document Library Versioning

- Introduction to Views

- Using Promoted Links

- Create a Document Library Template

- Using a template to migrate a Document Library

- Creating and Using Site Columns

- Creating and Editing Site pages

- Adding a Yammer feed

- Displaying Linked Lists

- Getting Started with InfoPath

- Saving a Site as a Template

- Creating a new Site Collection

- Using a Template with a new Site Collection

- Deleting a Site Collection

- Getting Started with SharePoint Designer

By purchasing this title you’ll help support me and the work that I make available for free.

Now onto the next title!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Office 365 for SMB Deep Dive training in Sydney

I’m running a full day Office 365 Deep Dive course covering the technical and business aspects of Office 365 (i.e. how to use and successfully sell O365) hosted at Microsoft North Ryde.

It is specifically aimed at SMB resellers and helping them not only understand the product but also how they can build repeatable solutions they can provide to customers and prospects.

This is a free full day session on the 2nd and/or the 16th of May.

You can register for both events here:

Register Now

If you have any questions let me know.

I hope to see you there on the day

Monday, April 25, 2016

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 101

Marc and I catch up on all the latest Azure and Office 365 news. We talk about the new Azure Resource Policy as well as the latest changes to the Office 365 interface. We also spend some time chatting about security and the best hardware device to get. THis one’s a little bit random, so enjoy the ride.

As always don't forget to send us you questions and feedback as well as leaving review to help grow our audience. We appreciate you taking the time to listen.

or can listen to this episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me anyfeedback or suggestions you may have for the show.


Marc Kean - @marckean

Robert Crane - @directorcia

Custom SSO through Azure AD

Azure Resource Policy

New Office 365 login screen

New Office 365 admin center look and feel

Office 365 B2B sharing


Office 365 customer lockbox

Project Madeira

We shall remember them.

Most Aussies and Kiwis will wake up today in a warm bed, surrounded by loved ones. Most will enjoy a holiday where they can kick back and take it easy.

However, 101 years ago a group of citizen soldiers from Australia and New Zealand (as well as other nationalities) conducted an amphibious invasion of Turkish soil on the Gallipoli peninsula in an ultimately futile attempt to break the stalemate of defensive warfare on the Western Front during the First World War.

It was the first appearance of these ANZAC troops on the world stage and they took it to with the enthusiasm of a new comer. Unfortunately, their greatest advance was on that first day against surprised Turkish troop who quickly rallied, thanks to inspired leadership, and contained the invasion to isolated areas along the coast.  

Over the next nine months, each side made little headway and the engagement descended into stalemate that only ended with the withdrawal of Allied troops in December 1915. After 4.10am on December 20th 1915 no ANZAC troops remained on Gallipoli, they had however lost over 10,000 killed and 20,000 wounded. Their dogged determination had won the Australian 9 Victoria Crosses, the highest order of valour the military had to offer.

But the fighting for the ANZACs wasn’t over. Far from it, they were transferred to meat grinder that was the Western Front were they once again distinguished themselves in engagement after engagement. This gallantry came at significant cost with over 200,000 being causalities by the end of the war. In the 4 years of War approximately 416,809 had joined up and of these 313,814 had embarked for duty overseas. 65% of these were killed or wounded compared to 51% for Britain, 50% for Canada and 59% for New Zealand. Nearly 40% of all Australian males 18 - 44 voluntarily enlisted. One in five or 63,163 died on active service during the war.

The remembrance we have for the anniversary of Gallipoli needs to be seen for what it is, a beginning, not an end. Gallipoli was not the only the sacrifice made by these men (and some women). We need to remember the terrible battles of Fromelles were casualties amounted to over 5,500 in one night!


We need to remember the hell of Pozières where the inscription today reads:


The last Australian attack on Pozières was on 3 September, 1916. The Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions had been used by their commanders as a battering ram and lost nearly 23,000 officers and men in a mere 6 weeks on a front that extended little more than a mile. This casualty figure represented 50% of the total of all 3 divisions strength.

It is hard for us today to fathom such loss, let alone the courage and sacrifice it took to fight for what you believed in and what you were ordered to do.

It all took place in a different time and in a world that is very different from what we live in today. However, those incidents, those sacrifices, leave with us a legacy of country men and women who laid down their lives for their belief in our country. What they did, they did so others could have a better tomorrow.

Thus, in our enjoyment of a better tomorrow, let us pause and remember them. Let us also remember all those who have served and continue to serve our country. They are volunteers. They elect to do this largely by choice and that’s what makes it so special.

Lest we forget.

For more information about the battles of ANZAC troops n the western front of World War One visit my web site:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Configuring Project Madeira to Power BI

If you follow the documentation about connecting Project Madeira to Power BI you might get confused about locating the Web Service Access Key which acts as the password to connect to Power BI.

Here’s the process of how to obtain that access key.


Navigate to your Project Madeira. Select Actions tab in the top left.


This will reveal a ribbon menu. From this ribbon menu select the Company Settings icon.


This will open a new dialog. From the ribbon menu now shown select Users.


Again, another dialog will open. From the ribbon that now appears, ensure that the primary user is selected from the list and then select Edit.


In the body of the page you’ll find a Web Services Access Key area. To generate a new key if one isn’t displayed select the arrow button to the right of the field.

Copy that access key and follow the documentation about connecting to Power BI. Also note the entry for User Name in the general area here, as you’ll also need this.

When you are asked for the login to the service select Basic as the Authentication Method.

Enter the User Name you noted from previous page and then the Web Access Key as the password. Select the Sign in button to complete the connection process.


After a few moments of configuration you should be greeted by a new Dashboard connect to Project Madeira as shown above.