Using Two-Factor Authentication with Office 365

Back in the 90’s and 00’s, using encrypted e-mail and 2FA to secure systems were stigmatized as something only hackers and paranoid people used.

Increasingly, encrypted e-mail and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), also called Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) by Microsoft, has become more common, and more necessary.

I would document the process to enable and use 2FA for Office 365, but there’s a problem: Microsoft is continuously updating O365, so the steps and setting names this month may not be the same when you read these words. Instead, I will link to Microsoft’s documentation (and hope they keep the URL’s the same).

The pages I feel are most useful are Documentation for Administrators to set up the system, and Documentation for End Users on what to expect and how to set their authentication method(s).

In practice, enabling 2FA is pretty straightforward, but the initial user experience can be bumpy. While documentation says Office 2016 does not require an app password, that’s not correct. The morning after I enabled this on my account, upon login I was prompted for credentials when opening both the Office 365 versions of Skype for Business and Outlook.

New Lipsum generator

When working on various issues (especially fax problems), I need a blob of text that isn’t sensitive in any way. Until today, I used Lipsum.com to generate “Lorem Ipsum” text. While I would love to use Brett Terpstra’s lipsum generators, I’m never at a Mac when I need some random text.

This morning, I missed typing the “.com” TLD and ended up with a Google search for “lipsum”. A result that caught my eye was for  Lipsum.pro. This page is graphically spartan, but it was much quicker for me to generate some random text.

Better living through the Internet!  I know it’s a small thing, but it makes me happy.

Windows setup failure on Dell computer

I was installing Windows 7 on a Dell notebook today, and got an error that this computer, which had Win 7 before the hard drive crashed, could not be configured to install Windows 7. I found a Dell tech note that advised OOBE had to be manually executed and then all would be fine. Yeesh, Windows.

"Windows setup could not configure to run on this computer's hardware" error during Windows 7 or Windows 10 installation

tl;dr version:

Windows 7:

  1. At the error screen, press Shift+F10 to open a command prompt.
  2. Type cd \ and press Enter.
  3. Type cd c:\windows\system32\oobe and press Enter.
  4. Type msoobe and press Enter. The installation process should now automatically continue.
  5. Remove the installation media and the system should finish the installation and boot into Windows.

Windows 10:

  1. While on the screen where the error appears, press Shift+F10 to bring up the command prompt.
  2. Type CD C:\windows\system32\oobe and hit Enter.
  3. Type msoobe and hit Enter.
  4. You may then be prompted to create an account name and password, and set the time and date. Click Finish when done.

Source