About the Sign In Application

Topic Last Modified: 2010-05-10

The Microsoft Online Services Sign In application is installed on your computer to provide a single sign-in point for Microsoft Online Services. The Sign In application makes it possible for you to sign in one time and then access services any number of times during your sign-in session. Without the Sign In application, you will have to provide a name and password each time you try to access a service.

In addition to providing a single sign-in point, the Sign In application also automatically configures your applications so that they can be used with Microsoft Online Services. During its configuration of Microsoft Outlook, the Sign In application creates a new Outlook e-mail account, or profile, to use with Microsoft Online Services. After the initial auto-configuration, each time you open Microsoft Outlook through the Sign In application, the correct e-mail account is used. Any previous account remains stored in Outlook. For more information about accessing previous Outlook accounts, see Set Up Outlook to Prompt You for an E-Mail Account.

A service administrator typically deploys the Sign In application directly to your computer or instructs you to install it yourself by going to the Downloads tab on My Company Portal. The Sign In application has a link to My Company Portal, but you can also go straight to My Company Portal by typing the URL of the site into your Web browser. To find the URL for My Company Portal, see URLs for Microsoft Online Services.

Note 
The Sign In application should be installed only on computers with Microsoft Online Services accounts. The Sign In application should not be installed on public computers such as those found in airports and libraries.

The Sign In application provides these features:

  • Automatic configuration of applications. The Sign In application automatically configures desktop applications on your computer so that they can work properly with Microsoft Online Services. This saves time and trouble for you, and reduces support time for your service administrator. If necessary, you can also use the Sign In application to reconfigure your desktop applications manually.
  • Single access point for services. Instead of signing in to each available service separately, you can use the Sign In application one time, and then start service applications without any additional sign-in requests. The Sign In application lists all the services that your company service administrator has made available to you. Your online services depend on the licenses that your company has purchased.
  • Password management. You can change your service password in the Sign In application. If your password expires, the Sign In application alerts you and offers the ways to update the password.
  • Sign In options. You can configure the Sign In application to start automatically and sign you in each time you start Windows and to alert you when a new version of the Sign In application or a new application configuration is available.
  • Notification of service license expiration. If your service license expires, the Sign In application displays a notification. For more information about service license expiration, see About Expiration of Subscriptions.

Service impacts for users who do not use the Sign In application

We strongly recommend that you sign in to Microsoft Online Services through the Sign In application. Use of Microsoft Online Services without being signed in through the Sign In application is not supported.

Without the Sign In application users may have trouble accessing their online resources. When you purchase new services and assign licenses, users will have no means for discovering those services. As a result, administrators will need to manually distribute new URLs and configure the any corresponding desktop applications. Additionally, some applications may not work properly or experience a degraded user experience.

This section describes some of the issues end users might experience if they do not install the Sign In application.

Microsoft Office Outlook

  • Outlook profiles must be manually created and updated.
  • Users must enter their password during initial connection, and for each subsequent logon.
  • Outlook may not be able to gather information for specific Exchange Online services, such as free/busy, out-of-office settings, and URLs that are needed to connect to other services.
  • If the services settings for a specific user’s mailbox change, Outlook may not be able to automatically configure the new settings, preventing the users from signing in correctly.

SharePoint Online

  • Users will not have any links to My Company Portal, where SharePoint Online site collections are listed.
  • Users may be prompted for their credentials multiple times when they try to access SharePoint Online sites.

Office Communications Online

  • Microsoft Office Communicator R2 clients cannot be configured automatically. Administrators will need to manually configure these settings.
  • Users will be prompted for user credentials each time they sign in to Office Communicator.

See Also

Concepts

About Application Configuration

Other Resources

URLs for Microsoft Online Services
Set Up Outlook to Prompt You for an E-Mail Account
About Expiration of Subscriptions