How to manage personal, work and school accounts in Windows 10

Windows 10 includes simplified options for staying connected to your work or school account on your personal device. Unlike previous Windows versions, you can use files and resources provided by your organisation without having to switch user accounts. The operating system lets you link external accounts to your main sign-in address. – Screenshot of Windows 10 Creators Update “access work or school” settings page Blogs: To get started, head to the “Accounts” section of the Settings app. Microsoft changed the arrangement of the work access settings with the Windows 10 Creators Update so the next stage depends on your Windows version.

If you have the Creators Update installed, head to the “Access work or school” page and click the “Connect” button. On older editions of Windows 10, the option is called “Work access.” Click the “Add a work or school account” link to start the sign-in procedure.

Screenshot of Windows 10 “set up a work account” prompt –

In the “Set up a work or education account” prompt that appears, enter your organisation email address to connect your account. Click the “Next” button and Windows will configure your new account and add it to the system. When the process completes, you’ll be able to access your work or school email, apps and networking utilities on your personal PC. The account will be accessible in the Mail app and corporate apps can be downloaded from the Windows Store.

In many instances, this will be all you need to access your work or school account in Windows 10. In some instances, you may need to go a step further. Organisations might require you to register your device with their Azure Active Directory server. This gives them more control over your device, including the ability to retrieve files and remotely lock it down.

Screenshot of Windows 10 add account confirmation screen –

To connect to an Azure Active Directory, click the “Join this device to Azure Active Directory” link in the “Set up a work or education” account window. Enter your organisation-provided Office 365 email address and follow the prompts to add the account. If you’re on the same network as your organisation’s Active Directory, use the “Join this device to a local Active Directory domain” link and provide the domain name of the Azure server to connect to.

In either case, you’ll be prompted to review and accept your organisation’s new controls over your device. Once you confirm the Azure Active Directory policies, your device will be connected to your work or school. It’ll effectively be registered as one of their devices, giving them complete control over its operation. You’ll be able to access your email, company files and Windows Store for Business apps once the account is linked.

Screenshot of Windows 10 removing an account –

Linking a work or school account to Windows 10 lets you use your company’s resources without being confined to the Office 365 web apps. If you aren’t sure of the settings to use, you can refer to Microsoft’s online documentation. When you’re connecting to an Azure Active Directory, your organisation’s IT administrator should be able to assist you to get your device configured with the correct policies.

If you need to remove a work or school account, return to the “Accounts” section of the Settings app and navigate back to the “Access work or school” page. Click the account you want to unlink and press the “Disconnect” button. Follow the prompts to complete the account removal process.

Microsoft updates its Planner web app with refreshed UI, new Planner Hub and more

Microsoft quietly updated Planner, its project management tool for Office 365 customers, last week. Planner doesn’t get as much love as Microsoft Teams, the team collaboration app that Microsoft launched earlier this year, though both products are already integrated in some ways.

Indeed, it’s already possible create plans right from Microsoft Teams, though as of today those plans you create on the Slack competitor won’t be visible in the Planner web app. To be clear, you can still open these plans in the web app if you want to, but these plans created on Microsoft Teams won’t appear in the Planner web app or the iOS and Android apps by default, which can be a bit confusing.

As a result, it seems that it’s always better to create plans from the Planner web app, and you should really use the web client in the first place if you want to see your plans at all times in a separate browser window. The Planner web app also seems to be more reliable (it refreshes faster), and it has just been updated with a new UI that should improve performance for plans with a high number of tasks. Microsoft detailed some of the changes on its online Planner community last week.

First of all, the new plan creation window now has a new option to let you choose who can view new plans: you can either make them available to all your organization, or restrict them to a few members you’ll add manually.

The new Plan Creation window.

The card view has also been updated to make attachments more visible. When you add a link to a card, the link name will now show up on the card if you check the “Show on card” toggle.

The new card view.

Previously, with links, Planner would show the full url on the card by default. Now it shows the “text to display,” making visible links on cards more readable. “Attachments” used to be only links, but now include Files, Links and SharePoint.

From the Plans card view, you will also see that it’s now easier to know if a plan is public or private, and you can also click on any card to add a new label or delete it.

The new Plans card view.

Lastly, the Planner hub has been slightly redesigned with new plan boards, which help you better track how many tasks are in progress, completed, etc.

The redesigned Planner Hub.

This is a pretty nice update overall, though the project management app still remains a work in progress. In the future, we’d very much like to see more seamless integrations with Microsoft Teams, as it really make sense for companies to use both tools in synergy. If you also use Planner, let us know what are the other improvements you would like to see in the near future.

Microsoft begins rollout of new classroom experience in Teams for Office 365 Education customers

Blogs: It’s now been three months since Microsoft made its Teams collaboration service available to all Office 365 Education customers, but the company had much more in the pipeline for students and teachers. Last month, the Redmond giant unveiled new classroom experiences in Teams during its education-themed event in New York, and these latest innovations are now rolling out to all Office 365 Education customers across 181 markets and in 25 different languages. Blogs: “The latest experiences in Microsoft Teams, the digital hub for teachers and students in Office 365 for Education, are designed to help schools achieve more together: by fostering deeply engaged classrooms, strengthening professional learning communities, and tailoring more effective school communication,” explained the company today. Here are the main new features that will be soon be available to all Office 365 Education users:

• School Data Sync automatically populates classes with student rosters connected to the school’s information system.
• OneNote Class Notebooks are built into every class, allowing teachers to organize interactive lessons and deliver personalized learning right from Teams.
• Apps integrate into the classroom experience, so teachers can quickly access the Office 365apps they already use – like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Planner – and customize their classroom with education apps.
• End-to-end assignment management in Teams enables teachers to move quickly and effortlessly from creation and distribution to grading and feedback.

As a reminder, Office 365 for Education is free for teachers who are currently working at an academic institution and students who are currently attending an academic institution. You just need a valid school email address to enroll your school, and you can learn more about the offering on the dedicated website.