Microsoft Office 365 users hit with log-in, activation issues

A number of Microsoft Office 365 users are reporting problems signing into and activating their Office apps.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

A number of Microsoft 365 Office 365 users took to Twitter to complain about their inability to log into Office 365 on August 16. Some users said they've had problems logging in since last night; others said they noticed the problems starting the morning of August 16.

Microsoft's official @Office365Status account on Twitter acknowledged the problem at 11:24 a.m. ET on August 16 with a message saying:

"We're investigating an issue in which users may be unable to sign-in to Office 365 and are receiving an error related to Office 365 subscription activation. More details can be found in the admin portal under MO146611."

One of my Twitter buddies, LL Colbeck (@littabylitta) said that he found by disabling two-factor authentication within Microsoft 365/Office 365, followed by activation and then re-enabling two-factor authentication, the problem can be bested. Another Twitter user @MBabiuk77, said this worked for him.

Also: 7 ways you can (maybe) get Microsoft Office 365 for free

I've asked Microsoft what's going on and what they're recommending those affected do. No word back so far.

Update: At 1:50 p.m. ET, a Microsoft spokesperson sent me this statement about the general Office 365 activation/log-in issue:

"Our team has addressed the issue and is continuing to monitor to ensure complete resolution."

The Office 365 Status account posted this update at 1:23 p.m. ET:

"Our automated recovery services have taken the necessary actions to mitigate the impact associated with MO146611. We're continuing to monitor the service to ensure that this issue doesn't reoccur. We'll provide our next update on Thursday, August 16, 2018, at 11:00 PM UTC."

Though today's log-in/activation issue is broad enough for the official Office 365 Status account to respond to it, it's not the only current problem happening in this realm.

A number of Mac and iOS users have been reporting activation issues with Office 365 Personal subscriptions for the past several weeks. (Thanks to John Bergmayer, Kevin Long, and others for the heads up.)

Yesterday, a Microsoft representative updated the support thread about this issue, noting the engineering team had gathered all information for troubleshooting, but provided no update on when/how this problem will be fixed.

I've re-asked Microsoft if this activation issue is related to today's broader one, but no word back so far. I've also asked when and how Microsoft plans to fix the Mac/iOS-specific issue and will update this post if/when I hear back.

Update (August 17): I've heard from a couple of folks affected by activation problems on iOS and Mac that Microsoft seems to have fixed the issue. On Macs, it seems users need to run the Office License Removal tool before they can activate Office apps on their Mac.

Editorial standards