How to: Fix “You have to delete all the items in this folder before you can delete the folder” Error from SharePoint/OneDrive

The Issue

When trying to delete a folder from Microsoft 365/Office 365 SharePoint, we get following error (Even if we are using Microsoft 365 Global Administrator)

You have to delete all the items in this folder before you can delete the folder

Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Delete folder error
Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Delete folder error

The Fix

There are two workarounds, 1 one is manually dive into the folders, till we open the last and innermost folder, then delete our way to outermost/top-level folders, 2 another way is fix this error completely but there will be cons as well.

Method 1 – Manually (Old fashioned/Classic way)

This method is easiest and suitable for deleting small amount of folders and files (e.g. 5 folders in hierarchy structure), if you have more than 10 level of folders like Matryoshka doll below or even 10 folder and each of them has 20 folders in hierarchy structure…..

Matryoshka doll
Matryoshka doll

You probably would not want to delete them one by one manually, then let’s look at method 2 below

Method 2 – Disable File Retention

This method is easy to deal with, disable file retention for everything in Microsoft 365 or just for SharePoint (It depends on you Retention rules), the con for this method is that, Warning: If anyone or any users is deleting folders or any files during this period with Retention off, then those folder and files will not be protected by the Retention rules, since it is off. Here is how to do it

1 Login to Microsoft 365 admin center

2 Click on “Security” to open “Office 365 Security & Compliance

3 Navigate to “Information governance” -> “Retention” from left hand side menu bar

4 From right hand side, find the Retention policy which is protecting SharePoint or OneDrive or both, or maybe 1 rule is protecting everything Microsoft 365, again it depends on your settings.

5 Click on that rule, Find the switch underneath “Status”, switch it off.

6 Wait for 10 – 60 minutes

7 Try to delete the folder which contains many sub folders and files, this time it should proceed without any errors.

8 Remember to turn the Retention switch back on!!! (If you still want to use it)


How to: Approve/Reject/Moderate email from new Microsoft 365/Office 365 web Outlook/Online/Outlook/web mail on Mobile devices/phones

The Issue

We used to be able to Moderate/Approve/Reject emails within the web version of Outlook from mobile phones/devices, the new web version of Outlook on mobile phone/device however, removed that feature

The Fix

So how do we approve or reject emails now?

Here is how

No matter you are using Android or iOS devices, most mobile devices’ browsers should support “Desktop Version”

As you guessed, here is how to approve/reject emails from our mobile phone or devices

1 Use the native web browser from our mobile device, or we can use third-party browser by installing the browser app e.g. Mozilla Firefox

2 Login to https://office.com with your Microsoft 265 account

3 Click on “Outlook”

4 Now we will see the mobile web version of Outlook will appear

5 Find “…” or “Aa” etc. or Settings…

6 Find the option to “Switch to Desktop Version” or “Desktop Version” or similar options

7 Now we will be able to Approve/Reject the email


How to: Fix”This site has a compliance policy set to block deletion.” “A compliance policy is currently blocking this site deletion” Error for Office 365/SharePoint

The Error

This site has a compliance policy set to block deletion.

Office 365, SharePoint This site has a compliance policy set to block deletion.
Office 365, SharePoint This site has a compliance policy set to block deletion.

Can’t delete site
A compliance policy is currently blocking this site deletion

Office 365, SharePoint A compliance policy is currently blocking this site deletion
Office 365, SharePoint A compliance policy is currently blocking this site deletion

The Fix

Note: Usually this indicates that the retention policy is enabled for this site which we want to delete

1 Delete the Group from Microsoft 365 admin center

2 We also need to delete the group from “Deleted groups” from “Azure Active Directory admin center

Give it one or two days.

If the site is still in “SharePoint admin center” -> “Active sites” we can try to disable “Retention Policy” for awhile

Warning: Before go ahead and disabling Retention Policy, make sure you understand the risks and what you are doing.

3 Navigate to Office 365 Security & Compliance -> Information governance -> Retention

4 Find the Retention Policy which covers the SharePoint site, disable it

Wait 10 minutes to 1 hour, go back to to “SharePoint admin center” and check “Active sites” and “Deleted sites”, the site should end up in the “Deleted sites”

Do not forget to enable “Retention Policy” again for the SharePoint Site!


How to: Find/Recovery deleted files from SharePoint/Office 365

First we need to have “Retention Policy” enabled and applied to SharePoint and OneDrive from Office 365 Security & Compliance center, otherwise we will not be able to recover deleted files from SharePoint, then the “Preservation Hold Library” will be created after the policy is applied and the first deletion of file happends.

1 Navigate to the SharePoint we want to recover file for

2 Click on “Site Contents” from left hand side

Office 365, SharePoint - Site Contents
Office 365, SharePoint – Site Contents

3 Click on “Preservation Hold Library” to open it

Office 365, SharePoint - Preservation Hold Library
Office 365, SharePoint – Preservation Hold Library

4 Now we can see deleted files and recover files from there

Note: Only Site Administrators can access Preservation Hold Library


How to: Switch/Change between Monthly Channel and Semi-Annual Channel for Office 365/Office 2019/Microsoft 365 (How to: Switch update channel for Office 365/Office 2019/Microsoft 365)

Before we start, make sure all office apps are closed/terminated.

1 Check your current Office Version First: How to: Check Office 365/Office 2019 current update channel

2 To change/switch the update channel for Office, first we need to launch Registry Editor

2.1 Launch “Run” Window by using Win + R key combination

Microsoft Windows - Run window
Microsoft Windows – Run window

2.2 Type “regedit” then click on OK button or press Enter key

3 Navigate to following path

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration

If it’s O365 or Office 2019, make sure it’s under Office\16.0\ClickToRun…. not 15.0

Registry Editor - ClickToRun - Configuration (Change office update channel)
Registry Editor – ClickToRun – Configuration (Change office update channel)

4 The items we will need to change/modify to change the update channel are “CDNBaseUrl”, “UpdateChannel” and “UpdateChannelChanged” (Double click on the item to modify)

(Before changing the value, make sure you have backup of those urls, you can copy and save it to somewhere safe)

For switching to Monthly Channel, we make following changes

(Note: For other channels see the bottom of the page)

CDNBaseUrl

http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/492350f6-3a01-4f97-b9c0-c7c6ddf67d60

UpdateChannel

http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/492350f6-3a01-4f97-b9c0-c7c6ddf67d60

For switching to Semi-Annual Channel

CDNBaseUrl

http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/7ffbc6bf-bc32-4f92-8982-f9dd17fd3114

UpdateChannel

http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/7ffbc6bf-bc32-4f92-8982-f9dd17fd3114

Note: The following steps are required for switching to either of Monthly Channel or Semi-Annual Channel

5 Change “UpdateChannelChanged” value from “False” to “True”

6 Launch any office apps, Excel, Word etc. etc.

7 Continue from this guide (How to: Check Office 365/Office 2019 current update channel) till the end, click on “Office Updates” button showing from the last image from the above guide.

8 Wait till the update finish, no we have successfully switched update channel for our Office 365/Office 2019

Edit (14/05/2020)

As of 14/05/2020, Microsoft has changed their naming for update channels, not sure if there is anything to do with the updating URL yet.

New namesOld names
Beta ChannelInsider
Current Channel (Preview)Monthly Channel (Targeted)
Current ChannelMonthly Channel
Monthly Enterprise ChannelN/A
Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Preview)Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)
Semi-Annual Enterprise ChannelSemi-Annual Channel

Edit (22/05/2020)

Bonus

Different channel CDNBaseUrl, UpdateChannel

Monthly Enterprise Channel
CDNBaseUrl = http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/55336b82-a18d-4dd6-b5f6-9e5095c314a6
 
Current Channel
CDNBaseUrl = http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/492350f6-3a01-4f97-b9c0-c7c6ddf67d60
 
Current Channel (Preview)
CDNBaseUrl = http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/64256afe-f5d9-4f86-8936-8840a6a4f5be
 
Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel
CDNBaseUrl = http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/7ffbc6bf-bc32-4f92-8982-f9dd17fd3114
 
Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Preview)
CDNBaseUrl = http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/b8f9b850-328d-4355-9145-c59439a0c4cf
 
Beta Channel
CDNBaseUrl = http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/5440fd1f-7ecb-4221-8110-145efaa6372f

Comparison of the update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps

The following table provides a comparison of Current Channel, Monthly Enterprise Channel, and Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel. [1]

Current
Channel
Monthly Enterprise
Channel
Semi-Annual Enterprise
Channel
Recommended useProvide your users with new Office features as soon as they are ready, but on no set schedule.Provide your users with new Office features only once a month and on a predictable schedule.For select devices in your organization, where extensive testing is needed before rolling out new Office features. For example, to comply with regulatory, governmental, or other organizational requirements.
Release frequency1At least once a month (likely more often), but on no set scheduleOnce a month, on the second Tuesday of the monthOnce a month, on the second Tuesday of the month
Feature updates2As soon as they’re ready (usually once a month), but on no set scheduleOnce a month, on the second Tuesday of the monthTwice a year (in January and July), on the second Tuesday of the month
Security updates3
(if needed)
Once a month, on the second Tuesday of the monthOnce a month, on the second Tuesday of the monthOnce a month, on the second Tuesday of the month
Non-security updates2
(if needed)
Usually at least once a month (possibly more often), but no set scheduleOnce a month, on the second Tuesday of the monthOnce a month, on the second Tuesday of the month
Support duration for a given version4Until the next version is released with new features, which is usually about one monthTwo monthsFourteen months

1 For a list of release dates for these update channels, including version and build numbers, see Update history for Microsoft 365 Apps.

2 For information about what feature updates and non-security updates are included in a given release of these update channels, see Release notes for Microsoft 365 Apps releases.

3 For a list of security updates included in a given release of these update channels, see Release notes for Microsoft 365 Apps Security Updates

4 For a table that shows which version and build is currently supported for each of these update channels, see Update history for Microsoft 365 Apps.

Channel attribute (part of Updates element)

Optional. The default is Broad for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and Monthly for the subscription versions of the Project and Visio desktop apps.

If you use Group Policy with the Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) for Office, you can set Channel by using the Update Channel policy setting. You can find this policy setting under Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office 2016 (Machine)\Updates. If enabled, this Group Policy setting takes precedence over the Channel value set by using the Office Deployment Tool.

Allowed values:

  • Channel=”Monthly”
  • Channel=”MonthlyEnterprise”
  • Channel=”Broad”
  • Channel=”Targeted”

Use “Broad” for Semi-Annual Channel and “Targeted” for Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted). [2]

References

[1] “Overview of update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps”, Docs.microsoft.com, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/overview-update-channels

[2] “Configuration options for the Office Deployment Tool”, Docs.microsoft.com, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/office-deployment-tool-configuration-options#channel-attribute-part-of-updates-element


How to: Check Office 365/Office 2019 current update channel

1 Launch any office apps e.g. Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint etc.

2 Click on “File” from top menu bar/Ribbon

Microsoft Word - Menu/Ribbon - File
Microsoft Word – Menu/Ribbon – File

3 Click on “Options” or “Office Account” or “Account”, depend on your version, the location or the appearance can be different from the image below

Microsoft Word - Options
Microsoft Word – Options

4 Look at the “Product Information”, under the “About word” or “About Excel” etc. depend on which App you are using, we can see version information and the update channel information, in this case we are on “Semi-annual Channel” (Yours can be Monthly Channel etc.)

Microsoft Office Product Information
Microsoft Office Product Information

How to: Fix Microsoft Word showing { PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT } instead of page numbers?

The Issue

When we trying to add page numbers to the document, the page number appear as { PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT } instead of actual page numbers.

Microsoft Word - { PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT }
Microsoft Word – { PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT }

The Fix

1 Right click on the “{ PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT }” Click on “Toggle Field Codes” option

Microsoft Word - { PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT }
Microsoft Word – { PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT }

2 Now the actual page number is back

Microsoft Word - Page Number
Microsoft Word – Page Number

(Or use Alt + F9 to switch between field codes/values for entire document)

(Or select the entire field and press Shift + F9 to switch between field codes/values)


How to: Allow guest/external participant to give or request control in Microsoft Teams

The Issue

When using Microsoft Teams with external participants, the “Request control” button within Teams is dimmed/gray/grayed out

The Fix

1 You need to be the Office 365 Administrator, if not, contact your IT department

2 Login to https://admin.teams.microsoft.com

3 Navigate to “Meetings – Meeting policies – Global (Org-wide default)” (Or desired policy)

Microsoft Teams admin center - Meeting policies
Microsoft Teams admin center – Meeting policies

4 Scroll down to “Content sharing” section then enable “Allow an external participant to give or request control”

Enable Allow an external participant to give or request control for organization

Now users should be able to click on the “Request control”


How to: Find “Quarantine” in new Office 365 admin center?

Where is “Quarantine” page which we can use to review and release false-positive spam/phishing emails?

To Navigate to “Quarantine” page in the new Office 365 admin center.

Method 1 – Through clicks

1 Login to Office 365 Security & Compliance: https://protection.office.com/

2 Navigate to “Thread management – Review”

3 Double click on “Quarantine”

Navigate to Review, double click on Quarantine
Navigate to Review, double click on Quarantine

Method 2 – Direct URL

1 Click on the following link and sign in to Office 365

https://protection.office.com/quarantine

2 Now you should have Quarantine page right in front of you

More useful Office 365 admin quick links can be found here: Microsoft Office 365/O365 Administration links (Admin links, admin centers, Quarantine etc.)


How to: Find out “lost/missing” document/file from Microsoft Office 365 (Document/File saved to wrong place in SharePoint/OneDrive)

Warning: This simple guide is for people who actually saved file or document to wrong place without paying attention and want to find out the file.

Sometimes, when we saving files to SharePoint, especially when the path is very long, we can save to wrong spot without knowing, until we want to use the file again.

Here are some easy ways to find the “lost” file or documents.

Method 1 – Open from Word/Excel/PowerPoint

1 Launch the corresponding software/program if we were editing the file/document in Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

2 Looking at the “Recent” section in the Office program.

3 Once identified the wanted document, underneath the file name, usually it’s the path of the file in SharePoint

Method 2 – Search for file/document

If you still remember the partial file name

1 Sign into office.com

2 In the top search box, search for the file

3 The file might appear in search results

4 Click on the folder/path of that file, not the file name

5 Now the folder contains the file/document will be in front of you