Microsoft 365 Frequently Asked Questions


Microsoft 365 


Undergraduate students, staff, faculty, and graduate students can sign in to with their username ( and WatIAM password.

All University of Waterloo undergraduate students are provided a Microsoft 365 account.

Waterloo alumni will receive a Microsoft 365 email account that will provide anywhere access to a more secure, reliable, and much improved email experience.

Undergraduate and graduate students:

  • Microsoft 365 applications will be licensed for approximately 16 months after your last registered term. Your email account will work indefinitely, if you graduate from the institution (see 'What happens to my Office 365 account (email and apps) after I graduate?' for more info).

  • If you do not graduate from the institution, you will retain access to your Microsoft 365 account (email and apps) for approximately 16 months after your last registered term. 

Staff and faculty:

  • Staff and faculty will have access to their Microsoft 365 accounts for the duration of their employment or enrolment.

The mailbox quotas are as follows:

  • Shared mailboxes: 50GB

  • All employees/students/A3 licensed email accounts: 100GB

  • Accounts with A1 full licenses: 50 GB

  • Accounts with A1 mail and calendar only licenses (e.g. retirees, former students): 50 GB

Undergraduate and graduate email: You will keep your Microsoft 365 email account after you graduate.

Microsoft 365 Applications: You will keep your account for approximately 16 months after your last registered term. In order to keep any files, they will need to be saved to a new location. (See also FAQ entitled "How can I transfer files from my undergraduate OneDrive account to a secondary account (personal, staff, faculty, graduate student, etc.)?"

Staff and faculty will have access to their Microsoft 365 accounts for the duration of their employment or enrolment. In order to keep any files, they will need to be saved to a new location. (See also FAQ entitled "How can I transfer files from my undergraduate OneDrive account to a secondary account (personal, staff, faculty, graduate student, etc.)?"

Apps from Microsoft 365 such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive can be installed onto your work computer.

The use of Microsoft Office 2016 on University computers should continue to be accessed only through the IST Webstore.

No, the full Microsoft 365 suite is only available to current staff, faculty, and students. An A1 mail and calendar only license is available to retirees. See also, access to M365 apps and email by audience.

Please see the Terms of Service and Service Level Agreement from Microsoft.

Data stored in this service are subject to Microsoft data retention policies which may change from time to time. There is no capability to restore deleted data beyond the user-accessible facilities (e.g. versions and recycle bin) provided by Microsoft. Currently, Microsoft maintains a file history for 30 days.

  • Staff and student OneDrive accounts are identical in terms of storage size and access.

  • Students will use Microsoft 365 to access their UWaterloo email account and will have access to the full suite of Office 365 apps.

  • Staff, faculty, and grad students will have access to the full suite of Microsoft 365 apps, but will access their email through Connect.

  • If you have both a student and a staff account, you should use your primary account to access Microsoft 365:

    • If you are a student on co-op, continue to use your student account to access Microsoft 365/OneDrive.

    • If you are a staff member taking classes, continue to use your staff account to access Microsoft 365/OneDrive.

A Microsoft 365 mailbox gives you 100GB of storage. 


Troubleshooting Microsoft 365


Search your Archive folder. The Archive button is easy to accidently select while typing an email reply. The Archive button has been deactivated on the managed version of Microsoft 365, however pressing the backspace key while a message is selected will still move the message to the Archive folder. 

You should be prompted to authenticate. Click the top right log in button, enter your WatIAM ( credentials. If you are not affiliated with the University of Waterloo (e.g. Laurier or University of Guelph student), you can use your home institution credentials to authenticate M365 (e.g., 

Log in to your Microsoft 365 portal, go to My account > My installs > Deactivate as needed. Please note that Microsoft 365 on IST managed workstations will not count as one of your activations.

Make sure you are logged in to your computer and into M365 with the correct University of Waterloo account. Check all recent documents under File > Open in the appropriate M365 application.

Check your recycle bin and second stage recycle bin in your OneDrive online portal.

Authenticate with your personal Microsoft account or contact your IT service desk for more help.

Disable hardware graphic acceleration: File > Options > Advanced, under the Display section, make sure the 'disable hardware graphics acceleration' is selected. Note: this has already been done for IST managed workstations. 

In Skype for Business, select Settings > Personal, make sure the ‘Automatically start the app when I log on to Windows’ option is selected. In addition, open Task Manager > Startup and make sure Skype for Business is listed and enabled.

Make sure all users editing the document are using the same version of Office. There may be minor problems between users collaborating and using different versions of desktop Office suites (such as Office 2016 and Microsoft 365). Some features may not exist in an older version of Office or may be implemented in a new way. If the same desktop version cannot be used and problems occur, we recommend using Office Online (web version) available in M365.


Microsoft Apps


Microsoft Apps is the version of Office that is available through Microsoft 365 (M365). It includes applications such as Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Skype for Business, and Word. You can use these applications to connect with Microsoft 365 services such as SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Skype for Business Online.

Contact your IT support team for information on how to have Microsoft 365 installed on your computer.

IST and some faculties will be deploying Microsoft 365 ProPlus 64-bit via SCCM (on managed computers) in the near future. The managed version is tailored for Waterloo’s faculty and staff with scheduled monthly updates.

The downloadable version from will have Microsoft's default settings, and may be 32 or 64 bit. Updates will happen on Microsoft's schedule. This is only recommended for home, and unmanaged computers.

Microsoft 365 ProPlus will work as long as you are logged in with a Nexus account. If you use a generic account, you can request to either keep Office 2016 or install Office 2019 on the laptop. Please contact your local IT support for advice on the best approach to use Office on a shared laptop.

Some user interface changes may occur during the monthly Office 365 ProPlus update.

No, Office 365 ProPlus can be used offline. However, you need to be connected to the Internet the first time you run any office application for the initial authentication. After that, you will need to connect to the Internet at least once every 30 days to renew the token (done automatically once connected). If M365 fails to renew the token, it will enter reduced functionality read-only state.


Troubleshooting Microsoft Apps 


Log off and/or restart your computer and log back in.

If your Microsoft applications are crashing, troubleshoot using the Software Center: click on the Windows Start menu > Software Center > select Licensed – Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus > click Repair. All of the Microsoft applications can be repaired using the Software Center. If the issue persists, please contact your local IT support for further assistance.

Note: All associated Microsoft software (i.e. Visio, Project) will be re-installed using this method. 

AutoSave in Microsoft has two meanings. When using M365 OneDrive AutoSave does a real-time save as you edit Office files, and this option is visible as the AutoSave toggle in the upper left. When saving to another location (local drive or SharePoint) Microsoft provides a timed automatic save, and the AutoSave toggle in the upper left will not be available.

Try a Microsoft Quick Repair. Open Control Panel > Programs and Features and look for Office 365 ProPlus; select the Change button. This will prompt you to select a Quick Repair. For managed workstations, if Quick Repair doesn't work, submit a request to to request assistance.

Try a Microsoft 365 ProPlus Quick Repair. Open Control Panel -> programs and features and look for Office 365 ProPlus; select the Change button. This will prompt you to select a Quick Repair. For managed workstations, if Quick Repair doesn't work submit a request to to request assistance.

Click File > OptionsAdd-in, go to COM Add-ins, and uncheck 'Microsoft Teams Meeting add-in for Microsoft office'.


Sharing and file storage


Sharing files with students is possible but please be aware of the General principles section on the Guidelines for Cloud-Based Educational Technologies document. LEARN is the preferred method to share academic work; auditing file logs are possible in LEARN but not OneDrive.  

Please see How do I share files using OneDrive?

Yes, you can real-time co-author documents with your colleagues. See the Microsoft documentation on how to share the document and invite others to edit it with you. 

Microsoft 365 allows file sharing with off-campus (external) users. Please see How do I share files using OneDrive?

Yes, OneDrive may be used as a replacement for the N: drive. Highly restricted information may also be stored in OneDrive if two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled. Please also review the Guidelines for secure data exchange: Choosing information transmission methods based on the security classification for more information.  

Expectation of privacy

Please see Guidelines on use of Waterloo computing and network resources.

Expectation of use

  1. Use of this service is governed by the Guidelines on use of Waterloo computing and network resources.

  2. Data stored in this service are subject to Microsoft data retentions policies, which may change from time to time. Currently, files may be retrieved from the users recycle bin for up to a period of 93 days. 

  3. Users of this service are expected to exercise the utmost care when sharing files, e.g. verify spelling of names and email addresses.

When saving to ‘OneDrive’, you are saving to your Microsoft 365 account. When saving to ‘SharePoint’, you are given the option to save to a recently used University of Waterloo (on premise) SharePoint site on which you have edit permissions. If you try to save to ‘Sites-University of Waterloo’ you will see an ‘UPLOAD FAILED’ error since this saves to a Shared space where all staff/faculty using Microsoft 365 would see your file.

IST's recommendation is to use the supported Microsoft Services. 

Method 1:

  1. Log in to the desktop version of OneDrive using your undergraduate email account (

  2. Log in to the web-based version of OneDrive using your secondary account (staff, faculty, graduate student, personal, etc.) at .

  3. Select all files from your desktop OneDrive folder and drag them into the web-based version.

  4. Keep your web browser open until the sync completes.

Method 2:

  1. Log in to the desktop version of OneDrive using both accounts.

    1. Adding a second OneDrive account for Windows 10.

    2. Adding a second OneDrive account for MacOS.

  2. Drag and drop files from your undergraduate folder, to your secondary folder.

  3. Allow time for OneDrive to sync.

Method 3: 

Follow the steps from the IST Knowledge Base article on Moving files from a OneDrive account to another OneDrive account.


Maximum File Size


Maximum File Size


15 GB

Microsoft Teams

15 GB

The Microsoft Teams OneDrive has 25 TB of storage. 


Email-undergraduate students


In April 2020, undergraduate student Office 365 email addresses were moved to the employee tenant and use the domain.

You can select a 'friendly' email address ( by updating your profile WatIAM.

Instructions to create a friendly email address:

  1. Once you sign in to WatIAM, select "Manage Familiar Name".

  2. You can change choose your "familiar name" to whatever you would like as shown below:

  3. Select “Submit” to save your “Familiar Name”. 

  4. Select "Manage Email Settings" 

  5. Select your friendly email address, and select “Submit”.

Yes. However, you need to change your familiar name in WatIAM. The familiar name change will be reflected in your Microsoft 365 account. 

  1. Go to WatIAM.

  2. Select "Manage Familiar Name".

  3. Enter your familiar name.

  4. Click Submit.

Please refer to information on recovering deleted items or email in Outlook Web App.

When setting up your new Microsoft 365 email account on your Android device you should be aware that if you use the ActiveSync method, it asks you to allow the following: 

"Remote Security Administration: The server requires that you allow it to remotely control some security features of your Android device. Do you want to finish setting up this account?"

Spam filtering is managed by Microsoft. Please see the documentation for anti-spam and anti-malware protection. You can report spam messages to Microsoft to help them to improve their services.


Email - staff, faculty and graduate students


Faculty, staff and graduate students will continue to use Connect for email and calendar until they are migrated to Microsoft 365 email. For more information, please see:


Microsoft Stream 


Microsoft Stream is an enterprise video management and sharing service where people in an organization can upload, view, organize and share videos securely. It allows users to connect, collaborate, learn and share information through a video format. Anyone can search for videos easily and consume them on their device, whenever and wherever. 

Stream is intended for all undergraduate students, staff and faculty members within the University who are interested in using videos in the workplace to connect, collaborate, learn and share information.  

Stream enables content creation features such as upload a video, adding subtitles/captions, polls and quizzes. Stream also allows users to view and share to others within an organization securely. With the addition of Microsoft intelligent services, Stream can automatically generate a transcript, allowing users to search for a word/phrase within one video, or across several videos. Transcripts can be edited if there are any inaccuracies.  

You can also make your video more engaging by adding a survey, quiz, or poll using Microsoft Forms. You can add forms anywhere in videos you own, view responses, and share a summary link that shows answers and scores in Microsoft Forms. For more step by step instructions, see Microsoft's guide on adding surveys, polls, and quizzes to Stream videos

Meetings recorded in Microsoft Teams will be captured in Microsoft Stream; you can record meetings and group calls but one-on-one phone calls are not supported yet.

Live events access is currently limited and will be provided on a case-by-case basis. Please note live events access requires users to have Microsoft 365 mail. 

  1. In the Microsoft Stream portal, select Create > Upload a video or click the upload icon from the top navigation bar.

  2. Drag and drop or select files from your computer or device.

Yes. You can share videos within an organization or with a specific person, an M365 Group, or by Teams you are involved with. If your video is uploaded to Microsoft teams, the permission level will be automatically set to team only. 

Please note: By default, recorded Teams meetings can be edited and downloaded by all Team members. To restrict access, update the video permissions in Microsoft Stream and select the ‘Owner’ checkbox next to your Team name. Read our how-to article on how to restrict video permissions in Microsoft Stream.

The Shared with field is where you determine who can view/own your video and which groups/channels the video is a part of. Use the search drop down list to narrow your search scope and pick who you want to share your video with. 

  • My groups - search scope to add your video to a group that you can contribute to 

  • Channels - search scope to add your video to a channel directly, including companywide channels 

  • People - search scope to grant permission to individual people, AD Security Groups, and/or Office 365 Groups that you don't have contribute rights to 

Visit Microsoft's website for information on default permission settings on Microsoft Stream.

Stream has full integration with many other office products such as Teams and Office suite. Your video data is also hosted on a Canadian based server providing better privacy and security. In addition, Stream allows for uploaded videos to be secured with a combination of permissions at the video level, group membership, and settings of a group.  

Students can create content and watch video in Stream. External users/guests do not have access to Microsoft Stream services. 

Microsoft Stream is supported in Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11 (IE11 document mode only), and the current versions of Chrome and Safari. 

MP4 (recommended) is supported in addition to other file types.

Stream supports 1080p on-demand videos and 720p live event recordings, with a maximum length of 4 hours. Stream does not support audio-only files. 

  1. If the videos are stored in Teams or OneDrive: the lifecycle is the same as any other files in Teams or OneDrive.  

    1. Please note: if a team in Microsoft Team is deleted, the associated video content will also be deleted. Files can be recovered within 25 days of deletion.  

  2. In videos are stored in Stream: the content will remain until the user’s Microsoft 365 license expires (then be recoverable for 30 days) (unless there is another owner who still has an M365 acct) 

You can download the Microsoft Stream app to access on a mobile device: 

  • Microsoft Stream for iOS for iOS 11+ (download

  • Microsoft Stream for Android 5.0+ (download

If you need additional help with Microsoft stream: 

Privacy and security


Microsoft 365 physical and logical security is managed by Microsoft and their service and data center staff. UWaterloo manages the authentication and login credentials. Microsoft is the hosting service and does not get user IDs and passwords. UWaterloo has administrator access to our instance of Microsoft 365. The University is the service provider to the community and we control our data.

No. Users gain access to Microsoft 365 by logging on to our standard University web login screens. When a user wants to access email, Microsoft 365 sends a request to the University’s authentication system (CAS) asking for UWaterloo credentials. This takes the user to the University’s web login screen, on equipment hosted by the University. When log in is successful, a token is sent back to Microsoft 365 that verifies the user’s identity. This is part of the separation of duties designed to better protect the privacy and confidentiality of community members.

In our digital world, most forms of communication are potentially exposed to electronic surveillance regardless of where they are hosted. Microsoft has stated that they do not provide back doors to their servers to governmental agencies. The University’s instance of Microsoft 365 is fully hosted on Canadian servers.

Yes, two-factor authentication (2FA) is currently available via opt-in for web-based logins only.

Microsoft will remove support for these protocols. Disabling these protocols in April 2020 is part of the migration to the @uwaterloo tenant/domain minimizes future disruptions.