Troubleshooting Lync DNS errors in Office 365

I’ve been having a great time working on Lync instant messenger for Office 365. Despite this I’ve still managed to run into a few problems so I thought it would be good to share one of them on the blog. This is another one of those boring techie posts which will hopefully help someone else out who find this problem but likely isn’t that interesting for anyone else!

The problem I want to discuss today relates to the following Lync error message:
Instant Messaging isn’t available right now. The Contact list will appear when the service becomes available.

This error had been appearing in Outlook webmail since we first started using it. Reading Microsoft articles had suggested it was an issue with DNS (which seems quite likely as we maintain a split brain DNS with one set of BIND servers providing external and one set of AD DNS for internal). We had followed documentation and added all the relevant DNS entries to both sets of DNS but were still having this error.

I’d tried running the MOSDAL support kit but that hadn’t given me any obvious answers on the issue. It was then that I found some really useful documentation that helped solve the issue. Surprisingly the process was very simple. From the office 365 admin interface you navigate to the domains page, highlight your domain and then pick “troubleshoot”.

This will then run a wizard that reports on your DNS settings. In our case reporting the specific DNS entry that had been entered incorrectly.

By correcting this DNS entry we soon had Lync up and running via Outlook webmail. Hopefully this will help out someone else who’s had this error with their version of Office 365.

About Stuart Gould

IT Services Senior Infrastructure Solutions Specialist.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Private Cloud,
MCSE: Windows Server 2003,
MCSA: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008, Window Server 2003, Windows 7

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