Microsoft Teams authentication issues and a potential solution

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I have found it hard to cheerlead Microsoft Teams because I see other customers and individuals struggle with authentication issues. I have had plenty of these issues, which involve symptoms such as:

  • Teams cycling with mysterious errors so I can’t log in, such as ‘We are having an issue right now, please try and sign in again’ with an offer to sign me out.
  • Sometimes it just cycles, or, like it did today, it just hung on me with a blank Teams screen.

I have had a number of frustrating Support experiences, and it took two days for a Microsoft Support team member to rip out my logins from Azure Active Directory so that they didn’t ‘know’ about one another, and then try to log me in again. After that, I had less problems but I often had to go into Incognito mode and use the web app. That does not work for TeamsClass when you are presenting, though; you have to get the Desktop client working or you cannot deliver the session.

In the meantime, there has been a buzz about Teams adoption and so on, but I have not been able to join the Teams party. These issues, which I’ve seen for myself and for my customers, mean that I have been put in a dilemma: do I cheerlead Teams as an MVP or RD, or do I show empathy for my customers and acknowledge their issues, and quietly pass them on to Microsoft in the hope that it gets attention? So I am blogging here to show empathy towards people who are struggling to get into Teams and hopefully provide a bit of a solution.

Like many consultants, I have more than one Teams / Office 365 login. This means I am not the standard default template place that Microsoft are accustomed to working with. However, I believe that this scenario is likely to change and the multiple login issues will become more prevalent. I do charity work, for example, for an organisation which is using Teams to try and communication. We tried it out, some volunteers could not get in, so we canned the idea. So the adoption rate might have been high, but the retention rate was low because the others gave up and that was that. We went back to email, in case you’re interested, which I personally hate.

I spoke to a support team who suggested that the desktop client Teams probably isn’t shutting down properly, and that can mean that it will default to the last known good password that it used and it can be hard to get around that. One way to do it was to go into Credential Manager on the Desktop and remove all references to Teams, and then try to log in again.

Now, I am not a security or desktop expert but I thought I’d take a look. When I looked in the Credential Manager, I found sixty odd references to Microsoft Teams, all with different logins and only God knows what was going on, probably as a result of me resetting passwords for different logins and whatever else. I Googled around and found some PowerShell scripts that aimed to sort the problem out, so it was not just me.

I deleted a ton of the Teams credentials before I realized that it might be useful to someone else, hence this blog. So this is what my Credential Manager looks like now that I have spent time deleting the various scraps of authentication lying around:

As I understand it, you need to delete anything that starts with msteams_adalsso at the front. I have left a few examples so you can see them here.

For some reason, I had a slew of these Teams registrations in my Credential Manager. I also had logins that were not mine; I found some that belonged to some of my employees and previous colleagues. I think what’s happened is that I have set up their account, logged in as that employee to check that everything works, and then logged out again, and then sent them their login credentials with an instruction to change their password. I can imagine that, at this point, it has registered a ton of stuff on my Credential Manager so this meant that, not only did my login credentials get mixed up, but my team’s individual logins were all in there as well.

Interestingly, Slack only registered two tokens, as did Sourcetree (Atlassian) since I have used BitBucket in the past. My guess is that the lighter approach taken by these solutions means that the login is much easier and I never have a problem moving around different Slack channels or any Atlassian work. I am doing work for an enterprise customer who uses these technologies so I have paid accounts for both, provided by the customer.

Simply put, the solution seemed to be to go into Credential Manager and delete the Teams entries, one-by-one, and then reboot. I have used the trick previously of going into Incognito mode, but for TeamsClass that does not work when you are delivering a session because you must use the Desktop client.

I hope that helps someone. I am not totally sure if the issue is fixed, but it seems like a step in the right direction. If the multiple logins issue was sorted, I’d find it so much easier to fix the solution for other people and cheerlead Teams as I’d like. When it works, it works great and I love what it can do with Power BI. However, I have to get over these hurdles first, and help my customers do so reliably, too.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Please do leave them in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft Teams authentication issues and a potential solution

  1. Very interesting thanks! I’ll try it out. Had the sane problem at times. Personally I use Chrome accounts and the web app, but the desktop client is better.
    I’d love to have tabs at the bottom for each account, colour coded. I can but dream….

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