Lync 2013 client reverting back to ‘preview’ or unlicensed on Windows 8

Well it's been an eventful few weeks.  I've been a bit ill and haven't been crunching those cases.

Here is an example of where us in Lync escalation services have to collaborate with other teams to get the fix working for the customer.  To be frank, actually, the other team provided the solution to the customer and they should be praised highly.

So a customer raised a case with us in UK escalation services.  The long and the short of it was that the customer had previously installed the O365 Preview bits, ran Office 2010 bits side by side, then uninstalled them both when the new upgrade to Office came along for his tenant.  Running the Lync 2013 full client would result in an crash with a dialog box appearing that said:

"We're sorry, but Lync has run into an error that is preventing it from working correctly. Lync will be closed as a result.  Would you like us to repair now?"

Then a few buttons to repair now, help or close.  Interestingly the dialog title said:

"Lync (non-commercial use)(Unlicensed product)"

Which is strange since the client had apparently been downloaded from the tenant portal area.

The client had been uninstalled several times PLUS the uninstall process followed, using the automated 'fix it' way and the manual way (

There were some issues in the past where old bits of the preview were causing problems installing the 'full' version of the office suite.

So the focus was currently on the customers previous installation of O365 which may have been causing the issue. 

Uninstalling Lync 2013 client would be cleanly done, working through the registry at this point didn't reveal anything too crazy in terms of left over details from the preview installation.

The weirdest behaviour was when I managed to get 2013 working ok on the customers machine.  We thought that this was a job done and go home for tea and biscuits.  However when the customer woke their laptop up from sleep the old error popped back.

SO it was something in the startup that was telling the Lync client that it actually was an unlicensed product.  The issue wasn't there as part of the installation.

At this point I took a process monitor trace, this would take a trace of the process and how it was interacting with the local machine.  It was at this point that I had to call in the big guns.  This felt initially like a setup issue but now was one around licensing.  I sent out feelers to the Office team and got responses.  Previously, this case had been with them, but had been put to Lync online because it looked to be a Lync related issue.  Once I had nailed it down to the client reverting rather than being installed incorrectly I could then ask for help.

So the amazing chaps at the office team found this in the process monitor traces:

3:47:38.6048073 PM Explorer.EXE 4688 RegQueryValue HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers\C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\lync.exe SUCCESS Type: REG_SZ, Length: 20, Data: ~ WIN7RTM

So, explorer, before firing up, was checking if I need to run Lync in Windows 7 compatibility mode.  In this case it was.  Which isn't the best thing to do if the licensing model needs to remain working with the Lync 2013 Windows 8 install of the product.

Once the office team determined the that this was the case, they advised the customer not to run in compatibility mode and the Lync client now worked as advertised.,

The lesson is that it might not only be the application that is failing or been set incorrectly.  Hope this helps!



Comments (3)

  1. Peter says:

    So how did you set Lync 2013 not to run in compatibility mode?

  2. Mbuso says:

    Please uninstall   Lync (Unlicenced )

  3. mbuso says:

    Please uninstall Microsoft Lync  2010

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