One of the first things you will want to do to get up and running with Microsoft Online is to start creating a few users in your system.  The first thing I would say is that I recommend you create an Admin account for yourself, and delete the default "admin@" account that gets automatically created for you when you sign up for the service.  That first administrator doesnt have a license automatically assigned to them, and it can be difficult sometimes when trying to give him licenses, or when trying to access services before giving him a license.  Let's walk through the process of creating your first "clean" admin account.

Logging In 

 Login using the credentials that were provided from the "Microsoft Online Customer Portal"  (We call this "MOCP" internally), this account will look something like admin@mycompany.microsoftonline.com. Navigate to the Admin Center (http://admin.microsoftonline.com) and input your login credentials.  It will ask you to change your password to something personal.. note that you have to give a password that contains letters, numbers, uppercase & lowercase, as well as at least one "special" character (!@#$%^&*, etc.).  Now that you've logged, lets create the user.

Creating the User

From the homepage, click on "Users" in the top-level navigation, now click on "User List", you will see the full list of users in your company (like just one person at this time, "admin@").  Now click "New User" in the Actions pane on the right, and the "New User Wizard" will appear.  On the first page, you will enter all of the user personal information.  In the "username" field, enter a nice alias that that user will want to have, this will be their email address, so make it something short and easy and 8 characters or less.  Using their firstname and their first initial is probably good enough for a small company.  In the domain drop-down you will see something that looks like "mycompany.microsoftonline.com" which will do for now, but you will want to add your own custom domain to this drop-down for most of your users.

NOTE:  Once you give someone a username & domain, this CANNOT BE CHANGED!  So please be thoughtful about the username and domain you're giving to the user.

The "Display Name" field is what will show up in Outlook when someone gets an email from this user, so be thoughtful about that as well.  Typically, users will want to see their full name in the "Display Name" field such as "Bob MacKenzie" or "Alanis Morissette".

The second screen is all about security.  The first think you'll see there is the user's password, but dont worry about writing it down... at the end of the wizard you will have an option to email this user account information to yourself, the person's manager, or the user themselves if they already have an existing email address with another system.  On this page you can also make this person an administrator, which would give them access to the Administration Center.  Dont give anyone access to the Admin Center that you wouldnt want playing with user accounts, Exchange, SharePoint, etc... admins hold a lot of power and things can go wrong if someone who means well starts making changes you're not aware of.  You can also disable this persons account so they cannot login yet.  For the average user, you'll just want to write down the password, and leave the settings at their default.

The next page is assigning Services to the user.  In our current Beta, there's only one license to assign, and EVERY USER MUST HAVE A LICENSE.  So make sure you click the checkbox next to the "Suite" license, otherwise an error will be shown when you try to create the user.  Once you've done that, click "Create".  Now your user is created, and they are ready to login!  They will have access to email, SharePoint, and Livemeeting - how exciting!

 Stay tuned to our next article where I will talk about the joys of SMTP Domain Verification!

 Casey