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The SharePoint Online Site Collection Upgrade Experience–Part 1

The SharePoint Online Site Collection Upgrade Experience–Part 1

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Recently, we have seen questions coming in from Partners about the site collection upgrade experience for their customers who have been upgraded to the new SharePoint Online.

After Office 365 (and SharePoint Online) are upgraded to the new version, end users should not notice a difference with their site collections.  They will continue to look and function as they did before.

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However, if the Site Collection Administrator pokes around in Site Actions –> Site Settings, they may stumble across the “Site collection upgrade” option, and then hit the following error:

Prepare for takeoff!

Upgrade is currently disabled for your site collection. Please check back later to see if it has been unlocked for you.

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This is due to a setting that can only be changed by the SharePoint Online (or Global) Administrator.

After your Office 365 subscription has been upgraded, for a limited time you can give users a choice between creating site collections by using the SharePoint 2010 look-and-feel, or by using the new SharePoint 2013 experience.

Depending on the setting you choose, you can also control whether or not SharePoint Online site collections created with an earlier version of the templates can be upgraded to the current versions. For example, if you want to temporarily prevent users from upgrading sites while you update any customizations you’ve previously made to a SharePoint Online template, you can configure these settings to prevent the upgrade of any existing sites that use this template.

(Click to see picture full size)

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    To configure these settings:

    1. Go to Admin > SharePoint > Settings
    2. In the Global Experience Version Settings section, choose one of the following options:
    1. Allow creation of old version site collections, but prevent creation of new version site collections. Prevent opt-in upgrade to the new version site collections to only allow users to create site collections using the SharePoint Online 2010 templates and to prevent them from upgrading these site collections to SharePoint 2013.
    2. Allow creation of old version site collections, and creation of new version site collections. Allow opt-in upgrade to the new version site collections to allow users to create either SharePoint Online 2010 site collections or SharePoint Online 2013 site collections and allow them to upgrade the 2010 versions to 2013.
    3. Prevent creation of old version site collections, but allow creation of new version site collections. Allow opt-in upgrade to the new version site collections to only allow users to create site collections using the SharePoint Online 2013 templates and to allow them to upgrade any existing SharePoint Online 2010 site collections to SharePoint Online 2013.
    1. Click OK.

You can watch a short video of this upgrade process here:

After enabling the upgrade, from the SharePoint Online admin center, you can select multiple site collections, and send Upgrade notifications (with instructions) to Site Collection Administrators.

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You can also view the Site collection upgrade settings, looking at the current experience version (2010 or 2013), get the link to the demo site (if the site collection administrator has created one), and enable/disable upgrade on a site-by-site basis.

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For more information, see:

In Part 2, I’ll post a video by Partner Solution Consultant Jon Horner that goes into detail on what to expect before, during, and after the upgrade; and how to upgrade My Sites to SkyDrive and Team Sites to the 2013 experience.

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