Quick Start Guide to Using Microsoft Office 365 with Windows Server Essentials


Updated: April 23, 2014

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

Office 365 is an easy-to-use set of web-enabled tools that let you access your email, important documents, contacts, and calendar from almost anywhere and any device. These tools include Microsoft Office Web Apps, which are web versions of the Microsoft Office desktop applications that you are already familiar with, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. With Office Web Apps, you can create and edit documents on any computer with a web browser.

For a quick introduction to Office 365, view the Office 365: A tour for users videos at the Office 365 website.

If your organization uses Office 365 web apps, you can open the apps in Office 365 using familiar tools like the Windows Server Essentials Launchpad and My Server 2012 R2. (You can also, of course, sign in to Office 365 directly using your organizational online ID and your network password.)


If you lose a mobile device that you use to connect to Exchange Online, contact your administrator so they can remove sensitive data from the device the next time it’s turned on.

Before you begin

  1. You must have a Microsoft Online Services account (in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, it’s called an Office 365 account) assigned to your user account. If you don’t already have an online account for Office 365, ask the person who maintains your computer network to create one for you.

  2. After you get your online account, sign in on the network and reset your Windows password. You will now use the same password to sign in to Office 365 that you use on your network.


You might be prompted to change your Windows password when you sign in on your network.

Open Office 365 apps from the Launchpad

The Windows Server Essentials Launchpad gives you access to computer backups, shared files and media, and the Remote Web Access site from your computer. If you have a Microsoft online account, you can also open Office 365 web apps from the Launchpad. The Launchpad is installed automatically the first time you use your computer to connect to the server.

To open Office 365 from the Launchpad

  1. Open the Launchpad, click Microsoft Office 365, and then click Office 365 Home.

  2. Sign in to Office 365 using the Microsoft online ID you were given and your Windows password.


If you have not set up your computer to work with Office 365, follow the steps in the Start here section of the Office 365 portal.

Work with documents in your SharePoint Online libraries from My Server 2012 R2

If your server has the Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials operating system, and your administrator is managing Office 365 from the server, you can work with the documents in your SharePoint Online libraries from your laptop, mobile device, or phone by using the My Server 2012 R2 app. The app is free. You will need to install it first.

To install My Server 2012 R2

  • Download and install the appropriate My Server 2012 R2 app for your laptop, mobile device, or Windows phone:
Device type Download from
Windows-based laptop, PC, or Surface device My Server 2012 R2 (Apps for Windows)
Windows 8 phone or Windows 8.1 phone My Server 2012 R2 (Windows Phone store)

To work with documents in SharePoint Online libraries from My Server 2012 R2

  1. Open the My Server 2012 R2 app.

  2. Click SharePoint Online.


If you don’t see SharePoint Online, ask your administrator whether Office 365 has been integrated with the server.

  1. Click a SharePoint Online library to display the documents in the library.

    You can open, edit, upload, and download documents in the SharePoint Online library in the same way you work with documents on the server or SkyDrive. For more information, see Use the My Server App.

See also