Thoughts on Modern libraries in SharePoint on Office 365

So this new look has been rolled out last week in SharePoint online for Office 365 users. At first glance it looks great, I like that “hard-to-find” ribbon is gone and easy access to all buttons.

But then I got a call yesterday from a customer who was asking why their document libraries no longer worked as expected. What had happened was that the “Group by” function no longer worked correctly, as the First level grouping was hidden and the Second level was instead displaying all documents. Which led to big confusion for the users of course.

Grouped views displays documents by their second level, not first!

Is this a BUG or change of standard functionality? Grouped views has been in the product as far as I can remember (I have worked with your products since 2003 and document library features has not changed that much). Why change something so basic that has been in the product for so long, don’t the developers at Office365/SharePoint/MS (who knows) think we are using these functions or why??

I noticed that if you change view from “All documents” (which is the default view in document libraries, untouched!) to the “Tiles”, then the grouping works but its still not smooth, it is very much clicking around and you soon get lost on where you are in the library. It shows first level one and if you click on that level you can see level two but you must click back and forth. It’s just not good enough! It’s messy!

There has always been an option to Group documents in two levels (maximum) and now this is obviously removed in SharePoint online (I have tested back and forth and this is what I found), so you can only have 1 level of grouped documents. And yes it would be acceptable if this now is the case and all documents were grouped and displayed by that First level but NO, they are now grouped and displayed by the Second level so we have to go in to each library and REMOVE that second level so that the first level is showing our documents, WTF!!!:


Don’t the developer teams follow their own “best practices” and test these type of scenarios?? I mean, before rolling out a new critical function like this? They don’t think this feature is implemented on intranets and document management systems out there?? Well then they have not seen many real live intranets because I see it a LOT!!

I have always followed the OOB standard and educated people telling them how important it is to follow Microsoft recommendations and use metadata instead of folders, to easily find and filter documents and that search picks up metadata etc. And one thing I have learned from all the years of working very closely to the organizations is that “people want structure“. They can’t handle when you just dump thousands of docs in one library and say “use the columns to filter”. No, they want to organize the documents so it looks like folders, although its metadata. And that magic could happen with the “Group by” function. Yes, you can have one level now in the new “modern libraries” but then the button “Quick Edit” is gone so “win some loose some”. So again. Not acceptable.

Quick Edit not visible on Grouped views

And why isn’t such important functions like “Quick Edit” visible on Grouped views? Come on!!! It was the same already in the on-prem 2013 product on grouped views so I guess this is something that is programmatically hard to achieve (?) but should that be OUR problem? As a workaround I have always had to build own “Edit” views so the users can do this fast and easy (fake it til you make it right?). We want to be able to work fast and easy, not click so many times that you forgot what you were doing on the way there… Yes they can select a document and use the i-button and the task pane etc… But what if they want to use the fantastic “QuickEdit” view to update several documents at the same time?

Button for “Open with explorer”

Yes, this function that users love! Is this gone now, really? Wow. I will not miss it but I know who will…

So questions to Microsoft:

  1. Is there going to be an update to this new library feature so that the Groupings will work on 2 levels again? Or if not, will you correct the BUG that it shows level 2 now and not level 1.
  2. Will the Quick Edit button be visible for Grouped views also?
  3. I never recommend to use this but users LOVE the “Open with explorer” and is that gone also?

Situations like this really makes me question why I am working with this product, because we have to struggle so hard to make users understand how to work properly with SharePoint  and not only use it as a file share, (yes that is very common out there) but to really discover all the great functionality with SharePoint document management. But it’s tiresome when standard functionality changes and all of a sudden you doubt the things you have claimed were good and best practice.

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Content database is in compatibility range and upgrade is recommended


This warning message has turned up in the Health Analyzer on a SharePoint 2013 OnPrem Server.

“Product / patch installation or server upgrade required”


Finding the root cause

I opened the “Version history” to see when this message started to show up:


I also checked the “Database status” in “Upgrade and Migration” and found that the same message was displayed on all web applications in the server farm:


According to some articles out there, this can happen if a CU / patch is installed. Now this server is maintained by a host provider so it could of course have happened and they don’t have in their routines that they must run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard after a CU or any other SharePoint related patch has been installed. Normally the security updates should not affect this, but this time it seems like these patches (Security Updates for Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2013…) has caused the incompatibility as the warnings started coming after these were installed:



The solution was to complete the upgrade by either:

  • run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard
  • run the PowerShell command as stated in the above message

I decided to run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard and after quite a long time running the upgrade step, it gave me an error message first saying it could not start the User Profile service and then I got the Configuration Failed message. But no worries, it is because it could not start the ups service.


First I went back into the Health Analyzer and clicked the button “Reanalyze now” on the message and then it was gone. Also checked the “Upgrade and Migration” link, “Review database status” to see that the normal “No action needed” message was back on the databases. And it was, so the upgrade was indeed successful.


Went into “Services on server” and started the UPS service again.


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How to handle CTB Locker virus on O365

A customer had some libraries synced from SharePoint in Office365 to the local computer, and unfortunately clicked a link in a mail that contained the virus (or malware or whatever its called) CTB Locker which “encrypted” all the files in the synced library. The files could not be opened, two files called “How to decrypt the files” were added into the library, the file icon got the unassociated look and the computer name was added at the end of the file:


Continue reading “How to handle CTB Locker virus on O365”

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