Troubleshooting issues with running hosted Microsoft Lync for Mac

For several weeks, I've been running hosted Microsoft Lync. First, Lync for Mac worked for me ... for about two days, until Apple released its 10.7.2 OS update to Mac OS X Lion. Then, the client crashed.

According to Microsoft's support site, there's a misunderstanding of when Lync for Mac is to be deployed and as to whether it should be server-based or cloud-based:

At this time, Lync for Mac will not work for sign-in if you are using the Lync Online service and not Lync Server.

The recently released Lync client for Mac is for Lync Server 2010 only. The deployment guide overview has more details on this.

We understand the possibility of confusion between Lync Online and Lync Server, and we are working on communicating the differences more clearly.

So, what should customers do when they are stalled and cannot move forward?

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In my case, I first used Notes to uninstall the Lync client from my Mac. This was not successful. Just like PCs, Macs have a certain amount of trash that remains after an uninstall, and finding these trash files is easy when you use the right app. For Macs, I use MacKeeper; for Windows-based PCs, I use CCLEANER. Both are excellent tools for keeping computers running efficiently.

While I probably won't be running Lync for Mac any time soon, attempting to re-install the client without first cleaning out the old software will fail. The same is true of using Lync on a Windows-based PC.

My suggestion: When you find a tool that works well, consistently and reliably, then stick with it. MacKeeper and CCLEANER are two such tools. Everyone installing VoIP solutions will touch customers' desktops, and you must leave their computers better than they were before. Think of it as a hike in the woods -- you don't know what to expect, so anticipate that you will run into issues, especially with desktops. Develop and then maintain the right tools for your tool belt, because you will need them.

As of the writing of this post, I discovered which release of Lync works for the Mac desktop using hosted Lync or Lync Online. It's Communicator for Mac. As it turns out, the host provided the wrong client, just like Microsoft said. After downloading the new client, the Microsoft update tool ran automatically, then downloaded two more revisions (13.1.1 and 13.1.2), and now I am running Communicator for Mac on Lync hosted services.

In my last post, I wrote that one of the main reasons why meeting expectations with VoIP implementations can be difficult is because customers, implementers and providers "failed to communicate." This Lync situation offers one more example of where techies must learn to have what lawyers call "a meeting of the minds" and get on the same page. Otherwise, they should be prepared to lose customers. I went above and beyond what customers would normally do only because I have an interest in testing a VoIP/UC solution for Mac users.

Still, there are many more tools you will need to support VoIP installations. This particular tool set supports desktops and there are plenty of issues with user desktops such as figuring out they've errantly installed the same software license for 10 computers. Use Belarc reports, and then carefully read and review each report. (NOTE: Belarc is for Windows-based machines only.)

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This was first published in October 2011

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