InfoWorld preview: Office 365 beta

Now's your chance to try Microsoft's revamped, online versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync for yourself, so don't miss it

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If you don't have Office 2010 Professional Plus installed, the Downloads page will prompt you to choose the 32- or 64-bit version and install it. Remember that the 32-bit version of Office 2010 is the only reliable one.

Next, install the Lync 2010 client. This part's a bit confusing because if you're running a 64-bit version of Windows, you have to select and install the 64-bit version of Lync. As soon as it's installed, you're given a chance to log in to Lync. Go ahead and do so, using your Office 365 beta user ID as the "Sign-in address."

Finally, click the Set Up button at the bottom of the page to download a tool that "configures" the desktop apps. Among other things, you'll get a new Microsoft Office 365 Portal link on your Start menu. When the routine is done, you have to restart your PC, then follow the instructions and head over to Outlook to hook it up to your Office 365 email account.

That's the process every user goes through. You're lucky, though: You're in charge of this exercise, and that makes you an Admin.

Running through the Office 365 Admin setup
Once you have the basic Office 365 package set up on your machine, you need to start acting like an Admin.

Every time you use your Admin ID to log in to the Office 365 portal, you see an Admin link at the top, as in Figure 1. Once you have all of your downloads working, click on the Admin link. You're presented with the Admin Overview page.

InfoWorld preview: Office 365 beta
This is the relatively easy-to-use interface to administering Office 365 users and applications.

At this point you're ready to go exploring, inviting new users to join in the testing and following the instructions in the Introduction for Office 365 Administrators (Enterprise testers look here). But I have a couple of warnings.

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