Visual Studio Subscriptions – Sign in Issues Due to “Aliasing”


Overview


Depending on the account type used to sign in, available subscriptions may not be correctly displayed when Administrators and Subscribers are logging in to https://my.visualstudio.comWhile there could be a number of reasons for this , this article will focus on “aliasing”,  as well as recommended steps for successful sign in experience, both for Administrators and Subscribers.

 

What is Aliasing?


The term “Aliasing” refers to users having different identities to sign in to Windows (or your Active Directory) and to access email.

Aliasing can be encountered when a company has a Microsoft Online Service for their “Directory Sign-in”, like JohnD@contoso.com, however their email address is accessed by logging into John.Doe@contoso.com.  For many customers who manage their subscriptions through the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), this can result in an unsuccessful sign-in experience as the email address provided (John.Doe@contoso.com) does not match the directory address (JohnD@contoso.com ) required for successful authentication through the “Work or School Account” option.
 

As an Administrator, what options do I have?

As an Administrator, there are two options to ensure your subscribers have a successful sign-in experience to https://my.visualstudio.com

Note:  Once your company is migrated to the new Visual Studio Subscriptions Management portal (https://manage.visualstudio.com), the Admin experience is improved as we will allow both Directory and Email addresses to be provided as part of the subscriber’s profile.  For more information on the Migration, click here.
 

As a Subscriber, what options do I have?

From a subscriber perspective, it is important to first work with your administrator to understand your company’s identity configuration.  If necessary, your administrator may have to update your account settings from their Administration portal, or you may need to “Create a Microsoft Account” using your corporate email address.  Before taking the steps to create a Microsoft Account, speak with your administrator regarding any policies or issues with taking this action.  For more information on how to “Create a Microsoft Account” from https://my.visualstudio.com, click here.

Assigning Subscribers to a Directory Account


In all cases, the “Subscription Manager” within the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) will need to use the directory address for new subscribers, or update the email address for “existing” subscribers.  It is important to note, that using the directory address will imply your subscribers will not receive a Welcome Email, and the Administrator will need to notify the subscriber of their subscription availability.  After following the below steps, please also feel free to use the email template to notify your subscribers, and help them through the sign-in process.
 

Adding New Subscribers

Please follow the below steps to add a new subscriber with a directory account.

1.  Visit the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and sign-in.

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2.  From the VLSC Admin pages, click “Subscriptions” and then “Visual Studio Subscriptions”.

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3.  Click the “Agreement Number” associated with the Visual Studio Subscription.

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4. Click “Assign Subscription”.

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5.  Select the desired “Subscription Level”.

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6.  Validate you have Subscriptions available, and click “Next”.

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7. Enter the Subscriber details and “Directory Address” in the “Email Address” field, and click “Next”.

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8.  Validate the Subscriber information, and click “Finish”.

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9. Notify the Subscriber that their Subscription has been provisioned by using the below template.

 

Updating an Existing Subscriber

Please follow the below steps to update an existing subscriber with a directory account.

1.  Visit the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and sign-in.

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2.  From the VLSC Admin pages, click “Subscriptions” and then “Visual Studio Subscriptions”.

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3.  Click the “Agreement Number” associated with the Visual Studio Subscription.

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4.  Click the “Down Arrow” on the “Search” bar.

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5.  Search for the Subscriber using the “Email Address” field.

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6.  From the “Results List”, click the “Last Name” of the Subscriber.
 

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7.  Click “Edit”.

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8.  Change the “Email Address” field to the desired “Directory Address”, and click “Save”.

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9.  Notify the Subscriber that their Subscription has been provisioned by using the below template.

 

Notifying Your Subscriber

Since the Welcome Email will not successfully reach your subscriber, please copy and paste the below message in an email and send to your subscriber. Replace %WORD% with the information that aligns with the Subscriber details.

----------- Copy Below (Ctrl+C) -----------

Hello %SUBSCRIBER NAME%

You have been assigned a Visual Studio subscription.  Please visit https://my.visualstudio.com, and log in with your %DIRECTORY ADDRESS% to activate and access your subscription. 

If you’re having trouble, you can reach the support team by clicking here.

At the bottom of the page, select the following:

  • “Accounts, Subscriptions, and Billing Support”
  • From “Issue,” choose “Subscription sign in support”
  • From “Country,” choose the appropriate “Country”
  • Then select the desired “Assisted Support” option

----------- End Copy -----------

 

Defining a “Work or School Account” as a “Personal Account”


Please leverage the instructions described in the Assigning Subscribers to a Directory Account section to add a “New” user or “Update” a user’s email address within the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).  In cases where the “Email Address” is not recognized by the “Directory” , the user will need to step through the “Create an Account” process to define the email address as a “Personal Account.”  For the short term, the Visual Studio Subscriptions team has secured an exemption from the Identity policy defined below, but we are investing in the capabilities necessary to remove this policy.

Warning:  Microsoft does not recommend combining “Work or School” identities with “Personal” identities.  This action causes the organization to lose ownership and control of the “Account”, and the employee can continue to access specific products or services, even after leaving the company.  Please reference this blog post, from the Microsoft Identity team, for additional information.

 

Defining an Email Address as a Personal Account

After a subscription is assigned to the Subscriber, they will receive an email asking them to visit https://my.visualstudio.com to take advantage of their subscription benefits.  When attempting to sign-in, the Visual Studio Subscription sign-in will fail with an error stating that the account isn’t recognized.  Before logging into the https://my.visualstudio.com experience, ask your subscriber to follow these instructions.  If necessary, you can use this template to notify your subscriber after you have assigned a subscription.

1.  Navigate to https://my.visualstudio.com, and click “Create new Microsoft account”.

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2.  Complete the Fields:

  • Enter the email address which received the Welcome Email in the Someone@example.com box
  • Create your password
  • Choose your promotional settings
  • Click Next

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3.  Complete the Create Account validation steps.

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4.  New Users may need to complete the Visual Studio Profile.

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5.  The subscription and benefits should now be visible.

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Notifying Your Subscriber

In the scenario outlined above, your subscriber will receive a “Welcome Email”, but due to “Aliasing” they will find the sign-in experience to be challenging.  You can use the below text to notify your subscriber of the above steps, and recommend support options if required.  Replace %WORD% with the information that aligns with the Subscriber details.

----------- Copy Below (Ctrl+C) -----------

Hello %SUBSCRIBER NAME%

You have been assigned a Visual Studio subscription, and may have been directed to log into https://my.visualstudio.com based on your Welcome email.  While this is the correct website for consuming benefits, our organization requires you to take a few extra steps before you can access the site.  Please follow the below instructions to help you create a “Microsoft Account” that is tied to our corporate email address.  Once these steps are completed, you will use your email address to access the Subscription benefits.

  1. Visit https://my.visualstudio.com
  2. Click “Create new Microsoft Account” on the right hand side
  3. Complete the Form:
    1. Use your corporate email address in the someone@example.com box
    2. Enter a password
    3. Select your promotional preference
    4. Click Next
  4. Complete the account validation steps
  5. If necessary, complete the Visual Studio Profile
  6. You should now see your benefits

Note:  When visiting https://my.visualstudio.com in the future, you may be prompted to select which account you’d like to use (e.g. “Work or School Account” or “Personal Account”).  After following the steps above, you will need to leverage the “Personal Account” option, as indicated in the screenshot below.

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If you’re having trouble, you can reach the support team by clicking here.

At the bottom of the page, select the following:

  • “Accounts, Subscriptions, and Billing Support”
  • From “Issue,” choose “Subscription sign in support”
  • From “Country,” choose the appropriate “Country”
  • Then select the desired “Assisted Support” option

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