Azure AD authentication troubleshooting: Steps to take to help yourself

Last updated: August 11, 2022

You may be experiencing sign in or access issues related to Office 365 or other applications which leverage the UW Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

This page is part of the Azure AD authentication troubleshooting guide:  Steps you can take to help yourself.

This troubleshooting guide provides:

Steps to take to help yourself

Experiencing sign-in or access issues can be very frustrating. Many of the steps listed here may seem to be common sense, but when frustrated they may not occur to you.

  1. Make notes of your experience. This more information you can provide, the easier it will be for UW-IT to help you, and the sooner your issue will be resolved. Important information to collect includes:
    1. Error message experienced. When possible a screenshot or photo is better than trying to remember or write down the message. Of utmost importance is to capture the error code, which should start with “AADSTS”. You can review the entire list of Azure AD authentication error codes.
    2. Entire username  The entire username you entered, e.g. pottery@uw.edu.
    3. Time  The date and time you experienced the issue.
    4. What URL or application you are starting with  What you were doing which caused the issue. It is especially important to include the URL or client application, and if a client application what action you took in that application
    5. Device name and platform  The device is a critical part of your Azure AD authentication success or failure. Providing both the device name and platform (Android, Windows 10, iPhone, etc.) provides key insight into the expected behaviors and may help to identify sign in events in logs.
  2. Identify the point in the expected authentication flow where the problem occurs. Compare your sign-in experience to the expected authentication flow to identify at which point the problem happens. Knowing where the problem happens can be an important clue as to the cause. Each user may have a slightly different expected flow, depending on whether you have opted into ‘Duo 2FA for the Web’ or opted into cloud-based authentication. If you aren’t sure, use the first link.
    1. Cloud authentication w/o Duo
    2. Cloud authentication + Duo 

Note: If the problem occurs after the authentication flow, this is also valuable information. It could mean you are having an issue getting an access token or that there is an application problem.

  1. Consult the known problems and solutions list to see if there is a solution you can try.
  2. Review your Azure AD sign ins to see if logged information helps identify the cause.
    1. My Sign-Ins – simplified list of your UW Azure AD sign-ins 
    2. Azure Portal – Once here, enter your username, select your account, then choose “Sign-Ins” under Activity. This interface contained detailed information about your sign-ins. By default it will show the past 24 hours, but you can go up to 30 days in the past.
      Note: You can review only your own sign-in details.
  3. Educate yourself about how the technology works.
  4. Ask for help and advocate for a solution. Gather the notes you collected from #1 and the findings from #2 and #3 and put them into an email to help@uw.edu. If the issue is causing a work stoppage, tell them, and ask that the request be turned into an incident.