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SharePoint 2016 key changes

With the recent release of SharePoint 2016 many business and technical people will be wondering if they should be considering an upgrade to their own systems.  

Right now that is a very difficult question to answer as it's too soon to really appreciate the subtle changes, not the headline grabbing changes you might have already seen promoted, that Microsoft have made to the platform and which only come out of the woodwork as people gain experience.

In an effort to help, here is a list of the key features and capabilities that have changed.  It's not an exhaustive list, but it will provide a good basis for your conversations regarding upgrade and migration.

Changed / New / In

  • MinRoles - Server "capability" configuration and optimisation.  Select the type of "role" your server requires and MinRoles will configure the server to provide that capability in the most optimal manner.  The configuration wizard allows for speedy change between roles.
  • Hybrid Deployment - Configure and integrate on premise SharePoint with Office 365 and One Drive for Business into a single platform for your users.
  • Hybrid Search - In hybrid deployments search can span the entire hybrid environment.
  • Migration -  Only from SP 2013.  Site Collections are upgraded to SP 2016 format as part of the migration/upgrade process.
  • Central Admin - Only installed once, on the first installed/configured server.
  • Continuous patching - New patch deployment method allows SP farms to stay hot while patching occurs.
  • MS Project Server - is now available as a SharePoint service.
  • Attachments - Size + Names + Links - Attachments can now be up to 10gb, attachment file names can now be up to 128 characters and can contain a few more special characters - {}~&.   For organisations that have installed Office Online Server and SharePoint (which is common),  "Durable" attachment links keep links valid even if the attachment filename changes. 
  • Enhanced page editor - Much improved drag/drop editing and formatting allows for quick embedding of attachment content, list, libraries and searches.
  • Compliance - Enhanced rules and clearer user interface.
  • Flow - New visual workflow tool allows connected services to initiate workflows that updates site content, including sending emails.
  • Mobile App - A new mobile app that delivers team sites to mobile users.
  • ReFS - Store attachment files on disk outside of SharePoint.


  • Foundation Server/Licence -  This has been retired.  Using SP 2016, there is no longer the concept of "free" on premises SharePoint.
  • Excel Services - No longer a part of SP 2016.  Now a part of Office Online Server.

I will update this list as more feature changes become apparent.  Don't forget Rex offer a great SharePoint service.  Read more here...