Problem

A user attempted to create a new group site. She entered the name of the site in the Site name field. After entering the name, the Group email address field appeared and showed same text as displayed in the Site name field. Beneath the Site name text box she saw the message The site name is available in green text; and beneath the Group email address text box she saw the message The group alias is available also in green text. However, after clicking the Next button, the next panel of the create site wizard displays The group alias already exists in red text beneath the Retry button.

Solution

This experience can occur if an email distribution group having the same name had in fact previously been created. What's confusing here is that the message under the Group email address text box states The group alias is available, but this message is followed by The group alias already exists. What appears to be occurring is that the wizard is checking something different to determine alias availability, and that these conflicts are not really discovered until the point of actually trying to create the group email, which requires interaction with Exchange. Whatever the case may be, you can determine this quickly and you may still be able to rescue the situation for the user.

First, in the Microsoft 365 admin center go to Groups, and then perform a search for the name that the user tried to use for the team site. Let's call it ABC. If you don't find it there, check for typos. If you still don't find it, raise a support ticket to O365 Support because something else is going on that you will need help with, and there's no need to continue with this procedure here. More than likely, you will find it. When you do, click on it to view its properties, and you will see the owners and members of the group email. You will also likely see the following message:

You can only manage this group in your on-premises environment. Use 'Active directory users & groups' or 'Exchange Admin Center' tools to edit or delete this group.

If the group email was created independently, then it was created through the user organization's on-premises Active Directory management team, and not by the O365 system administration team. That's not a problem, but it is helpful to keep that in mind.

Second, contact the user to determine if the user had in fact requested the group email previously and forgot about it or didn't make the connection between this group email and creating a modern team site.

  • If the user didn't create it and the group email is owned by someone else, then the user is out of luck and will need to explore creating the team site using a slightly different name if the user still wants a group email created along with it. Or you can suggest creating a modern team site without a group email, and then later bind a different group email to the site
  • If the user did create the group email, the user is in luck: you can create a modern team site for her without the group email being created, and then the user can later bind her own group email to the site herself using the wizard at her site.

Lastly, if the user still wants the site with her specified group name, create the modern team site manually using the New-SPOSite commandlet and specifying the STS#3 template.  This will create a modern site but without the group email.

Summary

If a user is trying to create a new modern team site, and encounters the confusing message, The group alias already exists, check in O365 Groups to see if it in fact does already exist. If it doesn't, raise the issue to Microsoft Support. Otherwise, contact the user to see if he or she previously requested this group email and forgot about it. If that's the case, you can manually create the modern team site for the user using the STS#3 template, which creates a modern group site without the group email; and then the user can later bind the group email to her new site. If the user didn't have the group email created, and the group email belongs to someone else, the user will need to find a different name for her site.

References

Notes

  • none