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How to log in to Microsoft’s websites (MSDN forums, Azure Portal, SharePoint Online) when you get a “Bad Request” error?

This post was most recently updated on October 26th, 2018.

Every now and then, something like half of Microsoft’s websites will suddenly stop working – this applies to Azure Portal, SharePoint Online sites, MSDN forums and probably a thousand of other sites. The error is most of the time something like this:

Bad Request - Request Too Long
HTTP Error 400. The size of the request headers is too long.

Or like shown below:

Azure Portal throwing an error: "Bad Request - Request Too Long HTTP Error 400. The size of the request headers is too long."
Azure Portal throwing an error: “Bad Request – Request Too Long HTTP Error 400. The size of the request headers is too long.”

This effectively blocks you from accessing the site. Most typically, I’ve encountered this on MSDN forums or Azure Portal – I’ve just faced a very blunt, unfriendly and quite useless error message, like above. This applies even to Microsoft’s services, that don’t seem to require logging in – but actually do so, in the background. Annoying!

Yet once again, the solution is almost stupidly simple.

Reason

This has left me scratching my head a few times – why can’t I access SharePoint Online anymore? Why do I get a Bad Request error when accessing MSDN forums? What’s this HTTP Error 400 when opening Azure Portal? Yeah, it is a bit baffling, isn’t it?

Most of the time, weirdly enough, it wasn’t your fault though. There’s something amiss with the authentication configuration – and there’s a workaround.

This seems to be simply a cookie mismatch error of sorts, and this error (in a couple of different forms, I guess) has existed on Microsoft’s different sites for quite a few years already. I’m guessing it’s caused by using multiple different accounts for authenticating against different Microsoft’s sites and services, and some of the cookies being leftover from earlier sessions and sites just trying different implicit logging in maneuvers – but failing.

In the end, all of this is just guesswork. The more important part is, that it’s easy to fix!

Solution: Remove all cookies for that particular domain

Since it’s the authentication cookie, that has somehow gone haywire, we’ll need to get rid of it. The simple fix is just to change browser, to clear the cache of your browser, but if you just want to get rid of the offending cookie and save everything else, here’s what to do!

Click on the site info area in Chrome’s Omnibox (that’s the name of the URL text box in Chrome!), and depending on your Chrome version, either click on “X in use” under “Cookies”, or just click on “Cookies (x in use)”. 

How to remove all cookies in Google Chrome - step 1
How to remove all cookies in Google Chrome – step 1

This should open a new window, where you can see different domains that have set cookies for this site. Now, click “Remove” while you’ve selected the domain you were logging in for (or if “login.microsoftonline.com” exists, you can select it, too).

How to remove all cookies in Google Chrome - step 2
How to remove all cookies in Google Chrome – step 2

After removing the cookies, you should be able to log in successfully when refreshing the page! On some pages, such as MSDN forums, the log-in action might be implicit (it happens automatically in the background). Hence you won’t be ever asked any questions or asked to do any logging in actions.

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Antti K. Koskela

Solutions Architect / Escalations Engineer at Koskila / Norppandalotti Software / Valo Solutions
Antti Koskela is a proud digital native nomadic millenial full stack developer (is that enough funny buzzwords? That's definitely enough funny buzzwords!), who works as a Solutions Architect for Valo Intranet, the product that will make you fall in love with your intranet. Working with the global partner network, he's responsible for the success of Valo deployments happening all around the world. He's been a developer from 2004 (starting with PHP and Java), and he's been bending and twisting SharePoint into different shapes since MOSS. Nowadays he's not only working on SharePoint, but also on .NET projects, Azure, Office 365 and a lot of other stuff. This is his personal professional (e.g. professional, but definitely personal) blog.

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