Blog

  1. How Default Sensitivity Labels Work with SharePoint Online Document Libraries January 28, 2022 1:00 am - SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business will soon gain the ability to apply default sensitivity labels to document libraries. The feature is currently in preview and requires some complicated PowerShell to configure, but Microsoft is working on the GUI and expects to make the capability generally available later this year.
  2. Why Microsoft Reannounced the Send from Email Aliases Feature January 27, 2022 1:00 am - Microsoft announced the preview of the Send from Email Aliases feature on January 25. The only problem is that the same feature was released in April 2021. And OWA gained full support for it in October 2021. So why would Microsoft reissue an existing feature? They're not saying, but I suspect it's down to fixing some issues in the Exchange Online transport service to make sure that messages sent from an email alias work properly in every circumstance.
  3. Microsoft Cloud Revenues Pile Up as Teams Hits 270 Million Users January 26, 2022 11:14 am - Microsoft Cloud revenues hit $22.1 billion in Microsoft's FY22 Q2 results announced January 25. Office 365 user numbers grew 16% year over year, but there's no detail given about active users. Teams reached 270 million users, but we don't know what segments these users fall into. We do know that Microsoft Viva has 1,000 paying customers, which could be deemed a disappointing outcome for a much-hyped solution.
  4. Important Records Management Settings Now in Microsoft 365 Compliance Center January 25, 2022 1:00 am - The Records management solution in the Microsoft 365 compliance center has some important controls for retention labels. Two new controls allow organizations to decide if they will allow users to unlock items assigned a record retention label. If they can't, they won't be able to update document contents or change an item's metadata. This won't suit all organizations, but it will make those which want locked down records management very happy indeed.
  5. The Strange Case of Outlook Desktop and Actionable Messages January 24, 2022 1:00 am - Outlook desktop couldn't display actionable messages generated by Teams and Yammer properly while OWA and Outlook mobile could. It's a small issue in the context of Microsoft 365, but it irritated me. I fixed the problem but don't know how except that the Actionable Messages Debugger for Outlook might have been involved. Another day in the life of a Microsoft 365 tenant administrator...
  6. How to Protect Messages Sent to Dynamic Distribution Lists January 21, 2022 1:00 am - Office 365 Message Encryption protection is not available for messages sent to dynamic distribution groups. It's all to do with rights management licensing. However, if you need to protect messages sent to dynamic distribution groups, for instance to make sure that confidential messages are inaccessible to external recipients use a sensitivity label instead and assign the special tenant-wide permission to recipients.
  7. How Microsoft 365 Notifications Show Active User Data for Workloads Affected by Service Updates January 20, 2022 1:00 am - Message center notifications for service changes posted to the Microsoft 365 admin center will include monthly active user counts for affected workloads. That sounds good, until you realize some of the downloads incurred by depending on the Microsoft Graph Reports API as the source of user data. Still, it's better than nothing and a welcome advance.
  8. Using Break Glass Accounts with Microsoft 365 Tenants January 19, 2022 1:00 am - You might never need to use a break glass account, but if the need arises, you'll be glad that you had the foresight to anticipate that bad things can happen and create a break glass account for your Microsoft 365 tenant. This article describes why you might want one or more of these accounts, their characteristics, some pitfalls to avoid, and how to check that the break glass accounts aren't being used.
  9. Why Content Queries are Only Supported by Microsoft 365 Auto-Label Retention Policies January 18, 2022 1:00 am - Microsoft 365 retention policies allow organizations to keep or remove content from workloads like Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. You can apply filters in retention policies, but Microsoft only supports this capability auto-label retention policies. You can go ahead and update a standard retention policy to add a content filter with PowerShell and the policy will work. The question is, how long will it work for before Microsoft changes something on the backend to stop the policy working?
  10. New Notifications and Video Settings Improve Microsoft Teams Meetings for Users January 17, 2022 1:00 am - Two new features will help users enjoy Microsoft Teams meetings better. Or at least, improve the "user experience" by removing some irritations people currently have during meetings. The first allows users to suppress notifications arriving during meetings. The second hides a user's video feed from their view to remove what seems to be a distraction for many. I've already disabled notifications for meetings. Maybe you should do the same?
  11. How to Determine the Age of a Microsoft 365 Tenant January 14, 2022 1:00 am - Finding the age of a Microsoft 365 tenant isn't an important administrative operation. However, understanding how to retrieve this information (if asked) is an interesting question, which is why we spent several hours playing around with PowerShell and the Microsoft Graph to figure out how to answer the question. It's the kind of in-depth analysis we do all the time to build content for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.
  12. New Way Available to Fetch a List of Microsoft Teams with the Microsoft Graph January 13, 2022 1:00 am - A new List Teams API is available in the beta version of the Microsoft Graph. In time, the new API might replace the existing methods used to fetch sets of teams for processing. For now, there's no need to update any code as we wait for Microsoft to fully bake the new API. Maybe it will be more performant and functional in the future!
  13. Continual Access Evaluation Enabled for Critical Azure AD Events in Microsoft 365 Tenants January 12, 2022 1:00 am - On January 10, Microsoft announced that the base Office 365 workloads support Continuous Access Evaluation (CAE) for critical Azure AD events like password changes or account deletions. Although you can take CAE even further with conditional access policies, giving Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Teams the ability to react to critical events in almost real-time is a very big thing indeed.
  14. How to Manage External Access for Microsoft Teams Consumer Users January 11, 2022 1:00 am - Microsoft Teams enterprise users can now communicate with Teams consumer users. That is, if the right settings are in place to allow communication (they're enabled by default). Communication is straightforward but limited to chat messages. The question is how many people will use external access to connect with Teams consumer users. Time will tell.
  15. How to Create an Auto-Label Retention Policy Based on Sensitivity Labels January 10, 2022 1:00 am - Auto-label retention policies find items in Microsoft 365 locations and apply retention labels to those items. In this article, we explain the steps involved in creating an auto-label retention policy to look for items with sensitivity labels and apply retention labels to those items.
  16. Stopping Microsoft Teams Posting System Messages About New Members January 7, 2022 1:00 am - Microsoft Teams posts system messages to a team's information pane to let people know about membership changes. You can't stop Teams doing this because Microsoft doesn't provide control over the system messages at the tenant or team level. You can obscure the names of new members by changing their display name, but maybe the best idea is not to add new members until the time is right.
  17. Increase in OneDrive Storage Usage by Microsoft Teams Apps Complicates Tenant Administration January 6, 2022 1:00 am - Whiteboard is the latest Teams-enabled app to use OneDrive for Business for its storage. It's unsurprising and it's a trend likely to continue, and it creates an administrative challenge in terms of how to handle deleted Microsoft 365 user accounts. The suggested approach of having a designated user review the information and retrieve what's important is OK for documents but doesn't work for app-linked content. Retention policies are a better option.
  18. Planner Uses Exchange Online for Microsoft 365 eDiscovery and Compliance January 5, 2022 1:00 am - Planner now creates digital twins (copies) of tasks in user mailboxes in Exchange Online to make data available for eDiscovery and compliance. Storing items in the Microsoft 365 substrate is the same approach to making data available for search and compliance as taken by Teams and Yammer.
  19. Microsoft Moves Information Protection Labeling Client into Maintenance Mode January 4, 2022 12:03 am - In a surprising December 21 announcement, Microsoft put its Information Protection labeling client into maintenance mode effective January 1, 2022. Making an announcement as the IT industry was closing down for the holiday period is no good way to make certain customers learn about a development, and it's curious that Microsoft left it until nine days before the client entered maintenance mode to let people know.
  20. Office 365 for IT Pros January 2022 Update Now Available January 3, 2022 11:48 am - The January 2022 update for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook is available for subscribers to download. This is the 79th monthly update for the only eBook updated monthly to keep pace with change inside Office 365 and the surrounding Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Subscribers are welcome to download the updated files from their Gumroad.com account or by using the download link in their original receipt.
  21. Latest AAD Connect Removes On-Premises Disabled User Accounts from Azure AD December 22, 2021 12:11 pm - Microsoft pushed out version 2.0.88.0 of the AAD Connect synchronization utility earlier this month. Unfortunately, the new software removes disabled on-premises user accounts from Azure AD, which means that on-premises shared mailboxes disappear for cloud users. Microsoft has released version 2.0.89.0 but maybe it's better to go back to a version that you know works. At least until after the holidays.
  22. The Curious Case of the Teams Unmute Keyboard Shortcut December 21, 2021 1:00 am - Among the changes Microsoft postponed to January is the introduction of a new unmute keyboard shortcut for meetings. While I lik shortcuts generally, this one doesn't seem to make much sense, especially because an existing keyboard shortcut is available to toggle mute on and off during meetings. In any case, if you don't want to use the shortcut, you can disable it in Teams settings. To each their own...
  23. Microsoft 365 DLP Switches from Envelope to Header for Sender Evaluations December 20, 2021 1:00 am - To make Microsoft 365 DLP policies work like Exchange transport-rule based DLP, a January change will switch evaluation of sender conditions away from envelope information to message headers. Although this change might seem to be something beloved of email geeks, it's actually an important update for organizations who want to move away from ETR-based DLP to Microsoft 365 DLP policies.
  24. Microsoft Closes Gap to Enable Mandatory Labeling of Existing Documents December 17, 2021 1:00 am - A change in how Office apps apply mandatory labeling as dictated by sensitivity label policies means that both new and old documents are processed. New documents have always been dealt with; the change being made ensures that Office apps detect the lack of a label when opening an existing document and will apply mandatory labeling at that point. It's a change to help customers move on from the unified labeling client.
  25. How to Search the Microsoft 365 Audit Log for SharePoint and OneDrive Deletion Events December 16, 2021 1:00 am - The Microsoft 365 audit log holds all kinds of useful data, including events logged for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business file deletions. It's easy to use PowerShell to search the audit log to find and interpret the events and create a report. Large tenants might need to export the audit data on a regular basis to an external repository to allow for long-term retention and analysis. We explain the principles of the process in this article.
  26. How to Manage Guest Accounts in Other Tenants from Microsoft Teams December 15, 2021 1:00 am - Some changes in the Microsoft Teams desktop and browser clients will allow users to decline guest invitations from other organizations, leave organizations, and hide organizations from Teams. Although leaving another organization has been a well-trodden path for several years, it's required knowledge to find the right place to go. Having these options in Teams makes it much easier to manage a cluttered set of organizations.
  27. How to Enable Users to Receive Copies of Email They Send to Microsoft 365 Groups December 14, 2021 1:00 am - It might seem like a small thing, but some users are upset when they don't receive copies of their messages sent to Outlook Groups in their Inbox. A new setting allows users and administrators to control if they receive copies of messages from groups, but only when the user is a subscriber to groups (Follow in Inbox is turned on). In this article, we explore how to set the EchoGroupMessageBackToSubscribedSender control via OWA options and PowerShell, and how to sign up to be a group subscriber by yourself or with a little help from an Exchange administrator.
  28. Microsoft Upgrades Exchange Online Dynamic Distribution Lists December 13, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft is changing the way the Exchange Online transport service resolves the membership of dynamic distribution groups. Instead of doing this when someone sends a message to a dynamic group, Exchange resolves the membership once daily and whenever the recipient filter changes. It's a reasonable approach designed to make messages move faster and more reliably, and it's similar to the way that Azure AD dynamic groups maintain their memberships, so it shouldn't make much difference.
  29. Sharing Links for Video and Audio Files Block Downloads by Default December 10, 2021 1:00 am - A new tweak to the sharing link dialog used by OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft 365 workloads block downloads of video and audio files by default. This is probably what you want to happen as, unlike Office documents, when you share a video or audio file, it's likely to be final content ready to be consumed rather than being worked on.
  30. New High-Value Audit Records Capture Details of Microsoft Teams Meetings December 9, 2021 1:00 am - New audit events are available to capture information about Teams meetings and participants, but only if you have Office 365 E5 or above licenses. That's because Microsoft deems these events to be high-value audit information prized by forensic investigators when they try to unravel what happened in an incident. You'll have to make your own mind up how valuable the events are, but we've written some PowerShell to make the data more accessible.
  31. New Microsoft Teams Activity Feed Controls Clamp Down on Reaction and App Notifications December 8, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft is rolling out new activity feed controls for notifications posted by apps and when people use reactions to respond to messages. The idea is to make the activity feed less distracting for busy users. The interesting technical issue is how to deal with notifications created by the many hundreds of Teams-enabled apps available today.
  32. Policy Lookup for Microsoft 365 Retention Policies in Preview December 7, 2021 1:00 am - The ability to lookup a user, site, or group and report the Microsoft 365 retention policies applicable to the location is now available in preview. The new feature helps administrators understand what retention policies might block the deletion of a mailbox, site, or group, something that's often difficult when multiple retention policies exist in a tenant. Although welcome, it would be nice if Microsoft could extend the feature to add some actions. Maybe that will come in the next version.
  33. Microsoft Introduces 99.99% SLA for Teams Calling December 6, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft enhanced a new 99.99% SLA for Teams Phone and Calling on December 1. The new SLA is backed with financial commitments for credit if Microsoft doesn't meet its standards. All of this is very nice, as long as you understand how the SLA is calculated and what you need to do if problems happen to be in a position to make a claim.
  34. What does Microsoft 365 Informed Network Routing Do? December 3, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft 365 informed network routing is now available, if you have the right Cisco SD WAN network gear in your datacenter. This is a set forward to help network controllers make better routing decisions for Microsoft 365 network traffic by providing application-specific quality of service metrics instead of using artificial probes to detect network issues. Sounds good, but will it make a difference to your Office 365 tenant? Read on...
  35. How OneDrive’s New Sharing Link Dialog Makes It Easier to Configure Settings December 2, 2021 1:00 am - A new sharing link dialog for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online is rolling out to Office 365 tenants. The new dialog makes it easier to configure settings for copy links. This might sound like a small thing on the overall scale of Microsoft 365, but making it absolutely clear how to configure sharing links is a good step towards helping users send the right kind of links when they share documents with others.
  36. December 2021 Update Available for Office 365 for IT Pros eBook December 1, 2021 1:00 am - The December 2021 update is available for Office 365 for IT Pros, the only eBook updated monthly to document technology changes and new capabilities across Office 365 and relevant parts of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Subscribers for the EPUB/PDF version can download the updated files from Gumroad.com to make sure that they have the most up-to-date content available.
  37. How Microsoft is Nudging Customers to Use the Teams Phone System November 30, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft is adding Audio conferencing to all Teams plans and making it easier to embrace the Teams Phone system with a new Teams Phone and Calling Plan product. The new offering is available on January 1, 2022 and replaces separate products targeted at the SMB and enterprise markets. While it's good that Microsoft is simplifying their Teams Phone offering, buying a product is only the start of a journey to implementation.
  38. Microsoft Extends Problematic Information Barriers Solution to All Education Tenants November 29, 2021 12:38 am - Information barriers seem like a good idea. Implement policy-driven controls over who can communicate within a Microsoft 365 tenant. Microsoft is making the solution available to education tenants. In reality, they should spend some the engineering effort required to improve the current sad state of the information barriers solution. No GUI, horrible management, PowerShell with impenetrable errors, and a lack of visibility into how the solution works.
  39. Meet Office 365 for IT Pros at the European Collaboration Summit 2021 November 26, 2021 3:22 am - The Office 365 for IT Pros team will be at the European Collaboration Summit (ECS) in Dusseldorf. Come to listen to Tony talk about sensitivity labels on Tuesday or Paul discuss tenant to tenant migration on Wednesday. ECS is a great community-led event that's well worth attending if you find yourself in Europe and have the ability to travel to Germany. Don't forget your mask!
  40. How Microsoft Aims to Cure Azure AD Authentication Problems with New Backup Service November 25, 2021 1:00 am - Azure AD has a history of outages which have caused problems for Microsoft 365 tenants over the years. Microsoft hopes to solve the problem with a backup authentication service that's capable of keeping things going if the primary Azure AD service goes offline. Basically, the backup service has copies of successful authentications over the last three days which can be used to process authentication requests for most sessions when the primary service fails. It seems like a good idea.
  41. Three Easy Steps to Start Using Viva Learning in Microsoft Teams November 24, 2021 1:00 am - The Viva Learning app is available for deployment to Microsoft Teams users. The Viva Learning app delivers courseware to users to allow them to browse and access content created by Microsoft, the tenant, or external courseware providers such as Skillsoft and Pluralsight. In this article, we describe the three quick and easy steps to get Viva Learning up and running to help expand the minds of your Teams users.
  42. Microsoft Teams Meetings Get Per-User Control Over Anonymous Joins November 23, 2021 1:00 am - A new per-user policy setting for Microsoft Teams allows admins to exert per-user control over who can have anonymous people join their meetings. The new policy setting can be managed now with PowerShell and will co-exist alongside the current tenant-wide setting for a period. Microsoft will then deprecate the tenant-wide setting to allow the policy settings exert sole control.
  43. How to Assign the Co-Organizer Role to Microsoft Teams Meetings November 22, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft Teams is introducing a new co-organizer role for meetings. The role allows people to share the workload involved in managing complex meetings, like webinars. The role is optional and likely to be used in a small minority of Teams meetings. Even so, it's a useful feature to have available when you're planning a large and complex meeting.
  44. Don’t Worry if You See Unexpected Azure Costs for Azure AD Guest Access November 19, 2021 1:00 am - Checking the details of the Azure subscription I had linked to Azure AD revealed that some unexpected costs were clocking up for premium Azure AD features. Microsoft promises that the first 50,000 unique guest user accesses are free each month, so why were those charges growing. It's all down to how the Microsoft eCommerce system works, and everything is fine in the end.
  45. How to Update the Microsoft Teams Feedback Policy November 18, 2021 1:00 am - The Microsoft Teams feedback policy assigned to user accounts controls whether users can give Microsoft feedback through the Teams clients. Not every organization wants their users to communicate directly with Microsoft. If you're in this category, you can disable the Give feedback option easily by updating the Teams feedback policy assigned to user accounts. All explained here!
  46. How to Analyze Audit Records for SharePoint Online Sharing Events November 17, 2021 1:00 am - When SharePoint users share information, Office 365 captures events in its audit log. By analyzing the events, we can build a picture of how people share information. The sad thing is that the audit events logged when someone extends the validity of a sharing link doesn't contain as much information as you might like. Even so, we can still analyze the sharing events to build a picture of what happens in an Office 365 tenant.
  47. How to Use SharePoint’s Expiring Access Policy for External Users November 16, 2021 1:00 am - The SharePoint Online expiring access policy controls how long external users can use a sharing link. You don't have to use this policy, but it's a good idea to configure it. And once the policy is active, users will see notices when their sharing links approach expiration. The process to renew (extend) sharing links is quick and easy. And if you want even more protection, consider combining this policy with sensitivity labels.
  48. How to Create a DLP Policy to Stop External Sharing of Teams Meeting Recordings November 15, 2021 1:00 am - Teams meeting recordings can contain a lot of confidential information. It's a quick and easy task to create a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy to stop people sharing these files externally, In this post, we show just how simple the required policy is, and just how effective it is at stopping external sharing.
  49. Microsoft Flags Need to Upgrade PowerShell Scripts to Use TLS 1.2 November 12, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft is removing TLS 1.0 and 1.1 from Microsoft 365. This has been well flagged, but tenants might not understand the impact on PowerShell scripts which send email using the Send-MailMessage cmdlet and SMTP AUTH. In a nutshell, unless you force PowerShell to use TLS 1.2, attempts to send messages via Exchange Online will fail. It's time to check those scripts and ,consider how to move away from SMTP AUTH and Send-MailMessage.
  50. Synchronizing Sensitivity Labels to Update SharePoint Online Sites November 11, 2021 1:00 am - The SharePoint Online admin center displays an insight card for the number of unlabeled sites in the tenant. For some reason, many of the labels assigned to Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams had not reached SharePoint. Some PowerShell does the job to fetch the sensitivity label information from Exchange Online and update sites with the missing label information.
  51. How to Find When Azure AD User Accounts Receive Microsoft 365 Licenses November 10, 2021 1:00 am - A reader asked how to find when Azure AD accounts received certain licenses. As it turns out, this isn't as simple as it seems. PowerShell can tell use when user accounts are enabled with service plans, but to get dates for licenses (products or SKUs), we need to go to the Graph API, and those dates aren't quite there yet. In any case, it's an interesting question which deserves some exploration to see if we can find an answer.
  52. How to Find and Use Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Icons November 9, 2021 12:50 am - The Microsoft Fasttrack portal includes a branding toolkit full of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 app icons which are very useful for internal communications. That's an important point. While you might like to use the icons in external communications, like blog posts or presentations given at conferences, Microsoft doesn't license their use for those purposes. But will Microsoft come after you if you slip a SharePoint or Teams logo into your next presentation. Probably not, as long as you use the icons tastefully.
  53. How to Use Microsoft Loop Components in Teams Chat November 8, 2021 1:00 am - Announced at Fall Ignite 2021, the first implementation of Microsoft Loop components is in Teams chat. This functionality is available in preview and it's very usable, providing everyone in the chat uses the right client and is enabled for preview. In this article, we review the functionality available through loop components and how the fluid files for the components are stored and shared.
  54. Some Microsoft 365 Features Highlighted at Fall Ignite 2021 You Can Use Now November 5, 2021 1:00 am - To help you recover from the blizzard of Microsoft 365 information released at Fall Ignite 2021, here are some notes about features and functionality you might have missed. Like any list created by a conference (virtual) attendee, it reflects my interests and what I was looking for. Feel free to disagree on the importance of any or all of the topics discussed here... and suggest some of your own in the comments.
  55. How to Switch Azure B2B Collaboration (External Identities) to the Monthly Active User Billing Model November 4, 2021 1:00 am - Office 365 tenants using Azure AD external identities (like Azure B2B Collaboration guest accounts with apps like Teams) are moving to a monthly active users (MAU) billing model. The new model replaces the 1;5 ratio for Azure AD premium licenses used up to now. Microsoft allows tenants to have the first 50,000 unique external identities free of charge each month and bills for access thereafter. If you don't already have an Azure subscription, you'll need one to link to Azure AD. Linking the subscription should be an easy task, until it's not...
  56. How to Update Custom Properties in the Site Property Bag in SharePoint Online November 3, 2021 1:00 am - The site property bag is SharePoint Online's way to allow tenants to add custom properties. This is useful if you want to add custom properties for search purposes, which is what you might need to do to use the new adaptive scopes for Microsoft 365 retention policies to find and process SharePoint sites. In this article, we explain how to add values to the site property bag, and how to make sure that you don't leave sites in a position where custom scripting remains enabled.
  57. Planner Can Move Tasks to Plans in Other Microsoft 365 Groups November 2, 2021 1:00 am - The Planner development team likes to keep new features quiet, or so it seems. In September 2021, they released two new features, including being able to move tasks to plans belonging to other Microsoft 365 groups. While this doesn't sound very exciting, it's actually a useful feature. The only issue we've found is that some SharePoint attachments might need attention after moving tasks.
  58. November 2021 Update for Office 365 for IT Pros is Available November 1, 2021 1:00 am - The November 2021 update for Office 365 for IT Pros, the only book about the Microsoft 365 office system updated monthly, is now available for subscribers to download. Despite October being the month before Microsoft makes a bunch of announcements at their Fall Ignite event, we still found plenty to write about to improve the book even more. And next month, we get to consider the technology in the Ignite announcements. All part of the continual development of the eBook!
  59. Microsoft Releases Preview for New Feedback Portal October 29, 2021 1:00 am - After Microsoft decided to stop using the User Voice platform for product feedback, it needed a replacement. A new preview portal is available and Teams is the first product to embrace the platform, built using Dynamics 365. Microsoft has done a good job of bringing across a lot of data from User Voice to make the portal valuable immediately. It's certainly worth a browse.
  60. Microsoft Talks Teams and Forgets About the Rest of Microsoft 365 in FY22 Q1 Results October 28, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft's comments about their FY22 Q1 results to market analysts covered lots about Teams and not much else about Microsoft 365. Is that a problem? Well, Teams is a barometer for the health of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. If it's doing well, then all the component parts are too. Although Microsoft didn't give any new numbers for Office 365 or Teams users, strong growth in seats and revenue were reported. And Azure AD now has 500 million monthly active users.
  61. How to Use an Exchange Transport Rule to Copy Messages October 27, 2021 1:00 am - Exchange Online transport (mail flow) rules are a powerful way to manipulate messages as they pass through the transport system. In this example, we look at how to BCC messages sent by some employees for management review. I'm not sure that this is a good idea (for many reasons), but the need does exist to copy messages automatically, so we explore the use of transport rules as a solution.
  62. How Exchange Online Uses Mailbox Plans to Populate Mailbox Settings October 26, 2021 1:00 am - Every Exchange Online tenant has four mailbox plans. Exchange uses the plans to populate some important mailbox settings based on the license assigned to the mailbox owner. This article explains the four mailbox plans, how to update the plan settings, and some of the things you can't do with mailbox plans. We also include some PowerShell to report the mailbox plans assigned to users in your Office 365 tenant.
  63. Microsoft Overselling E5 Capabilities Through Data Loss Prevention October 25, 2021 1:01 am - Microsoft plans to surface recommendations to use communications compliance policies as part of its DLP workflow. That sounds acceptable, but it's the second example of how Microsoft pushes high-priced premium features to Office 365 tenants through DLP. Apart from the undesirability of pushing features to customers through software, communications compliance is not something that you implement on a whim, so why does Microsoft think this is a good idea?
  64. Praise History Coming to Viva Insights for Teams October 22, 2021 1:00 am - The Viva Insights app will soon have the ability to display the last six months' data about praises users receive and send. This stunning engineering achievement will bring joy to the folks who like to send praise around. It leaves me cold. I’m probably not the target audience interested in praise history.
  65. Improved DKIM Configuration Page is Prompt to Check Domains October 21, 2021 1:00 am - A new Microsoft 365 DKIM management page is a good prompt to check that all domains used to send email in n Office 365 tenant are configured properly for DKIM. The process of enabling DKIM and key rotation is easily done through the GUI or PowerShell once the correct CNAME records are in DNS.
  66. How to Stop Teams Clients Auto Starting October 20, 2021 1:00 am - After upgrading to Windows 11, you have Chat in the taskbar. This is really a Teams personal client, meaning that you end up with two Teams clients on the PC. To make life even more confusing, if you search Windows 11 for Teams, you see the personal version suggested first. Some pruning of clients is needed.
  67. How to Use a Microsoft 365 Retention Policy to Manage Inactive Mailbox Content October 19, 2021 1:00 am - Most Microsoft 365 tenants will have to manage the mailboxes of ex-employees. Retention policies are an excellent method to achieve this goal, if you remember to add mailboxes to a suitable retention policy before deleting their Azure AD account. In this article, we consider Microsoft's recommendation to use a specific retention policy for inactive mailboxes and how to go about using such a policy.
  68. Apple Mail App Clients Might Need Upgrading for Modern Authentication October 18, 2021 1:00 am - The road to modern authentication for Exchange Online is littered with things to do. One action item is to check Apple iOS and iPad devices using Exchange ActiveSync to connect to mailboxes. If these devices were configured to connect to Exchange Online before iOS 12, they’re likely using basic authentication. Right now, the only way to move them to modern authentication is to remove Exchange from the mail app and add Exchange again. It’s a bump on the way to modern authentication in October 2022.
  69. How to Mark an Obsolete Teams Channel as Defunct Before Removal October 15, 2021 1:00 am - Every Teams deployment has some defunct or obsolete channels. In this article, we explore how to mark unwanted channels as defunct before their eventual removal. It’s a manual but very easy technique that’s very effective when explained to users. As long as everyone remembers to recover any required information from channel conversations before its deletion, everything goes swimmingly
  70. Why SharePoint Online Will Allow Users to Delete Files with Retention Labels October 14, 2021 1:00 am - Users attempting to delete SharePoint Online files assigned Microsoft 365 retention labels are blocked. That is, until a change arrives in November to make SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business behave in the same manner. It's a good change because it avoid the scenario where users remove retention labels to delete files, which undermines the organization's compliance strategy. Now, deleted items go into the preservation hold library and stay there until their retention period expires. My only complaint is that the control over the mechanism is not as simple as it should be, but that's a small and relatively unimportant flaw in the overall scheme of things.
  71. How to Manage Client Read Receipt Settings in OWA and Outlook for Windows October 13, 2021 1:00 am - A reader request asked how to force users to send read receipts. This is a client-side feature so the settings involved differ from client to client. We explore how to control them in OWA and Outlook for Windows. A mixture of PowerShell and system registry settings help create a solution. We're leaving figuring out how to manage other clients to our readers.
  72. Teams Gets a New Search Results Page October 12, 2021 1:00 am - A new Teams search results page (in preview) makes better use of space, presents results in a clearer manner, and is more accurate. Even after stripping away the normal Microsoft hyperbole and grand statements about artificial intelligence powering everything, there's lots to like about the change, which should show up to all tenants in mid-November.
  73. API Deprecations Signal the Demise of Exchange Web Services October 11, 2021 1:00 am - A Microsoft October 5 announcement gives a clear signal that Exchange Web Services is on a short runway to oblivion. The first step is the removal of 25 APIs on March 31, 2022. It's all part of the master plan to get Office 365 tenants and ISVs to move to the Microsoft Graph APIs. This is a perfectly laudable ambition but it's complicated because of the lack of suitable Graph APIs to handle the volume of Exchange data involved in scenarios like backup/restore and migration. Teams has a new Graph Export API, but it introduces consumption metering and charging. Is a new Exchange API coming and will it use the same charging mechanism? We live in interesting times...
  74. OWA Adds Full Support for Send from Proxy Address (Mailbox Aliases) October 8, 2021 1:00 am - A recent update to OWA adds the option to allow users to choose which proxy addresses assigned to a mailbox they would like to send messages from. It's a small change which completes the client support for the earlier server-side update to allow users to send using mailbox proxies, and it makes using proxy addresses more approachable and useful. OWA also includes a drop-down list in the compose message screen to allow users to select an address to send from, and makes sure that message headers are updated correctly so that messages go back to the right address.
  75. How Retention is Changing for SharePoint Online’s Preservation Hold Library October 7, 2021 1:00 am - The preservation hold library is an important component of SharePoint Online retention processing. A change coming in November should simplify file handling and reduce the amount of storage taken up by retained files in the library. Basically, instead of storing multiple versions of a file, SharePoint Online will hold a single file containing all the updates. It seems like a good change to make. We'll know more when it rolls out.
  76. How Microsoft Editor Can Make Your OWA Messages More Polite October 6, 2021 1:00 am - A new Microsoft Editor feature aims to make OWA messages more polite through "tone detection." Currently only available for U.S. English, Editor scans for impolite text and comes up with suggested replacement text. The results vary from very good to not so good, but this might be because it takes time for a learning model to accumulate enough information about a user's writing style to be able to detect impolite text accurately. We'll know over time.
  77. How Exchange Online Uses Archives to Offload Recoverable Items Storage October 5, 2021 1:00 am - A change rolling out in mid-October will remove storage pressure on the Recoverable Items structure in Exchange Online mailboxes by offloading some data to archive mailboxes. The idea is a good one because it means that the storage allocated to Recoverable Items won't fill up and require intervention so often. Users won't know anything about what's happening under the covers as it's all hidden from view.
  78. How to Find Exchange Online Archive Mailboxes Close to the New 1.5 TB Limit October 4, 2021 1:00 am - A 1.5 TB limit applies to Exchange Online archive mailboxes from November 1, 2021. In this article, we use PowerShell to report how close expandable archives are to the new limit. In reality, not many archive mailboxes will approach the new limit, but it's nice to know things like the daily growth rate for an archive and how many days it will take for an archive to reach 1.5 TB. All whimsical stuff calculated with PowerShell!
  79. October 2021 Update Available for Office 365 for IT Pros (2022 Edition) October 1, 2021 1:00 am - The October 2021 update is available for download by Office 365 for IT Pros subscribers. There's a huge amount of change in the ecosystem right now and the book is completely refreshed. We'd appreciate if subscribers would download and use the updated files as a lot of work goes into their production.
  80. SharePoint Admin Center Absorbs OneDrive for Business Management September 30, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft has simplified Microsoft 365 administration by moving controls from the OneDrive for Business admin center into the SharePoint Online admin center. It's a good step because the two workloads are really two sides of the same file and document management function within Microsoft 365. With many apps moving storage of their data to OneDrive for Business, its role is becoming increasingly important. Even so, OneDrive doesn't deserve a dedicated management portal.
  81. Massive Refresh of Whiteboard App Delivered for Teams and Other Clients September 29, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft has delivered a massive refresh for the Whiteboard app. Now available in Teams, browser, and Android clients (Windows native and iOS updates are coming), the update delivers many new features including reactions, importing graphics into whiteboards, and object alignment. A bunch of out-of-the-box templates can help people use Whiteboard in different scenarios, and if you're looking for some digital smarts, there's ink shape recognition to play with.
  82. How to Use the Free Microsoft 365 Compliance Trial September 28, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft is making a free 90-day trial of Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance licenses available to tenants who don't yet have compliance licenses. The purpose is to allow organizations to test the advanced compliance functionality which requires Office 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 licenses. Microsoft obviously hopes that organizations will be so delighted at the functionality that they sign up for E5 licenses in the long run. If you don't want to run a test in your production tenant, you can achieve much the same effect by getting an E5 trial tenant and testing there.
  83. SMTP AUTH Exception Smoothens Path to Removal of Basic Auth in Exchange Online September 27, 2021 1:00 am - Last week's announcement that Exchange Online will block basic authentication for multiple protocols on October 1, 2022, got some attention. Now the hard choices of what to do with clients and applications need to be made. To smoothen the path to remove basic authentication, Microsoft is making an exception for SMTP AUTH. Your scripts and multi-function devices will keep working after October 2022, but the writing is on the wall and eventually even SMTP AUTH will stop working.
  84. Basic Authentication for All Exchange Online Tenants Stops in October 2022 September 24, 2021 1:00 am - October 1, 2022 will be a big day for Exchange Online tenants because that's when Microsoft starts to disable basic authentication for connectivity protocols whether or not tenants want this to happen. This is a huge and fundamental change that's being driven by the need to increase the overall security of Exchange Online and individual tenants, while also blocking common attacks seeking to compromise user accounts. With only a year to go, it's time to start work on preparing everything that needs to be in place for the great October 1 switchoff.
  85. Inactive Mailboxes Turn Up in Microsoft 365 Compliance Center September 23, 2021 1:00 am - Inactive mailboxes have been available in Exchange Online since 2015. A new inactive mailboxes listing is available in the Microsoft 365 compliance center. The GUI isn't very functional, but perhaps it's a starting point for some enhanced management capabilities for inactive mailboxes. We've only been waiting six years...
  86. Teams Highlights Top Hits in Its Search Suggestions September 22, 2021 1:00 am - A new Teams preview feature introduces Top Hits in the set of suggestions it makes for a search term. Teams also highlights the search term in its suggestions to provide context. Neither feature will make much different to end users in the overall scheme of things, but both are useful in a kind of fit-and-finish way.
  87. How to Allow People in Your Office 365 Tenant to See Details of Each Other’s Calendar September 21, 2021 1:00 am - By default, Exchange Online allows other users in your tenant to see limited details of your availability when scheduling meetings. More information can be displayed by updating the calendar permissions for mailboxes. This is easy to do with PowerShell, but needs to be done on an ongoing basis because Exchange Online doesn't have an organization or mailbox plan setting to assign the value to new mailboxes.
  88. How to Use Quoted Replies in Teams Chat September 20, 2021 1:00 am - Teams clients can use quoted replies in group, 1:1, and meeting chats. A quoted reply is where Teams inserts a snippet from a previous message to create a new message. It's a tremendously useful feature which allows users to add context to something discussed in a chat. (quoted replies are not supported in channel conversations). The only question is why it's taken Microsoft so long to add this feature to Teams?
  89. How to Use /Any Filters in Microsoft Graph API Queries with PowerShell September 17, 2021 1:00 am - Understanding how to create effective queries using the Microsoft Graph APIs takes some work, especially with some of the more complex filters used to refine the data returned by the Graph. In this article, we look at how filters using lambda qualifiers work and explore some examples of these qualifiers in use.
  90. How Teams Makes Webinar Information Available for Search and eDiscovery September 16, 2021 1:00 am - Teams-based webinars are a popular way of hosting events like product briefings or announcements. Behind the scenes, the Microsoft 365 substrate stores information about webinar speakers, attendance, and event details as lists in the meeting organizer's OneDrive for Business account. The information stored in OneDrive is indexed and available for eDiscovery. It's a great example of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem in action.
  91. Why Search-Mailbox is Still Valuable When You Need to Remove Mailbox Items September 15, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft wants to eliminate the Search-Mailbox cmdlet, but it's still very valuable when the time comes to remove mailbox items because of a spam attack or similar reasons. The suggested replacement is Core eDiscovery searches and associated content search purge actions, but these are slower and less effective than Search-Mailbox. To prove the point, we've put together a demonstration script to show how to compose a search query and run it against a set of mailboxes.
  92. Teams Background Effects Available in Browser Clients September 14, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft has released support for background effects for Teams browser clients. It seems like only Microsoft-curated background images (including blur) works and that you can't use organization images or custom uploaded images. This might just be a timing issue and Microsoft will enable this functionality in the future. For those who like using the Teams browser client to join meetings, this is a nice solution.
  93. Why Teams Shows a P at the Upper Right of the User Photo September 13, 2021 1:00 am - The latest innovation in the Teams client is the display of a P marker to the upper right of the user profile photo (avatar). This means that the client runs public preview software and the marker is intended to allow users and support personal understand when clients run public preview rather than the generally available software. Of course, users only know this when they're told about the magic P.
  94. Microsoft to Enable Teams Recordings and Transcription for VOIP and PSTN Calls September 10, 2021 1:20 am - Due in late September, users with a Teams Phone system license will be able to record and transcribe 1:1 calls made to PSTN and VOIP numbers, assuming that the Teams calling policy assigned to their accounts allows these features. The new capabilities close an important gap in the Teams Phone system for anyone who needs to be sure of the details of customer contacts and other interactions.
  95. How to Manage Anonymized User Data in Microsoft 365 Usage Reports September 9, 2021 1:00 am - The usage reports available in the Microsoft 365 admin center, Teams admin center, and other places now include anonymized user information by default. The new default became active on September 1, 2021 and the organization setting applies to any usage data generated by the Microsoft Graph usage reports API, which means that some scripts might create reports less interesting and useful than before. It's a good change for privacy, but will organizations persist with the new default?
  96. How Microsoft Search Finds Spoken Text in Teams Meeting Transcripts September 8, 2021 12:36 am - Adding the ability to search for spoken text in Teams meeting recordings is just one of the new features added after Microsoft moved storage for meeting recordings to OneDrive for Business. A new video viewer and support for 27 additional languages (some different variants of a base language) are also important developments. In this article, we explore how Exchange Online captures the text spoken in Teams meetings, how OneDrive for Business links the text with the video, and how Search can find spoken text from the transcripts.
  97. Microsoft Applies the Viva Brand to MyAnalytics September 7, 2021 12:02 am - Microsoft is applying their Viva brand to the features currently known as MyAnalytics. Viva Insights will span a monthly email digest, the Outlook insights add-on, and the Insights dashboard. If you don't want users to access these features, you can disable the features individually or remove the service plan from user licenses. The rebranding is happening now and due to complete in November.
  98. How to Access the TEC 2021 Session Videos September 6, 2021 8:25 am - You can now access videos and slides for sessions given at The Experts Conference 2021. The sessions cover a wide range of technology from Azure AD to Microsoft 365 to infrastructure modernization. And you can now register for TEC 2022, which will run as an in-person event in Atlanta on September 20-21, 2022. It should be great fun!
  99. How to Find Delve Accounts with Disabled Document Insights September 3, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft has replaced the controls which disabled document insights in Delve with new Graph-based settings. However, you might still have a bunch of users with the Delve settings who need to migrate to the Graph settings. In this article, we explore how the settings work and how to query the Graph to find the set of users who disabled the setting in Delve. We can then use PowerShell to add those accounts to the group of disabled insights users for the Graph-based settings.
  100. Teams and SharePoint Online to Synchronize Channel Names Properly September 2, 2021 1:00 am - The longstanding problem where the renaming of a Teams channel did not rename the folder in the SharePoint document library is being fixed. First flagged as an issue in 2016, this is one of the oldest bugs in Teams and it's taken far too long for Microsoft to squash. The good news is that the fix will deploy in mid-September to close off the problem once and for all.

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