Blog

  1. Publication of Office 365 for IT Pros (2022 Edition) July 1, 2021 1:00 am - Office 365 for IT Pros, the only constantly-updated eBook covering Microsoft's cloud productivity suite, has just released its eighth (2022) edition. The book is available from Gumroad.com. Completely revised after an end-to-end review, the new edition will receive monthly updates over the coming year to keep subscribers fully abreast of new developments within Office 365 and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
  2. Teams is the Most Difficult Office 365 Application to Backup June 10, 2020 1:28 am - Because it sits on top of so many Microsoft 365 components, Teams is easily the hardest Office 365 workload to backup. You can try to backup Teams by copying its compliance records stored in Exchange Online, but that's only a partial (and bad) solution that utterly fails to take the full spectrum of Teams data into account.
  3. Is Microsoft’s 250 Million Claim for Teams Monthly Active Users Believable? July 28, 2021 10:26 am - Microsoft claims that Teams has "nearly" 250 million monthly active users, which is quite a jump for the 145 million reported in April. We take a closer look at the numbers to try and figure out how Microsoft arrived at such a number. It seems like they can get there by lumping the numbers for commercial, education, and personal users together, but that's not the same as reporting a nice simple number for commercial usage.
  4. Microsoft Introduces Data Privacy Tag for Message Center Notifications July 27, 2021 12:36 am - The message center in the Microsoft 365 admin center will soon use a new data privacy tag to highlight specific service updates to tenant administrators. No messages with the new tag have yet appeared, so it's hard to know how Microsoft plans to use the new tag or what kind of attachments it will make available to administrators to help understand the sensitive data involved in data privacy. While we're waiting, we took at look at the tags in use today and wrote some PowerShell to report which tag is most popular.
  5. How to Upgrade Office 365 PowerShell Scripts to Use the Graph API July 26, 2021 1:34 am - Many PowerShell scripts which access Office 365 data could do with a speed boost. Replacing cmdlets with Microsoft Graph API calls is one way to get extra speed. In this article, we take a PowerShell script to report the memberships users have of Microsoft 365 groups and replace some important cmdlets with Graph API calls. The result is a big speed increase.
  6. Microsoft Sends Moca Boards to the OWA Calendar July 23, 2021 12:04 am - Project Moca is no longer a separate OWA component. Boards created in Moca are now available through the OWA calendar, just like other boards created there. The question is how Microsoft will bring the board view to Outlook desktop. I figure it's a candidate for OCX and WebView2, just like the Room Finder. Time will tell.
  7. How to Customize the Properties of a Teams App July 22, 2021 1:00 am - If their developers allow, Office 365 tenants can customize the properties of Teams apps to add their own icons, text, and links. In this article, we show how by customizing the Yammer Communities app to add a most remarkable photo taken at an Ignite event, a snazzier title (that no one can see), and some modified text. Is this enough to make the exercise worthwhile? that all depends on how you feel about corporate branding!
  8. Microsoft Launches Preview of App Governance for Cloud App Security July 21, 2021 1:00 am - The preview of a new app governance add-on for Microsoft Client App Security gives Office 365 administrators insight into Graph-based apps. The add-on depends on information gathered from Azure AD and MCAS to generate insights about apps and their usage, including highlighting apps which are overprivileged or highly privileged. Although you can do some of the auditing yourself, the add-on makes it easier. It's a preview, so some glitches are present.
  9. How to Block Self-Service Purchases of Windows 365 Licenses July 20, 2021 1:00 am - Office 365 tenants users will soon be able to execute self-service purchase Windows 365 licenses. That is, unless you stop them by running some PowerShell commands to disable the capability. In this article, we explain the Windows 365 options available for self-service purchase and the PowerShell commands necessary to disable the option, if you think it's a bad idea (as some do).
  10. Clippy Returns in Nostalgia Set of Teams Background Images July 19, 2021 1:00 am - The Nostalgia set of Teams background images includes Office Clippy, the famous Bliss image used for the Windows XP desktop, and images of Paint and Solitaire. These are only part of the wide selection of suitable images to use as background effects in Teams meetings. And if you've got a great image to share, you can upload it to the Microsoft Gallery for others to use.
  11. New Option to Control How Teams Clients Open Office Documents July 16, 2021 12:45 am - A new option in the Teams desktop and browser clients allows users to choose how they open Office documents. The choices are Teams (a viewer), browser (Office Online), and the desktop app. Being an old-time stuck-in-the-mud kind of person who's used Office for 30-odd years, I naturally selected desktop apps. After all, who doesn't like seeing Word spin up for the 99th time in an afternoon?
  12. SharePoint Online PowerShell Exposes New Properties to Identify Teams-Connected Sites July 15, 2021 1:00 am - The latest version of the SharePoint Online PowerShell module reveals some new site properties to inform administrators if sites are connected to teams or even team channels (both private and shared). There's also some changes coming to the SharePoint Online admin center, all of which are very useful in terms of tracking the sites used by Teams.
  13. Adaptive Scopes Coming Soon for Retention Policies July 14, 2021 1:22 am - Office 365 tenants will soon be able to create adaptive scopes for retention policies. An adaptive scope is nothing more than a filter to select target mailboxes, sites, and Microsoft 365 groups based on some criteria. They're adaptive because administrators don't have to update policies as they add new objects. Like other Microsoft 365 Information Governance features which automate some aspect of operations, adaptive scopes are likely to demand Office 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance licenses.
  14. How to Decide When to Use the Microsoft Graph API to Speed Up PowerShell Scripts July 13, 2021 1:00 am - The thoughts of using Microsoft Graph API calls with PowerShell might seem to be too much trouble, but used correctly, Graph API calls help scripts speed up and get to some data that is not reachable through a cmdlet. I have a simple four-step approach that I use to figure out if I need to include some Graph API calls. The routine works for me. Feel free to disagree.
  15. Teams Private Channels Gain Support for Retention Processing July 12, 2021 3:12 am - It is now possible to apply Microsoft 365 retention policies to Teams private channel messages. The messages are in user mailboxes and discoverable due to their properties. All the retention policy must do is find the messages and apply the policy settings, and if an item is expired, remove it from the mailbox. Easy... or is it?
  16. Outlook Edge Extension Coming Soon – But is it Needed? July 9, 2021 1:22 am - Outlook and OWA users will soon see a banner notification to recommend the installation of an Edge extension. The extension logs into the user account to peek into the mailbox, calendar, tasks, and contacts. Tenant administrators have until July 30 to decide if they will block the display of the banners. This can be done using the Office Cloud Policy Service or a Group Policy Object.
  17. How to Hide Teams-Enabled Groups from Exchange Online July 8, 2021 1:00 am - New teams created using Teams clients are hidden from Exchange Online, but those created using administrative interfaces are not. The result is potential confusion. in this post, we describe a PowerShell script to find any team-enabled Microsoft 365 Groups which are visible to Exchange and hide them. It's easy scripting, but you need to run the script periodically to update the settings for new teams.
  18. All About Yammer Compliance Records July 7, 2021 1:00 am - Yammer compliance records are generated by the Microsoft 365 substrate and consumed by features such as communications compliance policies and eDiscovery. In this post, we consider where Yammer compliance records are stored and what they contain and how to use PowerShell to figure out the activity levels of Yammer communities.
  19. Delayed Features, Retirements, and New Insights Control for Office 365 in July 2021 July 6, 2021 2:26 am - Office 365 will see a batch of delayed features arrive during July 2021 along with two notable retirements and a new Personal Item Insights control. After going through the set of delayed features announced in the Microsoft 365 admin center, we share our list of the most important items here along with the two big retirements in the month and a new personal privacy control.
  20. How to Generate a Report of Teams and Their SharePoint Online Sites July 5, 2021 10:19 am - How do you create a report of all the Teams in a tenant and their SharePoint Online sites? As it turns out, a two-line script does the job. We make the script slightly prettier, but it's still simple. And because it's PowerShell, anyone can change the code to make it work the way they want it to.
  21. Linking Public Preview for Teams Desktop Client to Office Current Channel July 2, 2021 1:00 am - A change to the Teams update policy allows tenants to connect Teams preview mode for the desktop client with Office Current Channel (Preview) for the Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise. When the change happens in late July, accounts configured to use Office Current Channel (preview) will automatically use Teams preview. It's kind of logical because Teams is so closely connected to Office. In any case, settings are available in the Teams update policy if you want to move away from the enabled by default status favored by Microsoft.
  22. SharePoint Online Adopts OneDrive’s Deletion Method for Items with Retention Labels June 30, 2021 1:00 am - A change being made to SharePoint Online in August will make the deletion process for files with retention labels consistent with OneDrive for Business. The intention is to achieve consistency across the two browser interfaces and to remove a little friction for users who might become confused when they SharePoint Online stops them deleting labeled files. Everything will happen in August. We wonder if anyone will notice?
  23. How to Track the Creation of Teams Meeting Recordings in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online June 29, 2021 1:00 am - After writing about auto-label policies for Teams meeting recordings, we were asked about how to track the creation of the recordings. The key to be able to report the data us events in the Office 365 audit log. Once you know where to look, it's easy to find the audit records and extract data about the creation of Teams meeting recordings.
  24. Why Microsoft is Changing How the Teams Guest Access Setting Works June 28, 2021 1:18 am - Microsoft is changing how the "Allow Guest Access in Teams" setting works (from the Microsoft 365 admin center). Because few tenants switch this setting on and off, the change might not be noticeable. However, it's a good one because it might help change the way Teams deals with disabled accounts. And if you want to control guest access, you should really use an Azure AD B2B Collaboration policy instead of the on-off switch.
  25. Teams 2.0 Moves Away from Electron to Embrace Edge WebView2 June 25, 2021 1:02 am - Windows 11 will include a consumer version of Teams, which looks as if it will be the first iteration of Teams 2.0, a new architecture which replaces Electron with Edge WebView2 as the basis for the Teams client. Microsoft predicts that the change will reduce the memory footprint by half and make it possible to introduce some new features. There's no dependency between Windows 11 and Teams 2.0, but given the amount of work needed to make architectural transitions, it's unlikely that we'll see an enterprise Teams 2.0 client until sometime in 2022.
  26. How to Track the Progress of an Auto-Label Policy June 24, 2021 1:56 am - Auto-label policies are a good way to assign retention labels to important files stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. The big problem is tracking the progress of auto-labeling. In this article, we explore how to use events logged in the Office 365 audit log to figure out what files are labeled and how long it takes the auto-label policies to process the files. The example explored here is an auto-label policy for Teams meeting recordings.
  27. Teams Gets Automatic Meeting Recording Option June 23, 2021 1:10 am - Teams meeting organizers will soon be able to configure an option to start recording when the meeting starts. The option must be set for each meeting and there doesn't seem to be an available method to preconfigure recordings for all meetings through a policy or programmatically. The new option is useful, if you remember to set it.
  28. How to Apply an Auto-Label Retention Policy for Teams Meeting Recordings June 22, 2021 3:47 am - Teams meeting recordings are now accumulating as MP4 files in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online. If you have Office 365 E5 licenses, you can use an auto-label policy to remove recordings after a set period. If you don't have those licenses and need to remove recordings, you'll have to come up with another plan, maybe after tracking the creation of recordings through the Office 365 audit log.
  29. SharePoint Online Document Library UI Refreshed for Teams Private Channels June 21, 2021 5:04 am - Microsoft is changing the SharePoint document library UI for sites used by Teams private channels to make sensitivity labels read-only and move a link into the command bar. That doesn't sound so important, but it's part of the preparation for the introduction of Teams Connect, aka Shared channels. It's just a pity that the text of message center notification MC261534 was so confusing when it first appeared.
  30. Chat Bubbles New Way to Highlight Messages in Teams Meetings June 18, 2021 1:20 am - Chat bubbles in Teams meetings are another way to surface information. Using chat bubbles is a personal choice and it doesn't replace the regular chat window. Microsoft says that chat bubbles make chat more central to a conversation, but it really depends on the type of meeting, the topic being discussed, and the number of participants. In any case, chat bubbles are there to be used if you want to.
  31. Microsoft Security Report Points to Basic Authentication as Root of BEC Attacks June 17, 2021 1:49 am - The need to remove basic authentication from Exchange Online is underlined by a June 14 report from the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center pointing to how attackers compromise mailboxes using antiquated protocols like POP3 and IMAP4 to connect to accounts which don't use MFA. After accounts are penetrated, the attackers plant inbox rules to forward copies of interesting messages and use the information received to plan and execute business email compromise attacks. Tenant administrators still have some work to do to secure Exchange Online and Azure AD...
  32. How to Use Organization Background Images in Microsoft Teams Meetings June 16, 2021 5:32 am - A preview Teams feature allows organizations to upload approved corporate images for people to use during Teams meetings. When generally available, this feature will need a Teams advanced communications license. An organization can distribute up to 50 images, which users see ahead of Microsoft curated images and their own custom images (if they're allowed to upload these images). However, there's no way for an organization to force people to select one of the corporate images.
  33. How Progressive Web Apps and Nucleus Combine to Make SharePoint Content More Accessible June 15, 2021 1:26 am - Two Microsoft 365 message center notifications covering Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for OneDrive and Lists are interesting, but the news of the arrival of the new Nucleus synchronization engine within the OneDrive sync client (for Windows) is even more interesting. Together, the combination of PWAs and Nucleus make OneDrive and SharePoint data more accessible to users.
  34. How to Create Tasks from Teams Chats and Channel Conversations June 14, 2021 1:25 am - A new feature allows Teams users to create tasks from personal chats and channel conversations. Tasks from chats are personal while those created from channel conversations can be personal or go into a Planner plan. Although you might like the tasks to be populated more fully, the overall implementation is a nice addition to the Microsoft 365 tasks system.
  35. Teams Introduces New Attendance Reporting Dashboard June 11, 2021 1:04 am - Now rolling out to Office 365 tenants, Teams meeting organizers can review the attendance data for meetings and webinars in a new dashboard. The same data can be downloaded to a CSV file for analysis. Teams stores the attendance report data in the Exchange Online mailbox of the meeting organizer. It's a good example of the Microsoft 365 substrate in use.
  36. How to Use Azure AD Authentication Contexts with Microsoft 365 Sensitivity Labels June 10, 2021 1:49 am - A preview for Sensitivity Labels show how they can use Azure AD authentication contexts and conditional access policies to protect SharePoint Online sites. Although you can link conditional access policies to sites with PowerShell, it's a lot easier to make the connection through sensitivity labels. Any SharePoint Online site which receives a label configured with an authentication context automatically invokes the associated conditional access policy to protect its contents.
  37. Speeding Up the Groups and Teams Activity Report by Replacing PowerShell with Graph API Calls June 9, 2021 2:31 am - Sometimes it's wise to give PowerShell scripts a turbo boost. This is certainly true for the Groups and Teams Activity report script, where a large amount of PowerShell processing has been replaced with speedy Microsoft Graph API calls. The result is much faster processing, which means that the script is more useful in large tenants. I still wouldn't try to run it against 100,000 groups, but anything smaller should be OK. I think!
  38. New PowerShell Controls Available to Control Default Sharing Links for SharePoint Sites June 8, 2021 11:35 am - New PowerShell commands for sensitivity labels can configure default sharing link settings for SharePoint Online sites. Any site assigned a label configured for default sharing links inherits those settings within 24 hours. The new settings are in public preview now with general availability expected later this year. They build on the existing set of controls for container management available for sensitivity labels and show how powerful it is for organizations to be able to deploy management policy settings via labels.
  39. Finding Who’s Assigned a License for Individual Office 365 Applications June 8, 2021 1:57 am - Finding out which Azure AD accounts have licenses (service plans) for different applications isn't difficult. You can do it with either PowerShell or the Microsoft Graph API. This article explains how to use PowerShell (and the equivalent Graph API call) to find accounts which have a certain license (service plan) enabled or disabled. Once you know how to navigate license data in Azure AD accounts, you can take the code and adapt it for different purposes.
  40. Microsoft’s Collaborative Work Model Ignores Practical Realities June 7, 2021 1:26 am - Microsoft's Collaborative Work Model (CWM) tries to paint a picture of how Microsoft 365 apps help people to organize tasks and get things done more efficiently. CWM isn't a bad thing, as far as it goes, but it's just not practical because it ignores the critical role played by email as the glue connecting Microsoft 365 apps together. Or more correctly, email and the substrate. Oh well, it's only a marketing message...
  41. How to Disable Attendee Cameras During Teams Meetings June 4, 2021 1:24 am - A new control allows organizers of Teams meetings to disable videos for attendees before or during calls. Organizers and presenters can also selectively enable video for specific attendees. It's probable that this feature will be most interesting to those who want to run webinars through Teams meetings, but other use cases exist too... like when someone turns up with an objectionable background image!
  42. Microsoft Lays Out Future for Azure AD PowerShell Module June 3, 2021 1:48 am - Anyone writing PowerShell code against Azure Active Directory probably uses the Azure AD module. In June 2022, Microsoft will deprecate the API underpinning the Azure AD module. Tenants who want to use PowerShell to create scripts to automate administrative processes will need to move to Graph API calls or use the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. Either way, there's a bunch of work to do to upgrade scripts.
  43. How Teams Mobile Clients Can Translate Channel Messages June 2, 2021 4:39 am - Teams mobile clients can translate messages into the preferred language of the device owner by sending text to the Microsoft Translator service. This is the same capability that the desktop and browser clients have had for nearly three years. The implementation works well and is very useful when people want to share their thoughts with others in a channel and need to write in their own language.
  44. Last Monthly Update Available for Office 365 for IT Pros (2021 Edition) June 1, 2021 1:00 am - The June 2021 (and last) update is available for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook (2021 edition). A new edition is being worked on and will be available next month. The June update spans 19 of 24 chapters. Subscribers to the EPUB/PDF version can download the updated files from Gumroad.com while Kindle buyers must contact Amazon support to ask for their content to be refreshed.
  45. Why Humans Should Apply Their Knowledge of Office 365 When Reviewing OCAS Alerts May 31, 2021 1:53 am - Office 365 Cloud App Security (OCAS) is very good at identifying potential problems for tenant administrators to investigate. But don't think that it's always right. Humans are often better at resolving issues than computers are, simply because we can use our wider knowledge of how applications work and the Office 365 datacenter network to understand what might be behind an alert. Humans might be slower than computers, but when it comes to resolving OCAS alerts, we're always better.
  46. Outlook logo Microsoft Overhypes Biggest Change to Outlook for Windows May 28, 2021 6:06 pm - Microsoft says a change to Outlook shared calendaring is arguably the biggest made since 1997. That's all marketing hyperbole because many other more important technical advances have occurred in that time, including drizzle mode synchronization, Autodiscover, and Outlook Anywhere. What's your favorite Outlook feature since 1997?
  47. Understand Licensing for Microsoft 365 Information Protection and Governance May 28, 2021 3:00 am - Licensing is everyone's favorite topic. Combine it with information protection and governance and peoples' eyes glaze over. Even so, it's important to know what information protection and compliance features need which licenses as you don't want to get into a position where something stops working because Microsoft enables some code to enforce licensing requirements. This post covers the basics of licensing and how Microsoft differentiates between manual processing and automated processing when deciding if a feature needs a standard or premium license.
  48. Microsoft 365 Compliance Center Gets New Content Search UI May 27, 2021 1:43 am - The Microsoft 365 compliance center has a new content search UI. The new UI is prettier than before, but it's also slower and more buggy. After several years of effort to develop content searches, you'd expect Microsoft to do better. A lot betterr. Unhappily, the beauty of the new interface seems to have distracted the engineers from the problems that become all too apparent when you try to use content searches to do real work. What, if any testing, was done to validate the new UI is unknown.
  49. How to Use Teams Approval Templates May 26, 2021 2:53 am - The value of the Teams Approvals app is much improved when organizations create their own approval templates to meet business needs. It's easy and quick to do, with the only challenge being the limited set of field types available to build the form. Even so, you can get creative and build some nice approvals templates for use everywhere in an Office 365 tenant, limited to just some users, or in a specific team.
  50. How Teams Meeting Organizers Can Lock Meetings May 25, 2021 1:50 am - A new feature allows Teams meeting organizers to lock a meeting and stop attendees joining. This isn't a feature for "normal" meetings. Instead, it's there to protect the privacy of confidential meetings and is the online meeting equivalent of locking the doors to a conference room. Get everyone you want into the meeting and then set up a barrier to joining. Who wouldn't like that!
  51. Microsoft Clamps Down on PST Version Storage for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business May 24, 2021 1:53 am - Microsoft will soon impose a limit on the number of PST versions kept by SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. PST files have no business being in cloud storage, so this is a reasonable step. People shouldn't keep PSTs in SharePoint or OneDrive document libraries and organizations shouldn't let them. In fact, you should block PSTs from OneDrive synchronization and make plans to eradicate these pesky files.
  52. How Modern Comments Work in Word for Windows May 21, 2021 1:00 am - The Word for Windows desktop app in Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise boasts "modern comments." Some good features are included, like snippet previews in the email notifications sent when reviewers post comments to documents. Word even has its own task management capabilities which aren't linked to Microsoft 365 tasks. That's about the only bum note sounded by modern comments.
  53. Outlook Mobile Introduces Its Own Delegation Model for Mailbox Access May 20, 2021 8:34 am - Outlook Mobile now allows users to create delegates for their mailbox in the app without going near administrators. Sounds good, but Outlook Mobile uses its own delegation model, meaning that its permissions don't work with OWA or Outlook desktop. Using its own permissions might make Outlook Mobile users happy, but it's a very strange approach to take when the access doesn't work in the other clients.
  54. Using the Teams Approvals App with eSignatures May 19, 2021 1:40 am - Office 365 tenants can connect eSignature applications to Teams approval requests. It's a good way of combining cloud services to get the best of both worlds. Teams makes it easy for users to create and send approval requests for eSignature while the eSignature provider takes care of the processing. This article covers how to use Adobe Sign with Teams approvals.
  55. How to Report Membership of Microsoft 365 Compliance Role Groups May 18, 2021 12:45 am - Compliance role groups control access to Microsoft 365 compliance functionality. A new permissions page makes it easier to manage these groups in the Microsoft 365 compliance center, where you can also manage the Azure AD roles used by Microsoft 365 compliance. If you want to generate a report about who holds what role, you've got to use PowerShell. The code is easy once you know which roles you want to report.
  56. How to Find Guest Accounts Blocked by the Azure AD B2B Collaboration Policy May 17, 2021 1:58 am - Blocking domains through the Azure AD B2B collaboration policy stops group owners adding new guest accounts from certain domains. It does nothing about existing guests from those domains. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to check the guest membership of Groups and Teams to find guests from the blocked domains. And once you know those problem guests, you can decide what to do up to and including removing guest accounts from the tenant.
  57. How Office Suggests the Most Relevant Files to Users May 14, 2021 1:43 am - An update to Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise, aka Office Pro Plus, means that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint now suggest files which users might want to open. Although the traditional Most Recently Used (MRU) list isn't being replaced, the set of suggested files is device independent and based on other activity than just simple file opens.
  58. Teams Not to Automatically Record All Meetings May 13, 2021 1:05 am - A report saying that Teams would record every meeting automatically caused some concern, but it's untrue. Instead, ISV solutions are available to allow companies which need to record meetings to create compliance policies to assign to specific users so that their meetings are recorded to meet legal or regulatory requirements. It would be nice to be able to update meeting options so that organizers could opt for automatic recording of certain meetings. Maybe that's what Microsoft meant when they responded to a User Voice request. No doubt, time will tell.
  59. Microsoft Releases V2.3.1 of the Teams PowerShell Module May 13, 2021 1:00 am - Without any fanfare, Microsoft released V2.3.1 of the Microsoft Teams PowerShell module on May 10. The new module contains some fixes but little extra functionality. Essentially, this release is all about clearing the decks to prepare for the retirement of Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021. Those who use the old Skype for Business Online connector need to upgrade their scripts before it stops working on May 15, 2021.
  60. Teams Group Chats Can Now Include External (Federated) Participants May 12, 2021 1:52 am - Microsoft Teams Connect now allows external (federated) people to join group chats. Federated participants come from other Microsoft 365 tenants. Previously, federated chats were only supported for 1:1 conversations, but as part of the effort to prepare for the introduction of shared channels (also based on federation), multiple external participants can join a group chat.
  61. Microsoft Stops Set-User Updating Phone Numbers for Azure AD Accounts May 11, 2021 1:11 am - Without warning (for security reasons), Microsoft stopped the Exchange Online Set-User cmdlet being able to update the work and mobile numbers for Azure AD accounts. We don't know what kind of security concerns caused Microsoft to take this action, but it might be associated with administrative roles. In any case, this disappointing example of how to communicate with customers might end up with people having to update some PowerShell scripts - and no one likes unexpected work.
  62. How to Create an Azure AD B2B Collaboration Policy May 10, 2021 1:20 am - Azure B2B collaboration is used by Microsoft 365 Groups-based apps like Teams, Planner, and Yammer to create new guest accounts. You can update settings in the Azure AD portal to stop new accounts from specific domains or restrict guests to a list of known domains. But before you go ahead and update the settings, it’s a good idea to know where existing guest accounts come from. It’s easy to create a report with PowerShell. The next step might be to remove guests from offending domains.
  63. Microsoft Tightens Control Over eDiscovery Limits May 8, 2021 4:03 pm - Microsoft 365 eDiscovery features will respect documented limits from May 10. The changes are likely made to conserve resources consumed by searches against the massive amounts of data now found in Office 365 tenants. The changes probably won't affect eDiscovery investigators except in reminding everyone that the items shown in search preview are only a representative sample of what can be found by a full search.
  64. Understanding Who Can Bypass the Teams Meeting Lobby May 7, 2021 1:54 am - Teams meeting organizers can control which participants can bypass the meeting lobby to join automatically, Microsoft has increased the set of available lobby options to handle a range of conditions from all-comers calls to those to discuss sensitive and confidential information. Here's a quick review of the available options and what each does.
  65. Why Messages in Your Exchange Online Inbox Are So Large May 6, 2021 2:43 am - Exchange Online assigns large mailbox quotas to users. These quotas are needed to cope with the volume and size of modern email. What used to take 2 KB in 1996 now consumes 60 times more. And while email is more graphical and prettier to look at, you'd wonder if the value of the actual content has changed much, if at all.
  66. Teams Boasts New Capabilities for Meeting Polls May 5, 2021 1:25 am - Organizers of Teams meetings can create polls to use during their event. The polls now boast some AI capabilities to help organizers choose the right questions. Organizers can also create and launch polls using the Teams mobile client. This seems to be taking mobility a little further than you might want to use it, but I guess some people run meetings from large iPad devices.
  67. Microsoft Whiteboard Moves its Storage to OneDrive for Business May 3, 2021 3:12 am - Microsoft has announced that Whiteboard will move its storage from Azure to OneDrive for Business. It's a good move because it addresses several important issues. around search, eDiscovery, compliance, and data governance The switchover is due in October 2021, but Office 365 tenants will get an opt-in choice to move earlier.
  68. Best and Most Comprehensive Office 365 Book Updated Again May 1, 2021 1:09 pm - The May 2021 update for the Office 365 for IT Pros (2021 edition) eBook contains changes to 20 of the 24 chapters. The changes cover many topics from Microsoft's FY21 Q3 results to new sensitivity labels settings for Outlook. Now spanning over 1,300 pages, Office 365 for IT Pros is packed full of practical and most importantly, up-to-date knowledge and guidance about Office 365, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams, Planner, Azure AD, PowerShell, the Microsoft Graph, and many other topics.
  69. OWA’s New Calendar Board View Is a Version of Project Moca April 30, 2021 1:00 am - Microsoft is rolling out a new calendar board view for OWA. The new board looks very similar to a Project Moca board, which isn't surprising because it's a customized Moca board tailored to focus on the calendar. There's no news yet when Project Moca might exit its current preview status, but maybe the new view will help by convincing people about the worth of configurable boards.
  70. Microsoft Brings the Top Senders and Recipients Report Back from the Dead April 29, 2021 1:32 am - For whatever reason, Microsoft decided to cancel plans to remove the Top Senders and Recipients report from the SCC, citing customer feedback as the reason. The thing is that the SCC report and its underlying cmdlet use an old data source. The Microsoft Graph Reports API is the modern approach and an adequate replacement usage reports is available in the Microsoft 365 admin center. I really can't understand why anyone would want to keep the old report as it's not very good at all.
  71. Teams Daily Active User Number Hits 145 Million April 28, 2021 9:39 am - In their FY21 Q3 results, Microsoft announced that Teams now boasts 145 million daily active users. That's a growth of 30 million over the last six months. Office 365 now has nearly 300 million paid seats. A paid seat is different to an active user, but Microsoft loves to mix up its data so that people believe what Microsoft wants them to think. In any case, the numbers are impressive.
  72. How to Review and Clean Up Azure AD Integrated Apps April 28, 2021 1:55 am - Over time, a Microsoft 365 tenant might accumulate many Azure AD integrated apps. Do you know what these apps do or who uses them? It's good to do a regular audit and cleanout of unwanted apps left behind for tests, trials, or expired applications. We use a script published on Practical365.com to grab the data from Azure AD and then import it into Microsoft Lists. The results we got might surprise you.
  73. Q&A: How to Send Email Using Proxy Addresses with Exchange Online April 27, 2021 5:20 am - Exchange Online supports the ability to send email using any SMTP proxy address assigned to a mailbox. Following the announcement of the feature, users had many questions including what clients can be used. Here are some common questions and answers about the feature, including some PowerShell to report the set of proxy addresses assigned to user mailboxes.
  74. Teams Gets Expanded Emoji Set. Enterprise Users are So Pleased April 26, 2021 1:06 am - The Teams developers are very proud that the new emoji picker expands the set of available emojis from 85 to over 800. No doubt some will welcome the increase. It will leave others cold as they wonder why Microsoft uses development resources to fill what seems to be an unimportant gap. In any case, the new emoji picker comes to Teams near you sometime soon. Enjoy!
  75. SharePoint Online Teamification Can Expose Site Resources as Channel Tabs April 23, 2021 3:56 am - SharePoint site owners can teamify (team-enable) their site, which is nice, Now you can create channel tabs based on site resources during the team enablement process. It's a nice new feature but you must remember that a new team only has a General channel, so site resources will end up in a place where they might necessarily not end up in the long run.
  76. How Shortening Outlook Meetings Might Give Users a Break April 22, 2021 8:51 am - Microsoft introduced a new organization setting for Office 365 tenants to have Outlook shorten meetings automatically. The idea is to create a break between meetings to give people time to decompress and prepare for their next call. It all sounds good and it makes sense to build buffers into your calendar during busy days. The problem is that other people might come late to a meeting, start it early (without you), or prolong it into your carefully scheduled buffer. Technology can help humans do the right thing, but in this case it's strictly advisory.
  77. Yammer Support for Guest Access Reaches General Availability April 21, 2021 8:26 am - Yammer networks configured in Microsoft 365 mode now support Azure B2B collaboration guest users. Which is nice, if it worked. But it doesn't for me. Guest access worked for me during the testing phase but now that the feature has reached general availability, it won't - using the same accounts. It's odd. Yammer's implementation of Azure B2B Collaboration has some other quirks too, all of which mean that it's not very usable.
  78. How to Customize Responses to Calendar Meeting Requests for Conference Rooms April 20, 2021 8:45 am - Exchange Online's calendar assistant is good at responding to meeting requests for rooms. It can be even better with just a little customized text to remind those who book the rooms about meeting etiquette. Even though we might never get back to physical meetings in conference rooms, some face to face gathering will happen in the future, so now's the time to prepare for bookings to be handled in a nicer fashion.
  79. How to Drag and Drop Messages from Outlook to Teams Channels April 19, 2021 8:40 am - Teams supports several methods to import email. Outlook for Windows can drag and drop messages into Teams conversations. It's a quick and easy way to move the focus of a conversation, but there are some downsides to be aware of.
  80. Teams Usage Data is Finally Obfuscated in Reports in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center April 16, 2021 2:38 pm - The Teams usage data reported in the Microsoft 365 admin center can now be obfuscated. Teams is the last workload to support this facility. It's all very well to anonymize, deidentify, or obfuscate user data to protect individual privacy and it's appropriate to do so in the Microsoft 365 admin center where people with several roles can access the data, but having a single on/off switch for data obfuscation for the Microsoft Graph Reports API is a real pain.
  81. How to Update Your Guest Account Photo in Another Microsoft 365 Tenant April 16, 2021 1:04 am - Office 365 administrators can update Azure AD guest accounts with photos. Guests can do the job themselves using three PowerShell commands. Other approaches work too, but this is the easiest and quickest method to do the job, especially if you have guest accounts in multiple tenants.
  82. Get a Test or Development Office 365 Tenant to Try Out New Features April 15, 2021 1:20 am - Given the amount of change inside Office 365, it can be hard to test everything before new software appears in production. Which is why you should have a test or development Office 365 tenant. You can check out new features in safety, or run code downloaded from the internet like PowerShell scripts or new versions of PowerShell modules. All in all, it's a great idea.
  83. How to Control Updates for User Photos in Microsoft 365 Apps April 14, 2021 1:00 am - Organizations can choose to control updates of user photos by policy in their Office 365 tenants or allow users to go ahead and use any image they like. In this article, we explore the value of having a user photo for every Office 365 account (and Teams and Groups too) and the choices organizations must make when they decide whether to control user-driven updates.
  84. Choosing a background image on the Teams iOS client Custom Background Images Available for Teams iOS and Android Clients April 13, 2021 1:12 am - Users of the Teams mobile clients can now choose background images for their meetings, including custom backgrounds from their device's camera roll. The implementation works well as long as the image you want is in your camera roll. Not being able to browse other repositories is a small gripe about a feature that many users will welcome.
  85. Microsoft Would Like Office 365 Tenants to Use Bing More – So Here Comes Microsoft Rewards April 12, 2021 1:00 am - Supporters of the Bing search engine will be delighted that Microsoft 365 can link Azure AD accounts to to personal accounts to accrue Microsoft Rewards. A tenant org-wide setting is available to control the feature. Whether this is enough to convince organizations and individual users to switch allegiance to Bing from another search engine is debatable.
  86. One Outlook Brings OWA Components to Desktop Clients April 10, 2021 8:01 am - Microsoft's One Outlook program aims to rationalize the current client set. The Edge WebView2 component allows Outlook desktop to reuse OWA features, which is why Microsoft now distributes WebView2 with the Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise (desktop apps). We're now seeing signs of reuse with an obvious example being the appearance of OWA's room finder in Outlook for Windows.
  87. Using the Teams Private Preview Camera Function in Meetings April 9, 2021 1:38 am - Teams meetings include a neat Private Preview feature to allow users to see what their video feed will look like if they enable their camera. All good, except that a strange blog post feels that user privacy might be compromised. In my opinion, that view is a load of rubbish. Private Preview is a very worthwhile feature and a little training can make sure that no one is ever surprised by their video geed appearing unexpectedly in a Teams meeting.
  88. New Invoice Payment Phishing Attack April 8, 2021 9:12 am - A new phishing attack is circulating from an Office 365 tenant. The attack attempts to lure recipients into clicking a link to download a document. The phishing email is not quite as crude as other attempts and might lure users into doing the wrong thing, especially as the message is delivered to inboxes.
  89. Teams Live Events Support Anonymous (External) Presenters April 8, 2021 1:02 am - Teams Live Events now support anonymous external presenters, defined as people who don't have Azure AD or MSA accounts. It's a useful change because many large public meetings (the natural ground for Live Events) involve external presenters brought in because of their expertise in the meeting topic. The update is rolling out in April 2021.
  90. Teams Meeting Breakout Rooms Get Persistence and Timers April 7, 2021 1:17 am - Teams breakout rooms are a popular method to split meetings into smaller discussion groups. Microsoft has improved how breakout rooms work, notably by adding a countdown timer. The settings for breakout rooms and the assignment of users across rooms now persist across sessions. These small but important improvements reduce the friction of running meetings with breakouts.
  91. Share to Teams from Outlook Gets a Refresh April 6, 2021 1:14 am - Microsoft has refreshed the Send to Teams option in Outlook for Windows, OWA, and Outlook for Mac. You might not notice the change, but it's a little faster and works better. Software engineering changes like this happen all the time in the cloud to speed up performance and improve reliability. We keep an eye on stuff like this to make sure that we understand what's happening across Microsoft 365. It's just what we do...
  92. Why Typed Variables Matter When Using Microsoft 365 PowerShell Cmdlets April 5, 2021 1:45 am - PowerShell pros know the secrets of typed variables and why this matters when cmdlets return data, but some of us have been doing things wrong for years. Which is why I spent a couple of hours contemplating the differences between typed and untyped variables when handling items returned by cmdlets. They say that old dogs can't learn new tricks. I beg to differ...
  93. Why the Group Membership UI in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center Sucks Dirty Canal Water April 2, 2021 1:13 am - The Microsoft 365 admin center UI to manage group memberships might look pretty, but it's not as functional as it could or should be, especially for large groups. The lack of search, sorting, and filtering capabilities is OK when a group has fewer than 50 members, but once past that number these features matter. It's time for some TLC for group management.
  94. Microsoft to Push Ads for Teams Personal to Corporate Users April 1, 2021 10:04 am - Microsoft plans to push ads for Teams for personal life into the activity feed of Teams mobile clients used by enterprise accounts. It's a daft idea. Unsolicited communication is never welcome. This is a bad example of a company abusing its position to advance its own interests without asking whether their paying customers want this kind of communication.
  95. Office 365 for IT Pros April 2021 Update Available to Subscribers April 1, 2021 1:13 am - The April 2021 update for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook is available for download by the book's subscribers. Every chapter received updates in April, making this month's update the broadest revision we have ever delivered. It all underlines the amount of change which occurs within Office 365 and why a book that's republished monthly is so valuable.
  96. Microsoft Ships Teams DLP Policy Recommendation Widget March 31, 2021 2:00 am - Microsoft 365 organizations which use Teams but don't have a Teams DLP policy will see a Compliance Center widget recommending the creation of a DLP policy. Sounds good, and the policy covers the most common sensitive data types that people worry about. The downside is that Teams demands Office 365 E5 licenses for DLP policies. You might not know that, but you will if you accept the recommendation.
  97. How to Create a Report of Managers and Their Direct Reports from Azure AD March 30, 2021 4:20 am - Azure AD holds information about managers and their direct reports. It's easy for that data to go out of date, so we create a report to tell us who are the managers and how many direct reports they have. Azure AD has some cmdlets to retrieve information about managers and direct reports, but as it turns out, the older Get-User cmdlet is the best way to proceed.
  98. How Sensitivity Labels Control the Sharing Capability of SharePoint Online Sites March 29, 2021 1:13 am - The latest update for sensitivity labels allows them to control the sharing capability of SharePoint Online sites. It's a powerful example of policy-based management in action and demonstrates just how useful sensitivity labels will be as Microsoft steadily builds out the set of controls available through labels.
  99. How to Find a Microsoft 365 Tenant Identifier March 27, 2021 5:32 pm - Every Microsoft 365 tenant has a tenant identifier. Sometimes you need to know what the identifier is, so here are several options to find it from PowerShell to the Azure AD portal to an external service. Tenant identifiers are public and need to be, otherwise apps wouldn't be able to find the data they want.
  100. Microsoft Adds Power BI Premium and Power Automate (with RPA) to Self-Service License Purchases March 26, 2021 12:30 am - Microsoft 365 tenant users can look forward to an increased range of self-service license purchases with the addition of Power BI Premium and Power Automate with RPA. Nine products are now eligible for self-service purchases, unless a tenant administrator decides that this kind of thing is nonsense and uses PowerShell to disable self-service purchases for all or some products.
  101. Exchange Online Block for BCC Messages Sent to Distribution Lists March 25, 2021 6:17 pm - You can configure Exchange Online distribution lists so that they reject messages sent to them as BCC recipients. I'm not sure how much use this feature will get, but it's nice to have it anyway. PowerShell is the only management tool to configure distribution lists for the new block until Microsoft gets around to updating the Exchange Admin Center.

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