How to Create Exchange Dynamic Distribution Lists with Custom Recipient Filters

Exchange dynamic distribution lists allow messages to be sent to sets of recipients determined by a query against the directory. A custom filter is a powerful way to find the right set of recipients. In this case, we want to find mailboxes with certain job titles whose Azure AD accounts are not blocked for sign-in. Here’s how to create the filter, make sure it works, and create the DDL.

Why New TLS Requirement Stops PowerShell Scripts Sending Email

Exchange Online now insists on TLS 1.2 connections between email clients and servers. PowerShell scripts using the Send-MailMessage cmdlet will fail. The problem is easily solved by forcing PowerShell to use TLS 1.2 to connect, but it does mean that some work is needed to check scripts (before they fail).

Hitting the Million Messages Limit in an Aggregate Group Mailbox

A curious problem happened when a mailbox reported hitting a folder item limit (one million items). The mailbox was an aggregate group mailbox, a system mailbox used to make it easier to search Microsoft 365 Groups. Microsoft now uses a different method to search group mailboxes and will remove these arbitration mailboxes by the end of 2021. If you meet the problem, use a mail flow rule to stop messages being delivered to the mailbox.

Teams Tailors Compliance Records for eDiscovery

The format of the Teams compliance records generated for personal and group chats and stored in Exchange Online mailboxes is changing. Microsoft is removing a bunch of unnecessary attributes from the records to reduce the processing load on the service to retrieve the attributes from Azure AD. The change is unlikely to affect most tenants. Compliance records for older chats are not affected.

Why Exchange Online Dehydrates an Organization Configuration

Exchange Online has the Enable-OrganizationCustomization cmdlet to “hydrate” the settings in an organization. Most Exchange Online organizations use common configurations, which saves the Office 365 infrastructure some directory space and CPU cycles to deal with custom settings. A hydrated organization has customized settings. The one-time cmdlet switches organizations from a dehydrated state to a hydrated state. Forcing administrators to run the cmdlet is just a little odd.

How to Use PowerShell to Remove Calendar Items from Exchange Online

Microsoft wants to retire the Search-Mailbox cmdlet from Exchange Online. But while the cmdlet available, it does a great job of removing mailbox items. If you get the search query right! In this example, we explain how to write a script to clear out calendar items from the mailboxes of multiple users.

Understanding Partially Indexed Exchange Online Messages and Attachments

Exchange Online indexes the items stored in mailboxes. Some of the items are partially indexed, meaning that not all of their content is indexable. Microsoft has a PowerShell script to analyze the number of partially indexed items found in mailboxes. The output is kind of esoteric, so we worked it over to create something more understandable.

How to Enable the First Contact Safety Tip for Exchange Online Protection

Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Microsoft Defender for Office 365 support anti-phishing policies which generate safety tips for users. The first contact safety tip warns users when they receive email from someone they don’t usually get messages from. It’s a way to put the recipient on their guard, just in case it’s someone trying to impersonate someone else whom the recipient actually knows.

The Power of Exchange Online Dynamic Distribution Lists

Exchange Online Dynamic Distribution Lists are a powerful way to address changeable groups of recipients. The query against the directory is the big thing to get right, but you’ve also got to make sure that the directory data is accurate and reliable. Once you’ve got a good directory, it’s easy to create dynamic distribution lists which are easy to use and never go out of date.

EOP Escalates the Fight Against High-Confidence Phish

A change due in December will improve how Exchange Online Protection suppresses high confidence phish messages and stop them being delivered to user mailboxes. The old-fashioned allowed sender and allowed domain lists are being taken out of the equation and ignored when EOP is sure that it’s dealing with some high-confidence phish. It’s time to check your anti-spam policies.

Exports of Exchange Online Search Results Now Decrypt Attachments

When you use an Office 365 content search to find items, the results from Exchange Online might include some encrypted attachments. A change means that the attachments can now be decrypted to make it easier for investigators to review the information. It’s a small but important change, just like the update to Edge which stops ClickOnce programs running unless an Edge setting is enabled. All good, clean, honest fun.

Microsoft Clamps Down on Automatic Mail Forwarding in Exchange Online

Microsoft has updated the Exchange Online outbound spam filter policy to stop automatic forwarding of email from user mailboxes. The change is now effective with the default set to block automatic forwarding. You can create a custom policy and apply it to selected mailboxes and distribution lists if they need to forward email.

How to Resolve Duplicate Outlook for iOS Contacts

Outlook Mobile synchronizes contacts from Exchange Online to iOS. Sometimes errors happen and duplicate contacts result. It’s easy to resolve the problem by forcing a complete resynchronization of contacts to rebuild what’s on the iOS device.

Signs of a Phishing Attempt Based on Office VoIP Voicemail Notifications

A crude phishing attempt based on voicemail notifications from a VoIP service arrived in mailboxes. It’s easy for experienced users to pick up signs to stay away, but the unwary can be trapped. Report samples of phishing attempts to Microsoft to make Exchange Online Protection better and keep on educating users.

Revocation of Email Protected by Office 365 Message Encryption

Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) allows OWA users to revoke some messages after they are delivered to recipients. But if the message goes to Office 365 or Outlook.com, you can’t revoke it. And there’s the slight matter of needing an Office 365 E5 license too. Even so, it’s still nice to be able to revoke messages if they go to the wrong place.

Microsoft Will Finally Retire Site Mailboxes in April 2021

Site Mailboxes were the face of Microsoft collaboration at one time. But that’s long in the past and it’s time for these archaic mailboxes to be dispatched. Microsoft will retire them from Office 365 in April 2021, probably two years after they passed their best-by date. I tried to clean up my tenant and failed utterly, so I’m leaving the mess for Microsoft to sort out.

New Exchange Online Admin Center Loses Some Magic, But It’s the Future

Microsoft says that the new EAC is ready to use. While we don’t deny the fact, we think some of the magic that existed in previous portals has gone. PowerShell is replaced by the Graph as the foundation for the EAC. Progress happens, but it’s sad when a feature like command logging is left in the mists of the past.

How to Control Default Creation of Online Meetings with OWA

OWA calendar settings include the option to make online meetings the default. You can control whether online meetings are the default at an organization and mailbox level. Outlook desktop relies on system registry settings to know if online meetings should be created. An add-in loaded is loaded automatically to insert the neceessary data to make a meeting online if necessary.

How to Use Exchange Dynamic Distribution Lists to Address Specific Mailboxes

Exchange Online supports dynamic distribution lists, a great way to address sets of recipients found by resolving a filter against the directory. In this example, we explore how to create a dynamic distribution list to address mailboxes marked as preferring a specific beverage. It might even be useful some day!

New Outlook API Makes Email Signature Management Easier

At the Ignite 2020 virtual conference, Microsoft ISV Code Two Software demonstrated a new Outlook API to make email signature management easier across all Outlook clients. The Signature API supports web add-ins that work on all Outlook platforms to allow users to select which corporate email signature to apply before sending messages. The new API should be available at the end of 2020 and we can expect updates from multiple ISVs in the email signature management space to exploit the new capability.

How to Get and Update the Exchange Online Management PowerShell Module

Version 2.0.4 of the Exchange Online Management PowerShell module is now available for download from the PowerShell Gallery. The new release contains many useful enhancements including support for Ubuntu Linux and several versions of MacOs.

Teams Improves its Fit and Finish

Some recent small changes in Teams will make users happy because the product’s fit and finish is improving. Speaker attribution for live captions makes conversations easier to follow and faster updates from Exchange mean that out of office notifications and change in presence states are picked up faster. These aren’t earthshattering changes, but they do make Teams more pleasant to use.

How to Block Email Forwarding from Power Automate

Power Automate (Flow) can forward email from Exchange Online mailboxes to external recipients. This isn’t a great idea if you want email kept within the control of your data governance framework. Power Automate now inserts x-headers in the email it sends, which allows the use of transport (mail flow) rules to detect and reject these messages if required.

The 1-2-3 of Exchange Online Certificate Based Authentication for PowerShell

Exchange Online PowerShell is a critical automation tool for many Office 365 tenants. In 2021, Microsoft will remove basic authentication for PowerShell, so it’s time to change over to modern authentication. For scripts that run as batch or background jobs, that means converting to certificate-based authentication. In this post, we explore how to get the self-signed cert to glue everything together.

Analyzing Quarantined Messages with PowerShell

Exchange Online Protection puts problem messages into quarantine if it suspects that they contain spam, malware, or a phishing attempt. Instead of using the Security and Compliance Center GUI to work with quarantined messages, you can analyze details of quarantined messages with PowerShell to create some basic statistics and find messages that should be released.

Reviewing Email Quarantined by Exchange Online Protection

Exchange Online Protection (EOP) quarantines suspicious messages to stop spam, malware, and phishing email arriving into Exchange Online inboxes. Administrators can review quarantined messages. Reviewing messages can find some problems, like messages that shouldn’t have been stopped. But reviews take time, and sometimes other stuff gets in the way, which means that quarantined messages expire without anyone ever asking the question “why.”

MailTips: Useful Guidance for Good User Email Habits

Exchange Online generates automatic MailTips to advise email creators that recipients are out of offce or the message is addressed to too many recipients. Custom MailTips for mailboxes, distribution lists, and other mail-enabled objects, including language-specific translations, give additional guidance to users as they create messages. Overall, MailTips are worth spending some time on to get right within an Office 365 tenant.

Microsoft 365 Admin Center Manages Default Authentication Policy for Exchange Online

The Microsoft 365 admin center includes the ability to manage settings for the default Exchange Online authentication policy. You might have other policies to allow selective access with basic authentication to some protocols; these policies must be managed with PowerShell. Authentication policies are part of the journey to eliminate basic authentication from Exchange Online, now expected to happen in mid-2021.

Microsoft’s Worldwide Push to Convince Office 365 users to Install Outlook Mobile

Microsoft plans to post notices in OWA to tell end users that their Office 365 licenses include Outlook Mobile. The hope is that more people will use Outlook Mobile instead of EAS or IMAP4-based clients like the default iOS mail client. Notices will appear in OWA and later Outlook desktop, but the good news is that you can disable these notices with a simple change to the tenant’s organization configuration for Exchange Online.

Backing Up Exchange Online Mailboxes to PSTs Continues to be an Awful Idea

Characterizing backup of Exchange Online mailboxes to PSTs as brain-dead might have been harsh, but it’s an accurate assessment of the worth of this idea. Plenty of cloud-based backup offerings exist that can process Exchange Online data more securely and at scale. If you want to backup Office 365, stay away from PSTs and use a different product, after asking some questions to ensure that the backups deliver the value you expect.

Exchange Online Protection Restricts Tenants from Sending Unprovisioned Email

Exchange Online Protection monitors outbound email to pick up signs of potential compromise in Office 365 tenants. This can lead to EOP restricting a tenant’s ability to send outbound email and force the administrators to check for compromised accounts or connectors and other problems before contacting Microsoft Support to ask them to lift the restriction.

When Exchange Online Protection Blocks Email Senders

Exchange Online Protection monitors email traffic in and out of Office 365 tenants. When a mailbox exceeds limits, it might end up being restricted, such as in the case when the mailbox might be compromised. We tried to find out when Exchange Online Protection restricted mailboxes and what to do afterwards. Here’s what we discovered.

Outlook Mobile can be Default Mail App for iOS14

Among the announcements made by Apple at their annual developers conference is the welcome news that iOS14 will allow you to replace the default mail app and browser. This is great news for people who use Outlook for iOS. And you might even consider Edge as a browser.

Microsoft Automates Easing of EWS Throttling for Migrations

Many migration projects use Exchange Web Services (EWS) to move data to Exchange Online. EWS is using throttled to preserve resources. Here’s how to lift the restrictions for up to 90 days, all without going near a support call.

The Need to Upgrade PowerShell Scripts that Send Email via Exchange Online

The combination of Exchange Online and PowerShell allows Office 365 admins to send messages for all manner of reasons. These scripts depend on SMTP AUTH connections and change is coming in this area with the deprecation of basic authentication. It’s a good idea to take an inventory of scripts that send email, including those that use the .NET classes to do the job.

How to Block Room Bookings with Exchange Online

Many people are working from home at present, and you might want to block their ability to book meetings in physical rooms. Policies can be configured to stop the Exchange Online resource booking assistant accepting meeting requests sent to rooms, with exceptions granted to people allowed to make bookings.

How to Configure OWA, Outlook Mac, and Outlook Mobile to Create Online Meetings by Default

Changes coming in May and June will allow organizations to make online meetings the norm when created by OWA or Outlook mobile clients. You can control the feature at the organization level and allow individual mailboxes to override the organization setting.

Use Office 365 Audit Data to Highlight Unused Permissions

I’ve written many articles to explain how to use the Office 365 audit log to report different aspects of the platform. But taking action is much better than just reporting. In this post, we explain how to take a report generated from the Office 365 audit log and use it to drive some actions. In this case, removing the SendAs permission from people who aren’t using it.

Using Teams Compliance Data for eDiscovery

For compliance purposes, the Microsoft 365 substrate captures copies of Teams messages in Exchange Online mailboxes. The compliance records are indexed and discoverable, which means that they can be found by content searches. However, Teams compliance records are imperfect copies of the real data, which is a fact that seems to have escaped many people.