May 2022 Update Available for Office 365 for IT Pros

The Office 365 for IT Pros team is delighted to announce the availability of the May 2022 update. Subscribers can download the updated files from Gumroad.com or Amazon. Among the many improvements made this month was a big effort to remove typos and grammatical errors using Grammarly. This worked well, as long as sensitivity labels didn’t get in the way.

Office 365 Reaches 345 Million Paid Seats

Microsoft’s FY22 Q3 results disclose a ton of success for the Microsoft Cloud, with revenues now approaching an annualized run rate of $100 billion. We got a new number for Office 365 users too and learned that Microsoft has 345 million paid seats for Office 365. Good progress too for Enterprise Mobility and Security and Azure Active Directory. All in all, great results.

New Sensitivity Labels Setting Controls SharePoint Site Sharing Permissions

A new sensitivity label setting is available (in preview) to control site sharing permissions for SharePoint Online sites. The new setting is an advanced setting, meaning that it can only be set using the PowerShell Set-Label cmdlet. It’s a welcome addition to the control sensitivity labels can exert over containers.

Outlook’s Dislike for Moderated Distribution Lists

I’m not sure people use moderated distribution lists with Exchange Online all that much, but those who do might be frustrated by a client inconsistency between OWA and Outlook. OWA can expand the membership of a moderated distribution list; Outlook for Windows cannot. It’s a small point. Maybe Project Monarch will help…

Why the Admin Teams App Isn’t as Good as It Seems

On the surface, the Admin-Microsoft 365 Teams app seems to offer a lot of promise. However, its functionality is disappointing and anyway, do you really want administrators performing tenant management through Teams when they’re signed into their personal accounts? Some will like the app, but I’m not a fan.

Microsoft Purview Rebrand is a Royal Pain

Microsoft marketing folks are no doubt very pleased with their latest branding success in introducing the Microsoft Purview suite. Others aren’t quite so thrilled, especially anyone who writes about technology and now has to update text to match the desires of the brand police. On the upside, there’s some good new functionality coming for different products in the suite.

Exchange Online Plans Changes to Make Mailbox Identification More Effective

Exchange Online plans to change the format of the Name and Distinguished Name mailbox properties. The idea is to make these properties unique and improve synchronization with Azure AD. It all sounds like a good idea, but these properties have been around in Exchange for a long time, and any change will surface in unexpected places – like the output of many Exchange cmdlets. Which is why Microsoft has paused the plan for further reflection.

Viva Topic Cards Available in OWA

Microsoft announced that OWA supports Viva Topics, meaning that users with Topics licenses can add topic cards to messages, and those who receive the messages will see topic cards if they also have licenses. Support is coming soon for topi cards in Teams chat. Being able to use topic cards in mainline applications increases the attractiveness of Viva Topics a lot. Whether it’s enough to convince more Microsoft 365 tenants to plunge into knowledge management with Viva Topics remains to be seen.

Teams Live Streaming Isn’t Difficult, Even for Video Novices

A new capability for Teams meetings allows streaming of content using RTMP to platforms like YouTube. To Microsoft’s credit, they’ve built a feature that even video novices can use. The possibilities to live stream in scenarios like webinars and product announcements are endless.

If You Use Office 2013, It’s Time to Move

Time is running out for Office 2013. In April 2013, Microsoft won’t provide security updates for this venerable software any longer. It’s time to move, and if you’re a Microsoft 365 user, our recommendation is to use Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise because it’s the most functional version. If you can handle the change, it’s the right decision.

How to Report Team Archive and Restore Events

It’s a good idea for administrators to know when people archive or restore teams, just in case users lose access to private or shared channels. This article explains how to search the audit log to find records for these actions, extract the relevant data, find information about channels belonging to the teams, and create a report.

All About the Get-MailTrafficSummaryReport Cmdlet

The Get-MailTrafficSummaryReport cmdlet gets a lot of praise in some quarters. I am not so impressed. The Exchange Online cmdlet is useful, but it’s now showing its age in a world when better data to create a view of user activity is available elsewhere, notably in the Microsoft Graph. This doesn’t mean that the cmdlet doesn’t do a good job; it’s just that it hasn’t received much love from Microsoft since 2015.

Use Message Tracing to Report Exchange Online Email Sent to External Recipients

A management request came in to report email sent by some users to external recipients. Although you might not agree that this is the right thing for any organization to do, it’s very possible by exploiting the message trace information retained by Exchange Online for 90 days. As a bonus, we email the report generated from message tracing data to the requesting manager. Isn’t PowerShell just wonderful?

Archived Teams Pose Visibility Challenge for Shared and Private Channels

When a team owner or administrator archives a team, any shared or private channels in the team along with their SharePoint Online sites are archived and become read-only. This is fine if the team owner realizes the effect on these channels and their users, but problems might happen when team owners aren’t members of the channels and therefore don’t know of their existence. Unless of course they take the time to check using the Teams Admin Center or PowerShell, which is exactly what happens when archival occurs – or is it?

How to Find Unused Exchange Online Mailboxes

Finding and removing unused Exchange Online mailboxes used to be a good way to keep Office 365 licenses costs under control. Given the widespread use of Exchange Online as part of bundles like Office 365 and the effect of Teams on email for internal communication, looking for unused mailboxes might not be so important now. In any case, the techniques of looking for evidence of mailbox under-use are interesting and useful for tenant administrators to understand, which is why we have this article!

Post to Teams Channels Using Azure Automation Runbooks

Sharing information generated by a PowerShell script running in Azure Automation can be a challenge. Some time ago, I wrote about creating an output file in a SharePoint Online document library. Here I explore how to do the job by posting to a Teams channel using two different methods.

New Microsoft Teams Filters Enhance Personal Appearance in Video Meetings

Two new filters available for Teams video meetings promise to help participants look their very best. The brightness filter projects a soft light onto the face of participants while the soft-focus (aka Botox) filter reduces the effect of facial wrinkles and cease lines. Although no miracles are promised, the new filters should help everyone look a little better the next time they turn on video during a Teams call.

Per-Team Activity Data Available via Graph API

A new Microsoft Graph query makes it easy to fetch per-team activity data for reporting. You can also fetch the data with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. The data goes back a maximum of 90 days and is at least two days old when you fetch it. Those facts are easy to live with. What’s not so good is that the activity data focuses exclusively on channel activity and avoids everything else which happens in Teams.

Why It’s Important to Read Message Center Notifications

The message center notifications posted in the Microsoft 365 admin center are an invaluable source of information about change in a tenant. It’s curious that some administrators don’t think they have the time to keep abreast of the changes reported in these notifications. Microsoft is steadily improving the quality of what’s posted, but delayed features remain and issue.

Office 365 for IT Pros April 2022 Update Available

The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook team is delighted to announce that the April 2022 update (#82 in the series) is now available for subscribers to download. This update includes a major revision for our PowerShell content as we start the process of removing Azure AD and MSOL examples and replacing them with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. Alongside all the other change happening inside Microsoft 365, we have plenty of updates to process.

SharePoint’s Document Library Dropdown Menu

Sometimes useful features show up in a Microsoft 365 app long after they should have been there. This is the case of SharePoint Online’s document library dropdown menu, which is very helpful in navigating sites with multiple libraries. Unfortunately, not too many sites have multiple libraries because most are Teams-enabled and have a single library. Teams is another app where features show up after they should. The listing of the teams a user belongs to in the Teams admin center is a good example.

Track User Access to Teams Shared Channels with Azure AD Sign-In Logs

Teams shared channels are now in public preview, meaning that many organizations are trying them out to see how effective a means of collaboration these channels are. One of the administrative challenges of implementing shared channels for cross-tenant collaboration is knowing who uses the channels. An answer can be found in the Azure AD sign-in logs, but only after you go looking.

Assign Azure AD Roles to User Accounts with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

Assigning Azure AD roles to user accounts is the way users receive permissions to perform certain administrative actions. You can automate these assignments using cmdlets from the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. That is, until the time comes to remove assignments.

Basic Azure AD Group Management with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

The Microsoft Graph SDK for PowerShell includes cmdlets for management of Azure AD Groups. The cmdlets work, and in some places they are screamingly fast compared to Exchange Online or Azure AD cmdlets. In other places, the cmdlets are a tad bizarre and expose a little too much of their Graph underpinnings. Oh well, at least after reading this article, you’ll know where the holes lie.

Customer Lockbox Support Arrives for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft is deploying an update to extend support for its customer lockbox feature to Teams user content, like chat or channel messages. Customer lockbox is part of the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 E5 products. It’s a useful control over the access Microsoft support personnel can get to user content, but it seems like this feature should be included in lower-cost products like Office 365 E3. Not that this will happen…

Mobile Co-Authoring for Protected Documents

Microsoft has a preview of co-authoring support for protected documents edited on iOS and Android devices. It’s possible that you will never need to use the feature, but you’ll be glad that it exists if you do. In other mobile news, the Teams mobile client now includes calendar items in its search results.

Delete Azure AD User Accounts and Restore Them Afterwards with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

Microsoft has announced that it will be possible to recover a deleted service principal by the end of May. This is good news because it means that an accidental deletion can’t wreak the kind of havoc it can today. Microsoft hasn’t updated the APIs to manage soft-deleted service principals yet, but we can get an insight into what’s likely to happen by investigating how to manage deleted Azure AD accounts using cmdlets from the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK.

Microsoft Launches Preview of Idle Session Timeout for Web Apps

Microsoft has released the preview of an idle session timeout policy to control the automatic sign-out of Microsoft 365 web apps. Not every web app is covered, but those that are will be signed out automatically when one of the covered apps becomes inactive for a stated period in a browser session. At that point, Microsoft 365 signs out all the web apps and forces the user to sign in again. Sounds like a reasonable idea, and it replaces existing mechanisms available for OWA and SharePoint Online.

Microsoft Gives Tenants Opt-Out for Exchange Online Plus Addressing

Microsoft intends to make the Exchange Online plus addressing feature available by default to all Microsoft 365 tenants after April 17, 2022. If you don’t want this to happen, you need to update the Exchange Online organization configuration to update the DisablePlusAddressInRecipients setting to True. After the opt-out 30-day period finishes, Microsoft will proceed with the deployment, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

Why It’s Difficult to Transfer Membership Rules from Exchange Online to Azure AD

It seems like it should be possible to transfer a membership rule from an Exchange dynamic distribution list to a dynamic Microsoft 365 group/team, but it’s not. Different directories, schemas, properties. and syntax conspire to stop easy conversion. It’s a pity, but that’s the way life and technology sometimes go…

Microsoft Sets New Deprecation Schedule for Azure AD PowerShell

Lots of news has emerged from Microsoft recently regarding the deprecation of the Azure AD PowerShell module and the older MSOL module. Although dates have slipped from the original June 30, 2022 deadline, the signs are that Microsoft will retire the modules in early 2023. However, the Azure AD and MSOL license management cmdlets will stop working on August 26, 2022, so that’s the immediate priority for script upgrades.

How to Create a Report About Teams Tags

Teams tags appeared in early 2020 as a method to address subsets of a team membership in channel conversations. Microsoft doesn’t provide a method to report what teams use tags and what those tags are, but we can find out using the Graph APIs. In this article, we show how to use the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK to create a report of all teams which use tags, the names of the tags, and the team members assigned the tags.

Converting Dynamic Distribution Lists to Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams

This article explains how to create a new Microsoft 365 group and team using the membership and properties of an Exchange Online dynamic distribution list. The process is reasonably straightforward, but as always with PowerShell, there are some interesting turns and twists that must be navigated en route.

All About the Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams Activity Report

The Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams Activity report is a PowerShell script which tries to work out if groups and teams are inactive by checking various usage indicators. Because it’s written in PowerShell, tenants can change the script as they like, perhaps even adding some extra turbocharging to the ideas we’ve incorporated into the code.

Contemplating the Oddities of Planner Limits

Microsoft’s documentation for Planner limits raises more questions than it answers. Some of the documented limits are straightforward and easily understood. Others are just plain odd and bear no resemblance to what people see when they use the app. Microsoft’s writers have some work to do…

Whiteboard Nears End of Transition to OneDrive

The transition of Whiteboard storage from Azure to OneDrive for Business is approaching its end. A set of updated clients delivered at the end of March 2022 should do the trick. However, storing newly-created boards in OneDrive is one thing. Migrating old boards and updating components like the Whiteboard Admin PowerShell app are another. We don’t know what’s happening there and Microsoft hasn’t published any guidance.

Remote Connectivity Analyzer Diagnoses Teams Connections to Exchange Hybrid

Microsoft’s Remote Connectivity Analyzer (MRCA) utility is now able to run diagnostics to check connectivity between Teams and an Exchange hybrid organization. MRCA was in the doldrums for several years because no one inside Microsoft had any interest in providing funding for its development and support. Now the utility is roaring back with a set of new tests covering different aspects of Microsoft 365. Recommended!

New OneDrive Shortcut Move Feature Rolling Out

OneDrive for Business

Microsoft is rolling out a new feature to allow users to move OneDrive shortcuts to shared or private folders. Although a nice upgrade, being able to move shortcuts is not the biggest OneDrive issue. What stops me using shortcuts is the clash between them and the OneDrive sync client. It seems like it should be an easy fix for Microsoft to apply, and when they do, I’ll happily move OneDrive shortcuts around.