Managing Office 365 Groups With Remote PowerShell

Posted on Posted in Azure, cloud, exchange, exchange online, groups, IAmMEC, mcm, mcsm, MVP, Office 365, owa, powershell

Announced during Microsoft Ignite 2015, there are now PowerShell administration cmdlets available for the administration of the Groups feature in Office 365.

The cmdlets are all based around “UnifedGroups”, for example Get-UnifiedGroups.

Create a Group

Use New-UnifiedGroup to do this. An example would be New-UnifiedGroup -DisplayName “Sales” -Alias sales –EmailAddress sales@contoso.com

The use of the EmailAddress parameter is useful as it allows you to set a group that is not given an email address based on your default domain, but from one of the other domains in your Office 365 tenant.

Modify a Groups Settings

Use Set-UnifiedGroup to change settings such as the ability to receive emails from outside the tenant (RequireSenderAuthenticationEnabled would be $false), limit email from a whitelist (AcceptMessagesOnlyFromSendersOrMembers) and other Exchange distribution list settings such as hidden from address lists, mail tips and the like. AutoSubscribeNewMembers can be used to tell the group to email all new messages to all new members, PrimarySmtpAddress to change the email address that the group sends from.

Remove a Group

This is the new Remove-UnifiedGroup cmdlet.

Add Members to a Group

This cmdlet is Add-UnifiedGroupLinks. For example Add-UnifiedGroupLinks sales -LinkType members -Links brian,nicolas will add the two names members to the group. The LinkType value can be members as shown, but also “owners” and “subscribers” to add group administrators (owners) or just those who receive email sent to the group but not access to the groups content. To change members to owners you do not need to remove the members, just run something like Add-UnifiedGroupLinks sales –LinkType owners -Links brian,nicolas

You can also pipe in a user list from, for example a CSV file, to populate a group. This would read: Add-UnifiedGroupLinks sales -LinkType members -Links $users where $users = Get-Content username.csv would be run before it to populate the $users variable. The source of the variable can be anything done in PowerShell.

Remove Members from a Group

For this use Remove-UnifiedGroupLinks and mention the group name, the LinkType (member, owner or subscriber) and the user or users to remove.

To Disable Group Creation in OWA

Set-OWAMailboxPolicy is used to create a policy that is not allowed to create Groups and then users have that policy applied to them. For example Set-OWAMailboxPolicy “Students” –GroupCreationEnabled $false followed by Set-CASMailbox mary –OWAMailboxPolicy Students to stop the user “mary” creating groups. After the policy is assigned and propagates around the Office 365 service, the user can join and leave groups, but not create them.

Control Group Naming

This feature allows you to control the group name or block words from being used. This is easier to set in the Distribution Groups settings in Exchange Control Panel rather than via PowerShell. To do this EAC use Recipients > Groups and click the ellipses icon (…) and select Configure Group Naming Policy. This is the same policy for distribution groups. You can add static text to the start or end of name, as well as dynamic text such as region.

Admins creating groups are not subject to this policy, but unlike DL’s if they create groups in PowerShell the policy is also not applied and so the -IgnoreNamingPolicy switch is not required.

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