Teams Calendar Fails To On-Premises Mailbox

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in 2016, 2019, autodiscover, autodiscover v2, calendar, exchange, exchange online, Exchange Server, Microsoft Teams, Teams

In Microsoft Teams, you have a calendar icon in the main display that shows your diary and meetings etc. – except it does not work if your mailbox is not either in Exchange Online or, if if your mailbox is on-premises, you are not using Exchange Server 2016 CU3 or later.

The reason for this is that the Teams calendar uses AutoDiscover v2, which is only supported by Exchange Server 2016 CU3 and Exchange Online (note that CU3 is not the current version of Exchange Server 2016 and versions later than CU3 also support AutoDiscover v2).

This means that if you have an earlier version of Exchange Server on-premises then the calendar in Teams is not functional. This raises IT support calls as users expect it to be available, and this impacts your deployment of Teams as it appears broken.

So how can we fix this. Well clearly migrating to Exchange Online or installing the 2016 or later version of Exchange Server is the obvious option from the above, but there is another option to work around this issue. The “fix” is to remove the calendar icon from Teams. This does not stop you booking meetings, as you can still do that in Outlook with the Teams add-in or in the Outlook mobile client, where Teams meeting support is rolling out as I write this blog. If I remove the calendar icon, then the source of the errors disappears, but Teams is not really adversely impacted.

So this is what we start with:

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And we remove the icon by creating a new App Setup Policy in the Teams Admin centre and then deploying that policy to all your users (with on-premises mailboxes on older versions of Exchange, or those not using Exchange for calendaring). You can easily roll this out as a test, though its about 24 hours for the effect to be seen, and then roll it out in bulk for all your impacted users. We will cover all this below:

 

1. Creating App Setup Policy

In the Teams Admin centre (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com) expand Teams Apps > Setup Policies and create a new policy. This policy is based on your current Global policy.

Select the Calendar app and remove it from this new policy. You should see something like this:

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Here I have created an app policy called “With OnPrem Mailboxes” and removed the Calendar app from it.

2. Applying App Setup Policy To A Test User

Once you have the policy ready, its time to test it. Policy changes will take 24 hours to apply (so say the docs) and I found on my testing it was 18 hours when I ran through these steps – so this is not quick!

To make sure your changes work, the plan here is to deploy this new policy to a few selected individuals in the Teams admin centre.

Find the first user and click on their name. In the details page you will see the policies applied to the lower left:

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Click Edit at the top right of this section and change the App setup policy to your new policy:

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And click Save:

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You will see your new policy in the list.

Repeat for the rest of your test pool of users using the portal. We will not use the portal for deploying it to all users though, that will take too long!

Next day, these users should see something like this – no calendar:

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3. Applying App Setup Policy To All Users

To apply this change to all users once your test users are happy we will use PowerShell, and we will use the Skype for Business Online PowerShell cmdlets (not the Teams PowerShell!).

The following one-line PowerShell, once you have connected to your tenant, is:

Get-CSOnlineUser | ForEach-Object { Grant-CsTeamsAppSetupPolicy -PolicyName "With OnPrem Mailboxes" -Identity $_.WindowsEmailAddress

This gets all your users and applies a new Teams App Setup Policy to each of them. This works initially with this problem, as we assume all users are affected. If only a subset of your users are on-premises, then do not use this cmdlet to apply the initial change, but use the below to be more selective.

Within 24 hours the Calendar app will disappear from Teams for your users and they will not be phoning the help desk with issues that none of you can easily fix!

4. Applying App Setup Policy To Selected Users

The above cmdlet is a single run – it does not affect later and new users, nor is there a concept of a default policy that you can set as the one each new users gets. So every so often depending upon how often new users start employment you will want to run the below:

Get-CsOnlineUser -Filter {TeamsAppSetupPolicy -ne "With OnPrem Mailboxes"} | ForEach-Object { Grant-CsTeamsAppSetupPolicy -PolicyName "With OnPrem Mailboxes" -Identity $_.WindowsEmailAddress}

This gets all users where they do not have the selected App Policy already set and sets this just for these users. This is quicker than setting it for all users regardless.

You can use other filters to select users – for example, you could look for users without an on-premises mailbox and then run the ForEach against each of these users instead – this would work in a hybrid deployment.

When you are in a hybrid deployment and you move mailboxes to Exchange Online from on-premises, you will want to set those users just moved back to a policy that includes the calendar app. The same would go for organizations migrating to Exchange Server 2016 with inbound AutoDiscover from Office 365. Here you could use something like importing a CSV file of mailboxes being migrated (the same list you used to build the migration batches in the first place would do) and then run the ForEach for each item on the CSV file.

Save Time! Have All Your Meetings End Early

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in calendar, exchange online, Exchange Server, monthly channel, Office 365, Office 365 ProPlus, Outlook, semi-annual channel

I am sure you have been in a meeting, where the meeting end time rolls around and there is a knock at the door from the people who want the meeting room now, as their meeting time has started and yours has finished.

What if you could recover five, eight, ten or more minutes per meeting so that the next meeting party can get into the room on time, and you have time to get out and get to your next meeting, and be on time.

Well since the beginning of 2019, Microsoft have come to your rescue.

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The above are the new calendar “End appointments and meetings early” option. It is available in Outlook for Windows that is part of Office 365 ProPlus and you need to have a version of the software released new in 2019 for the feature to be available – more on the version and what to do in the technical section below.

The above option is found from File > Options > Calendar and then looking under Calendar Options as shown.

Check the option ”End appointments and meetings early” and then choose the time that a meeting under 1 hour will end early, and you can choose 5, 8 or 10 minutes, and then a second option for meetings over 1 hour – these can end 5, 10 or 15 minutes early. You can also enter your own preferred end early time.

Click OK and go create a new meeting. It should not matter how you create the meeting.

As you can see from my options above, my default meeting is 30 minutes – so on creating a new meeting I see the following:

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I’ve highlighted the new end time – its 25 minutes after the meeting starts! The adjustment applies to the default meeting length and shortens it for me.

If for this meeting I want it to be the full 30 minutes, I can just write in the new time – all Outlook is doing is setting a new adjustable default for me.

For meetings where you drag out a custom duration in your calendar – it works here as well:

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As you can see I have dragged out 1pm to 4pm on Thursday. Look what happens when I enter some text for the meeting subject:

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The meeting is created with an end time ten minutes early (my preferred time saving duration for meetings over one hour). As with the above, I can adjust the time of this meeting to the full hour if I want to very easily – just drag the meeting block to the full hour and it is kept. Its just the default time when I first create the meeting that is adjusted.

Note that existing meetings are not changed – but if you go into an existing meeting and look at the end time drop down, you will see suggestions for the duration that take the early end time into consideration:

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So, that’s how you can save time on your meetings (or at least one way, being prepared for them is another and technology cannot help there – yet!)

Changing The Defaults For Everyone

But what if you are the HR department or the representative of the department for digital change – what if you want to try and improve company culture and change these defaults across the board – well this is a job for IT, but they can easily roll out a setting to all your computers that set a end early time for both short and longer meeting durations.

They need to deploy a group policy setting that changes the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Options\Calendar and updates both EndEarlyShort and EndEarlyLong values as well as the EndEventsEarly key. EndEarlyShort is of course the value that affects meetings under one hour – and you do not need to accept the Microsoft suggested durations of 5, 8 and 10 minutes. For example if I edit this DWORD registry key and set the value to 3, upon restarting Outlook my new meetings under one hour end three minutes early:

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The EndEventsEarly value is the setting that turns the feature on. So as well as setting the end early times, you need to set this value to 1 as well.

If you want to roll out this change centrally and ensure that the end user cannot set their own custom end early time then you can change the registry key policy settings via HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Options\Calendar. Changes in this registry location mean the user cannot adjust the end early times.

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You can disable this option centrally as well by setting EndEventsEarly DWORD value to 0 – this has the effect of disabling the check box and so users cannot turn the option on.

All these three settings are included in the latest update to the Office365 Administrative Templates, available on Microsoft Download Center: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49030 as well.

Checking Your Outlook Version

Version 1812 or later in use on the Monthly Channel is required before you can use this feature. In most businesses you are probably using the Semi-Annual channel, and this has features deferred by at least six months. So to check, click File > Office Account in any Office application (shown below). To the right hand side you will see the below. You need to check you are running the Subscription Product and that under About Outlook (or whatever Office app you are checking), it reads Version 1812 or later and Monthly Channel. The Semi-Annual Channel is released in January and July each year and is deferred by at least six months, so as this feature was released in Dec 2018, this feature will not appear in the Semi-Annual Channel until at least July 2019 – build 1812 of the Semi-Annual Channel (and possibly not until build 1907). More on this release cycle can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/overview-of-update-channels-for-office-365-proplus

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