Going from Exchange On-Premises to Exchange Online can be a bit of a learning curve. One of the changes is having to worry about licensing a lot more; on-prem you can have as many service accounts as you need (e.g. a ticketing application may need access to a mailbox to send and receive emails, or to create IT Helpdesk jobs from emails) and you’re good to go.
With Exchange Online however, every single account needs to be licensed. As per Microsoft’s FAQ on the topic:
How is Exchange Online licensed?
Exchange Online is licensed via a subscription model in which each user needs a User Subscription License (USL). Three types of subscriptions are available: Exchange Online Kiosk, Exchange Online Plan 1, and Exchange Online Plan 2. These subscriptions can be purchased on their own or as part of an Office 365 plan that includes SharePoint Online, Skype for Business Online, and Office ProPlus.
Here’s a breakdown of all the license options for Exchange Online, and what features each license has.
Your normal users are probably going to have some sort of business package applied to each user – one of the most common is Office 365 Enterprise E3, but generally not value for money for a single purpose service account.
The Exchange Online Kiosk plan is the cheapest, but limited. Also note that there’s the Office 365 F1 plan which includes Exchange Online Kiosk, but again is a more expensive package with features you probably don’t need. Although this license can also be used to access another mailbox, there are many limitations such as “Exchange Online Kiosk does not provide access rights for utilization with on-premises servers.” and the ability to access the mailbox using Microsoft Outlook. It also can’t use Exchange Web Services (EWS) which is one of the more modern ways that a developer will read or manipulate emails.
Exchange Online Kiosk has the brief description of “Basic messaging and calendaring plan with Web email and POP access.” If you purely want to send emails via SMTP using Office 365’s SMTP connector, then this is what you need.
For most other functions, you’ll need at least Exchange Online Plan 1. This is the next cheapest option, and gives you a standard fully working Exchange Online account with a fully functional mailbox.
There is another option around all this; if you’re happy to run Exchange Hybrid but have all your mailboxes in Exchange Online, you’re entitled to a free Exchange Server license. With that in place, you can use SMTP relays to allow your on-premises accounts to use that connecter without a license, and have that relay back to Office 365. It’s also possible to do ignoring Exchange Hybrid if you build your own IIS server and SMTP Relay. Both of these options are great for devices like printers that may be sending emails anonymously, or to avoid changing configuration of all your devices with the new Office 365 SMTP server smtp.office365.com .
As you’ll need to do license management and probably be looking at month to month charges, it’s important to understand licensing and allocate in the most cost effective way. Of course, all this may change so please check official Microsoft documentation to ensure you’re getting what you need.
The programs have the same ideas – give users access to new features before everyone else, and let those users provide feedback to help report issues or shape decisions that will go out to the rest of the world.
This program is for the Click To Run version of Office, not MSI.
If you’re not already a Windows Insider, Microsoft has easy to follow instructions. It’s also not a requirement to be a Windows Insider to be an Office Insider.
For Office Insiders, it depends what version of Office you’re licensed to. Home, Personal and University licenses can just go to File > Account > Office Insider from any Office app, and follow the prompts.
However if you’re using a School or Work account, you won’t see this option. The full instructions are available from Microsoft but here’s the condensed version:
Edit the configuration.xml file: The line -<Add Channel=”Monthly” OfficeClientEdition=”32″> needs the word ‘Monthly‘ changed to either ‘InsiderFast’ to get updates as early in the process as possible.
Open an admin commant prompt, navigate to the folder that contains the two above files and run:
Setup.exe /configure configuration.xml
(If you have any issues, try uninstalling your existing version of Office).
Once that’s done, you should be good to go. Launch an Office app such as Word, log in with your Work/School account, and go to File > Account. Under the About Word section, you should see a mention of Office Insider:
If you want to be an Office Insider for apps on iOS or Android, then follow the instructions here on how to register and obtain updates (it’s very easy!).
If you’re looking at starting to use OneDrive for Business and you’re working with a PCs joined to a local domain, you can now have a seamless sign in experience for end users (Note that the Group Policy setting for this is in preview according to the documentation).
OneDrive for Business from the client’s perspective has been dropped. It’s just OneDrive now, even though the backend is OneDrive for Business as part of an Office 365 subscription.
You’ll need Windows 10 1709+ for this, as that’s the first version of Windows 10 that has OneDrive baked in. There’s no deployment of the app required then, so you won’t need to use or modify OneDrive for Business. The newer client has much less syncing issues too – if you’re not sure what one you’re using, check what executable is running. OneDrive.exe is the new client, where Groove.exe is the older.
Since OneDrive is part of Windows 10 now, if you aren’t ready for this or don’t want it yet, you’ll need to use the Group Policy setting ‘Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage’ which is found in Computer Settings > Policies > Administrative Tempates > Windows Components > OneDrive (note that this is different to the location of where the above new policies sit for OneDrive, which is one level down straight under Administrative Templates).
If you’re migrating from an existing install, then you’ll need to follow this process. Otherwise if you’re starting fresh, there’s a great guide here to go through.
The short version of these steps is:
Windows 10 1709 already has OneDrive, so no deployment required.
Get the ADML and ADMX Group Policy files and deploy them in your environment. Make sure they’re the latest ones too, which you should be able to get from any Windows 10 1709 PC in the path %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\BuildNumber\adm\
Configure your Group Policies to the settings you want, but the one you’ll need for auto sign in is “Silently configure OneDrive using Windows 10 or domain credentials“. This setting should set the regsitry key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\OneDrive] “SilentAccountConfig”=dword:00000001. With this setting, there’s an extra registry settings to configure:[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\OneDrive] “EnableADAL”=dword:00000001 – This setting enables Modern Authentication for OneDrive.
After this is configured and you log on, the OneDrive client will automatically sign in as the logged on user – assuming you’re properly set up on the Azure AD and Office 365 side of things. There’s no prompt, no notification and users can start using it straight away at their convenience.
Note that if you disabled OneDrive from running at first user login (usually via the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run with something like “C:\Windows\SysWOW64\OneDriveSetup.exe /silent”, you’ll need to retrigger the install. That /silent switch will make OneDrive install and sign in automatically with the above settings.
If you’re planning on moving user’s home drives to OneDrive, you’ll need to manually move the files or run a script like this to migrate the data – or find a paid solution.
I had a requirement come up where I needed a list of Exchange Online users as well as Exchange On-Premises users. If you’re hybrid or going through a long migration, there’s many scenarios where you want certain products or settings applied against the users and accounts based on where their mailbox is.
You could maintain that manually, but why do that when you can automate it!
Thankfully there’s two easy commands that will return accounts based on where they are – get-mailbox and get-remotemailbox. As long as you’re in Exchange Hybrid mode, you can run both of these commands against your local Exchange server.
All I’m doing here is getting the two user types and putting them into variables – $remoteusers and $onpremusers. I’ve also used the group names as variables, so you can create whatever AD groups you like and put them into the $remotegroup and $onpremgroup variables.
Also I’m clearing out all members of the group before adding users, which means if someone gets migrated or leaves, they’ll be cleaned up from the old group properly.
Finally I’m going through the two users lists and using ‘foreach’ to add each user to the relevant group, using the SamAccountName value of each result to identify them.
It’s only a basic script, but you can easily add extra filters to the Get-Mailbox and Get-RemoteMailbox commands to do things such as only getting users from certain OUs.
This was tested on Exchange 2010, so if you get different results on Exchange 2013 or 2016 please let me know.
There’s a few Office 365 features that were released only for Business customers; there’s a nice list of all the Office 365 Features and what subscription they sit under on Technet. The good news is that they’re coming to Enterprise customers too!
The first service to be available is called Bookings which lets you build a booking system for your customers to use. There’s actually a lot to it – you can set rates, who’s available, what times to book, what sort of appointments customers can choose.. I can see it being a big benefit to a small business to have a very easy to configure and professional booking system.
I can see why Microsoft originally didn’t let Enterprise customers have this product – it’s not going to work well if you have 1000 staff that can be booked using it, and have more complex requirements.
Regardless, I’m sure many Enterprise customers want to at least have a look at a new free addon that’s part of their subscription.
There’s a few steps to getting access to Bookings, and it’s different to other products such as Teams. Again, Microsoft have a Technet Guide on getting Bookings but here’s the abbreviated version;
In Office 365 Admin, go to Billing > Purchase Services. Find Business Apps (it’s near the bottom), and follow the bouncing ball from the ‘Buy Now’ button which shows up when you hover over or click the Business Apps tile. It’s a bit strange to go through a purchase process for an E3/E5 subscription.
Although there’s an option to “Automatically assign to all of your users with no licenses” I found that at the end of the process, nobody actually had the license applied. You’ll need to follow your normal license allocation procedure (which at the basic level, can be choosing a user from the admin console, going to Product Licenses, finding ‘Business Apps’ and changing the switch to ‘on’).
I also hit an issue when going through the purchase process when choosing to pay. I had the message ‘Sign-in required For security reasons, please try signing in again. If you receive this notification again, a specific browser setting is preventing you from utilizing this page. Please follow this support article to fix the issue.’ Trying again ended up going in a loop to see that message. Google Chrome I couldn’t resolve this; Internet Explorer however, set your browser settings as per the support article but then completely close all IE windows, or it doesn’t seem to work.
Once you’ve purchased, it only takes a minute or less for the licenses to appear. As above, make sure you’ve then checked and applied the license to an account you plan to test on. The app itself may take longer to show up in the dots menu, but you can go direct to bookings.office.com and you will hopefully see a page like this:
From there, you can start to check out settings and configure it up!