Microsoft TechCommunity Top Posts March 2022, Week 1

Here’s my picks of the latest TechCommunity posts that I thought were worth sharing:

Automate your patching using Azure Arc and Azure Automation!

Azure Arc is another Azure service I haven’t used, but looking at this post I really want to know more. You can manage your on-premises servers (also Kubernetes clusters and SQL Servers) in Azure Arc by installing an agent. It’s also free*! to add servers in to manage, but I expect there’s some minimal related expenses with Log Analytics and runbooks. Worth having a play around with, especially if you’ve got minimal Azure services and want something to play with, without migrating actual services in.

Quickly Estimate Replication Time for Azure Migrate Virtual Machines

Posts from Microsoft internal staff on what they’ve done for customers are always helpful. This one’s a simple process on how to calculate an estimate on how long it would take to migrate a VM to Azure using the size of the VM, the bandwidth available, and factoring in 30% compression.

New security solutions to help secure small and medium businesses

Microsoft Defender for Business is out, which is great news for the smaller (or leaner) businesses. A bunch of content here around the product, but also Microsoft 365 Lighthouse for partners to support businesses for those using a partner to manage their security.

New Teams Exchange Integration Test in the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer

The Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer is a very useful online tool for testing internet connectivity to different services, Exchange, Teams, Skype for Business/Lync amongst others. It’s worth checking what’s there so you’re aware of what it can do before you need it. Also linked is the SARA Client, a nice tool that can detect problems and misconfigurations of local Office installs.

Microsoft Defender for Cloud Price Estimation Dashboard

“How much does cloud cost?” is a much more complicated question compared to on-premises, but such is the price of flexibility and a modular approach to using the bits that you want. Price Estimators like this that are easy to use are valuable to help answer the above question.

Enrolling Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows devices with Microsoft Endpoint Manager

If you’ve looked into Microsoft Teams Rooms devices, you’ve had to look through the differences between Android and Windows based ones. This article focuses on Windows, as you can’t just put a Windows device out there unmanaged; there’s ways you can enrol and manage these devices in Intune (how do you ensure they’re patched etc otherwise?). This is a very long (lots of screenshots!) and detailed article on how to onboard the MTR for Windows type device. and you can see my previous TechCommunnity picks here

Microsoft TechCommunity Top Posts February 2022, Week 4

Here’s my picks of the latest TechCommunity posts that I thought were worth sharing:

Microsoft Defender for IoT – General Release Update

If you’re using Microsoft Defender already, this is a really nice edition to the feature set. Agentless network detection and response of your IoT devices ‘just happens’ from our point of view, and it’ll pick up things like printers, smart TVs, CCTV systems – all that other stuff that most people ignore – and detect potential issues. Check out the features here.

Troubleshooting issues with Distribution List to Microsoft 365 Group upgrades

When I first learnt about Office 365 Groups (which of course are now called Microsoft 365 Groups) I first thought ‘why don’t I upgrade all my DLs to this? However, after some testing there were differences that I couldn’t get around – the biggest being that if you email a DL as a member you get a copy of the email. If you email a Microsoft 365 Group as a member, you don’t get a copy of the email to you – because that’s ‘smarter’. Maybe, but people still like to see that email come back so they know they’ve successfully emailed a group. I really wish this was an option… anyway, my gripe aside, there’s other things that can go wrong when migrating over, and here’s some common scenarios to look at – including a nice tool called DLT365Groupsupgrade which is a PowerShell script to see what might be wrong and report back. Nice!

What’s Next in Microsoft Sentinel?

Microsoft Sentinel keeps getting better, and has done well to make a good name for itself in an already crowded SIEM space. One of the big additions is now support the MITRE ATT@CK Framework, and another having a Unified Threat Hunting Community on GitHub where people can add and share their hunting queries.

Protect your Google Cloud workloads with Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Another one I like because it’s Microsoft applying one of their toolsets to someone else’s cloud. If I buy Microsoft Defender, I shouldn’t be limited to just Microsoft products. Defender for Cloud can now analyse the Google Cloud Platform (it could already do Amazon Web Services) and provide a bunch of recommendations, as well as Threat Protection for workloads.

The new and better ‘WordPress on App Service’

A few years back, I tried to move this blog to WordPress on Azure. It was a frustratingly confusing and messy experience that I tried more than once, and gave up on. I’m hoping this improved App Service makes it a lot easier, maybe I’ll try again in the future :)

Best practices for successful large meetings in Microsoft Teams

If someone wants to run a large meeting, send them this link. A bunch of considerations that will save pain and embarrassment when someone thinks they can just ‘wing it’ in front of a large live audience. There’s also other ideas around engagement and interaction, as well as limitations that are worth being aware of.

Microsoft Bookings and Education Sector

I don’t think Bookings gets the recognition it deserves. I use it all the time now when someone asks about my availability, and have the link to My Bookings page as a template in Outlook. Here’s some use case ideas in the education sector, but don’t think the product is limited to that in any way. Make booking appointments a lot easier – and think about what functions can be booked, not just people. Training, inductions, reviews; Bookings done right can save a lot of people a lot of time.

That’s it for this week, as always you can see the entire feed of TechCommunity posts at and you can see my previous TechCommunnity picks here

Microsoft TechCommunity Top Posts February 2022, Week 3

I’m a little bit late due to a cold but here’s the rundown of my picks of the TechCommunity posts of the week:

Quickly get assessment recommendations in Microsoft Compliance Manager

The Compliance Manager in Microsoft 365 covers a lot of areas around reducing risk, data protection and regulatory standards, and now there’s an extra layer (at a cost) to use templates that can apply to different regions, industries etc. You can do a 90 day trial to check it out. There’s a general push I’ve seen towards companies needing to be more complaint than ever before, so I expect many will need to start looking into these.

Microsoft Compliance Manager (MSCM) Ninja Training: Q1 2022

No idea about Compliance Manager? Luckily Microsoft has a bunch of free Ninja training on it at three levels – fundamental, intermediate, and advanced. If you think you’re already a pro at it, then take the Knowledge Check quiz and see how you do.

The Splunk Add-on for Microsoft Security is now available

It’s not all just about Microsoft Sentinel as a SIEM in the Defender space, you can now send off your Alerts and Incidents to Splunk if that’s your preferred platform – and it’s this sort of open approach that will continue to help the Microsoft Defender stack continue to be successful and grow in the security space.

New tools to create and customize professional looking diagrams in Visio for the web

Visio for the web is getting several more features drop soon and for many, negates the need for a full desktop install as well as actually paying extra for a license. The two features I like are Format Painter (like when you do it for text, but instead a Visio object), and Snap Experience Improvements to make aligning your objects a lot easier to do. If you haven’t already, promote Visio for the web in your company and to your userbase!

Autoruns v14.09, ProcMon v3.89, Sysmon v13.33 and ZoomIt v5.10

Many people don’t know about the sysitnernal tools, or if they do, don’t know many of the actual tools themselves and what they do. The above four products have new versions, with the most notable being Zoomit which now supports pen and touch drawing as a part of it’s screen annotation and magnifying abilities – great for live presentations and demos.

Windows Server Hotpatching is here!

The start of something many of us have dreamed of for a long time – applying patches and not requiring a reboot. Also, it only applies to patches that are in the hotpatch program – but it’s a start. This does just apply to Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition (Core) so that’s a bit of a limited audience, let’s hope this expands to everything.

Reconnect Series: Richard M. Hicks

If you have ever looked into Direct Access or Always On VPN, you would have seen Richard Hicks’ name come up. A very nice guy who even took the time out to talk to myself and a few colleagues over a call on some Always On VPN woes we had hit during rollout. If you ever need anything in this space, be sure to see what Richard has to say on the matter first.

Azure AD Certificate-Based Authentication now in Public Preview

For the use cases where you’d like cert based auth, you can now try this with Azure AD. The official documentation on how to set this up is here and as the article shows, after entering a username you can use the ‘Sign in with a certificate’ option in lieu of a password. This removes one of the remaining needs of running ADFS yourself.

Security baseline for Microsoft Edge v98

Keep on top of the Microsoft Edge Security Baseline – you’ll have to check this out with every version release of Edge. Three settings are highlighted to review, along with 10 new settings.

New and exciting features available for Microsoft Teams breakout rooms

Breakout rooms were one of those features Zoom had and Teams didn’t – but Teams has caught up, and continues to bring new features to the function. There’s more options around reassigning participants already in breakout rooms, better overviews of what’s happening with the participant assignment experience being updated, a breakout room timer that can be visible for participants, and Breakout room managers support letting more than just the organisers of the meeting manage the breakout rooms. All welcome additions and updates!

Why Yammer? Perspectives from community professionals

Yammer is one of the less celebrated aspects of Microsoft 365, and Rebecca Jackson consolidates many considerations on the benefits of Yammer. Worth a read from those who use and appreciate the platform.

Streamlining the submissions experience in Microsoft Defender for Office 365

The team is moving all the different types of submissions from users into a single area now, which makes management a lot easier. The four types of submissions are Emails, Email Attachemnts, URLs, and User reported messages. This is rolling out right now and you may already see these four tabs in the Submissions area of the Microsoft 365 Defender portal.

That’s it for this week (so much stuff!), as always you can see the entire feed of TechCommunity posts at and you can see my previous TechCommunnity picks here

Microsoft TechCommunity Top Posts February 2022, Week 2

Here’s my weekly review of the best of TechCommunity:

You can do more with OneNote for the web and in Teams

OneNote was somewhat abandoned for a while, but Microsoft are now working to make it better. Nice to see that particularly the web based version of OneNote is getting some new features, so you don’t need to install the app. Looking forward to a lot more movement in the OneNote space.

Microsoft Teams performance improvements reduce power consumption in meetings by up to 50%

Back in 2020, Teams CPU and RAM usage was high by the app. So much so, that for me, the standard laptop build went from 8GB of RAM to 16GB. Staff would complain of their device running slow when in a meeting. Improvements had to happen – which they have, and it’s nice to see the transparency now from Microsoft on how they’ve come along this journey. Teams 2.0 came out with Windows 11 with the promise of being rewritten from the ground up and better in many ways, but it’s not a direct replacement for Teams (at least yet).

New Microsoft Viva Adoption Resources are here!

Microsoft have released the Viva Adoption Page where you can get guidance on how to start, or continue, your company’s journey in rolling out Viva. Resources like this are very useful, even if it’s a sanity check to know you haven’t missed something. Keep in mind, Viva has 4 main aspects – Viva Learning, Viva Connections, Viva Topics, and Viva Insights. Check out the pricing page to see what Viva bits you get with existing licenses, and what needs an extra license.

All Microsoft Defender for Identity features now available in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal

I’m still liking these self descriptive titles. This is the continuation of the plan to combine portals, particularly in the Defender space, with the goal of having everything in once place (*cough* That portal is of course and great to see more and more of these things go together in one pane of glass.

Introducing the new Overview page for Test Base for Microsoft 365

Microsoft seems pretty serious about Microsoft 365, although I think they should have called it ‘Microsoft Cloud 365’ for a bit less confusion around names, but for any admin wanting to get going with Microsoft 365, the Test Base page is somewhere you can start to work out how Microsoft 365 might work for you with documenation, guides, package testing, and metrics – as well as showing failures.

What’s New: Consolidating Apache Log4j-related insights across Multiple Tenants and Workspaces

That nasty Log4j vulnerability is going to be around for a long time – and just because you did a spot check of your environment when the sirens went off, doesn’t mean someone won’t deploy an old version of it in the future (have you ever seen a vendor give you a package that includes the absolute latest release of all other open source software?). If you’re a SOC or looking after multiple customers/tenants, then you’re going to want to check this out.

Make Sustainability Part of Everybody’s Job

Something a bit less technical, but also something we probably all have some power over improving where we work. General wastage has both an environmental and business impact, and could be as simple as changing printer defaults to double sided printing rather than single sided, or choosing environmentally friendly powered options for your datacentres on the next refresh (maybe under the sea?). At least make yourself aware of some of the possibilities, and invite an open conversation with others on what could be done to improve sustainability.

That’s it for this week, as always you can see the entire feed of TechCommunity posts at and you can see my previous TechCommunnity picks here

Microsoft TechCommunity Top Posts February 2022, Week 1

Time to go through the week’s TechCommunity posts and check out my favorites:

Microsoft Forms as a Tab in Teams using graph API in Power Automate

I like content like this where it’s stepping through exactly what to do, to make three different parts of M365 talk together. Great if you’re learning about Power Automate.

Don’t pay more for SharePoint Storage than you have to :-)

SharePoint Online isn’t an infinite bucket of storage, and this post covers how (he thinks) it works, and some considerations on how to control and clean it up. There’s also a script to run that will show how much storage can be saved per site collection – useful!

Attack Simulation Training: User tags based targeting in simulations – now live!

Tags are apparently the new groups and I’m not actually sure what advantage Tags have over managing Groups for this sort of thing, but it’s there and live. The Attack Simulation Training in Office 365 Security is actually quite good, and I like how it shows an example email and points out the areas to look at. Worth checking out.

Turn off Mirror my video in Microsoft Teams meetings to match your video to your audience’s view

These titles are getting longer. Microsoft Teams is rolling out the ‘Mirror my video’ option so you can see how others see you, now how you’d see yourself in a mirror which is the default (and can take a minute to process the difference). A good explanation and screenshots in this one, in case you’d like to inform your user base.

ProvisionGenie 🧞 – a community driven initiative

If you’re brave enough to let end users create their own groups, this seems like a more structured way of allowing it and having more of it build the way they want. Looks like a really cool community driven piece of work!

Demystifying Microsoft Teams Rooms (Windows) application releases

If you have Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) devices running on Windows, then you should be across how updates are applied and in what frequency, just like Windows 10/11 and Office 365. There’s also the Microsoft 365 Public roadmap to get an idea what’s coming for MTR devices.

The Power BI Roadmap – Released!

No beating around the bush on this one and I’ll save you a click, the Power BI roadmap has been updated.

What’s new in Microsoft Endpoint Manager – 2201 (January) edition

Although my brain can’t handle the yymm format of MEM releases, this shows the product is still alive and being well developed. The three items highlighted are – Microsoft Tunnel client functionality on Microsoft Defender for Endpoint iOS, Filters in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and enabling .DMG app installs on macOS. Filters also has it’s own dedicated post here, and it’s also worth mentioning the ‘Visualize your content package distribution in Configuration Manager TP 2201‘ post which does what it says, nice little addition there.

What’s New in Microsoft Teams | January 2022

If you want a popular post, this is one of them at 30k + views already. There’s so many new features listed that I started writing them down and changed my mind – go check out all the new stuff.

Try Microsoft Lists with your Microsoft account (Preview)

Microsoft takes another step into the consumer world with releasing Microsoft Lists for Microsoft accounts. It’s limited to the first 200,000 people who sign up for it – I’m a huge fan of Lists and I’m sure people using spreadsheets for this sort of thing for personal reasons would get some benefits of using Lists instead.

Troubleshooting RBAC configuration issues in Exchange Online

If you’d like to see what someone has to go through when troubleshooting why someone can’t run a certain command, and why people end up using Domain Admin/Tenant Admin, here’s a good example :) Permissions are tricky, and here’s some common scenarios and how to work your way through them.

Speed up data entry and validation with AutoComplete for dropdown lists in Excel for Windows

I’m trying not to make jokes here, but this is now trying to make Excel more like Microsoft Lists, and probably does it better than Microsoft Lists’ dropdown options. Only in the beta channel for Excel at this point in time.

Tips for task management across Microsoft

Confusing about when to use Microsoft To DoMicrosoft ProjectMicrosoft OutlookMicrosoft OfficeMicrosoft Teams, and Microsoft Loop for task management? So is everyone else, and this is a great rundown of what to use and when.

PowerBI: Screen scrape to Gorgeous Visual in 5 Easy Steps

Daniel Kim asks “Have you ever wanted to scrape data from a website and create a dashboard with the data?” and I hadn’t, but this still sounds pretty cool and I had no idea Power BI could do it.

How you can learn Python with this 11 part series

I’m not going to learn Python, but this is free learning content for anyone who does. Free!

Microsoft Sentinel – continuous threat monitoring for GitHub

Sentinel is kicking goals as a very good SIEM solution. Now it can monitor GitHub for suspicious activities. If you’ve got Sentinel and GitHub, connect these two up!

Introducing MTA-STS for Exchange Online

This is something for Exchange Online admins to look into – a new security standard which is already on, and is designed to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks. Read up on this one.

That’s it for this week, as always you can see the entire feed of TechCommunity posts at and you can see my previous TechCommunnity picks here