Things To Know About The New Microsoft Teams

Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Teams at an event in New York back in November 2016. This is an Office 365 component that adds a group chat tool to the pre existing office suite.

Teams is a competitor to Slack. This web-based software pulls together messaging, archived content and search capabilities.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described it as a “chat-based workspace” – so Teams combines informal chatting and productive collaboration. The app combines the online Office applications, Skype, Exchange servers, Azure, security and more, all in one piece of software.

It’s a lot like Slack

When viewing demos or screenshots of Microsoft Teams, you could be forgiven for confusing it with a new version of Slack. The user interfaces look extremely similar, and it uses the same general “channels” and individual/small group chat design language.

It’s a free add-on for Office 365 enterprise subscribers

Teams isn’t exactly free, but if your organization is already an Office 365 subscriber it won’t cost anything additional. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’ll just pop up on your desktop the day it launches. Like any Office component, it’ll be up to your company’s IT department whether or not to deploy it to users in the organisation.

Teams brings together the following 3 components that are essential in any collaborative effort:

Chat

Microsoft Teams is, at its base, a chat-centered team workspace that’s easy to set up. Once your team is on board (and you can have multiple, different teams), you’ll have different channels within the teams for specific conversation topics. What’s more, you can even chat with members individually. Not only can you like posts, mention people, reply directly to posts, and even save posts, you can also post in rich text formats (including subject lines, bullet points, images, etc.). The addition of emoticons, gifs, and stickers make this platform a friendly, informal way for teams to chat. It makes it a much more personal and enjoyable experience than having a bland email chain.

Files

Teams is based on Office 365 Groups. Every time you make a team, it syncs and creates a group in SharePoint Team Sites. This allows Microsoft Teams to easily integrate to OneNote, Planner, Exchange Calendar, and all sorts of files to make sharing within your team the simplest it can be. Let’s say you share a file in a channel with your team. That file will automatically be uploaded to a folder specific to that channel. The folder contains all the uploaded files of that channel, and can easily be found in Teams for later use.

Meetings

With the simple click of a button, within the chat itself, you and your team can have an audio or video meeting. Not only can you schedule these meetings, you can make them happen with no preparation by clicking the button, and having whoever is available join. Since Teams is a flexible app, you can just as easily do this from your desktop or your mobile. You and your teammates can easily share notes and files during the meeting as well. Once the meeting is over, you can find a record of it saved in the chat history for future reference.

Now that you have read all of this, lets have a look in the video below:

 

Sharing files & folders in SharePoint & OneDrive

This is a first post in a while, hopefully I will be posting more content as the year goes on focusing on Office 365 and Azure.

For now, as more and more people move over to SharePoint i get asked how can I share my content with people who don’t necessarily work in my organisation, so hopefully the steps below will help answer this question.

Sharing files and folders in SharePoint Online / OneDrive Online couldn’t be easier. The process is similar in both products so from this point on, I will refer to both products as ‘OneDrive’.

Here’s a few key features of File Sharing in OneDrive;

  • Share files within your organisation and external users
  • Control who can view or edit the shared files
  • Work together in real time (also referred to as Co-Authoring)

File Sharing

  1. Go to OneDrive for Business or the site library that has the file you want to share.

  2. Right-click the file you want to share, and then select Get a link. If you don’t see Get a link, click Share, and then click Get a link.

    Screenshot of Sharing a document by using Get a link

Choose the type of link you want to create.

Screenshot of choosing a link

Links for internal sharing:

  • Edit link – account required After they sign in, people in your organization can edit, copy, or download the file.

  • View link – account required After they sign in, people in your organization can view, copy, or download the file.

Guest links:

  • Edit link – no sign-in required People outside your organization can edit the file and may also be able to copy and download the file. People may need to sign in with a Microsoft account to copy or download the file.

  • View link – no sign-in required People outside your organization can view the file and may also be able to copy and download the file. People may need to sign in with a Microsoft account to copy or download the file.

  1. If guest access is disabled, you’ll see only account required options.

  2. If you choose a no sign-in required link and you want to set the link to expire, click Set expiration, and then choose how long before the link expires, such as 30 days. Account required links don’t expire and there’s no option to set an expiration for those links.

    Screenshot of Setting an Expiration for a guest link

  3. Click Copy to copy the link to the clipboard.

  4. Paste the link into an email and send it or post it on a website for the people you want share with.

I hope this was easy enough to follow, if you have any questions please drop me a line.

Office 365 Hybrid – Federation Configuration Issues

Recently I have been faced with an issue for one of our customers running MS Windows Small Business Server 2011 – Exchange 2010 SP3.

When running the Hybrid Configuration wizard I got an error stating:
Unable to access the Federation Metadata document from the federation partner. Detailed information: “The remote server returned an error: (407) Proxy Authentication Required.”

This happened on the initial phase of the Hybrid config wizard which actually is an attempt to create a federation trust with the MS Federation Gateway.

I checked the IE settings and removed the proxy settings and tried again. Same thing. Not surprising really – Exchange uses the system account which would ignore IE settings. I turned to ‘netsh’ to see what settings the system account would use.

Run from a command prompt: netsh winhttp show proxy

This came back as ‘DIRECT’.
For good measure, I ran ‘netsh winhttp reset proxy
No difference.

The customer did have a proxy – I could have just configured the system to use the proxy with another netsh command (‘netsh winhttp import proxy source=ie’), however Exchange won’t allow this if your proxy requires authentication which was the case. Why was I being forced through the proxy?

I checked one last place using the Exchange Management Shell:

Get-ExchangeServer ‘SERVER’ |ft InternetWebProxy

This came back blank. There was surely no other place where a proxy could be specified?

Not quite – apparently the SYSTEM account will always attempt to use WPAD (Windows Proxy Auto Discovery). Surely nobody uses this anymore? WRONG! This particular customer so happened to have it configured.

Easy way to get rid of it? Simply disable the service (by default it sits in a manual startup mode).

After disabling WPAD, I restarted the IIS service (the w3wp process is responsible for performing the Hybrid Configuration wizard task) but this didn’t quite fix it. It looks like the proxy settings get cached – after a server reboot the problem was resolved.

I did also contact MS support to resolve this, but they drew a dead end.. they asked me to reapply service packs, check to make sure my internet connection was not filtered and there were no firewall rules blocking access.. this will be going down in my notes as one to remember.

Exchange Distribution Group Members

A task that I am often required to do is to provide information about who is a member of what distribution group in Exchange.

Below is a PowerShell snippet that you must run in the Exchange Management Shell to pull out all the required Distributions groups and the members:

foreach ($group in Get-DistributionGroup) { get-distributiongroupmember $group | ft @{expression={$_.displayname};Label=”$group”} | Out-File c:\temp\DistributionListMembers.txt -append}

 

The output looks something like this:
Info
—-
User1
User2
User3

Technicians
———–
Technician1

 

Exchange 2010–Office 365 Hybrid Setup – Remote Powershell

Recently I have been getting issues with performing a hybrid configuration from an on premise Exchange 2010 Server running the latest services packs and meeting all the required pre requisites to perform a Hybrid configuration to Office 365.

One of the first steps is to connect your on Premise exchange server to Office 365 using remote PowerShell, following the how to guide it tells you to connect to the following URI in the command below:

$session = new-pssession -configurationname microsoft.exchange -connectionuri https//ps.outlook.com/powershell/ -credential $o365cred -authentication basic

When you run this command you will get the following error:

ps.outlook.com] The WinRM service cannot process the request because the request needs to be sent to a different machine. Use the redirect information to send the request to a new machine. Redirect location reported: https://ps.outlook.com/PowerShell-LiveID?PSVersion=2.0 . To automatically connect to the redirected URI, verify “MaximumConnectionRedirectionCount” property of session preference variable “PSSessionOption” and use “AllowRedirection” parameter on the cmdlet.+ CategoryInfo : OpenError: (System.Manageme….RemoteRunspace:RemoteRunspace) [], PSRemotingTransportRed
irectException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : PSSessionOpenFailed

After speaking with Microsoft I have identified the URI has changed to https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/

and the Powershell command is slightly different to include the –AllowRedirection as there are multiple servers to connect to.

The command that worked for me was the following:

$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Office 365 Credential Issues

If you’ve ever connected a workstation to Office 365 and then been constantly prompted for your credentials you know how frustrating it can be.  Have you ever checked that box in Outlook to “Remember Password” and then screamed in frustration as yet another logon prompt came up?

Below is a collection of sites that can help you troubleshoot issues logging into your Office 365 account.