Office 365 – Outlook Profiles in a Cutover Migration

One of the drawbacks of performing a cutover migration from an On Premise Exchange environment to Office 365 is that Outlook profiles must be recreated to connect to the Office 365 servers. If done manually on every single workstation in your company, this could be a very time consuming process as you would have to create a new profile, set it as the default and configure it for the user.

One way of automating some of this process is to use Group Policy to run a script to create a new, blank Outlook profile and set it as the default profile. The user will then be presented with the first time profile setup screen when opening Outlook and should be able to use Autodiscover to automagically find their new Office 365 profile settings:

Outlook New Profile SetupOutlook Configure Profile

Outlook Profile Complete

To create the batch file required to do this, copy and paste the following text into a file and save it as a .bat file:

For Office 2010:

reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\O365"
reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles" /v DefaultProfile /t REG_SZ /d "O365" /F
reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options" /v PickLogonProfile /t REG_DWORD /d "0" /f

For Office 2013:

reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Profiles\O365
reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook" /v DefaultProfile /t REG_SZ /d "O365" /F

The script will create a new profile called O365 and set it as the default profile. Create a new Group Policy object to run the .bat file in Group Policy Preferences. You can safely leave the GPO in place for a few days to allow for people who may not be in the office for your go live day as it will not overwrite or remove existing profiles.

When this process in used in conjunction with the Group Policy for controlling Autodiscover (http://doubledit.co.uk/2014/10/21/controlling-autodiscovery-using-group-policy/) you can have a 80% automated cutover migration which should be smooth sailing for yourself and your users!

Thanks to my colleague Kevin for sharing his experiences and allowing me to blog about this.

9 thoughts on “Office 365 – Outlook Profiles in a Cutover Migration

  1. Jake says:

    Hello David,

    Great article, exactly what I’ve been looking for.

    I have one question, when you apply the .bat gpo, should this be a computer policy applied at start up or a user policy applied at login?

    Like

  2. Bob says:

    Hi mate,

    Great article – going through the motions right now and this has *almost* hit the nail on the head.
    My question is: how can I differentiate between computers that have Office 2010, or Office 2013 installed, without running both registry edits? ie. machines with Office 2010 will only run the Office 2010 batch, and machines with Office 2013 will only run the Office 2013 batch

    Regards,

    David

    Like

    • Hi, maybe you have some security groups to apply the different policies to? An office 2010 security group and a office 2013 one? Otherwise you would have to create a new script which checks the outlook version, and then applies the correct registry fix. Here shouldn’t be any adverse effects of running both, but maybe do some testing first to confirm!

      David

      Like

    • You can add some if-then logic to test for which version and execute appropriate commands based on installed version. Simple way is to use the if exist and test for existence of the program files under appropriate version folder.

      Like

  3. bicky says:

    Hi,
    When same user log off and logon back, the logon script policy will re-apply again, does this mean the user has to go through the Outlook first time profile setup again ?

    Like

    • Hi there!

      The answer to your question is no. as a profile with the specified name already exists, it will not repeat the first time experience again after it has run once 🙂

      Like

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