Keep up to date with Office 365 IP Changes

It’s quite common for administrators to get caught out by IP changes in the Office 365 pool, and to find a service becoming intermittently inaccessible due to the addition of an IP address range to the pool of IPs used by an Office 365 service.

Microsoft publish an RSS feed to make this a bit easier for admins to follow, however I wanted to take this one step further.

Using Microsoft Flow (or IFTTT if that’s your bag), you can configure an event so that an update to an RSS feed prompts an action. That action could be to send an email, to update SharePoint or Yammer, or to update a Spreadsheet (amongst others). People consume information in many different ways, and this is one way to customise the delivery of this information to suit the way you work.

As an example, I want to send an email to myself every time a change is made to the Office 365 IP address RSS feed. To do this, I have logged into Microsoft Flow and have created a new Flow for myself.

The trigger event will be an RSS feed to look for changes to https://support.office.com/en-us/o365ip/rss

Microsoft Flow RSS Trigger

Microsoft Flow RSS Trigger

 

The action event will be to send an email through to me to warn me to update my firewall:

Microsoft Flow Send an Email

Microsoft Flow Send an Email

 

That’s all there is to it! You can choose any action you desire when an update is made to the RSS feed.

Hope this helps!

 

Public Folder Migration Fail #2

Another day, another Public Folder migration failure. This time, on testing your Public Folder migration to Office 365, they appear to be unavailable and are not visible in the Outlook client.

I always follow the wonderful guide provided by Microsoft on how to migrate your Public Folders from Exchange > Office 365 (I’m not being sarcastic, it is actually a good guide) available here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-GB/library/dn874017(v=exchg.150).aspx

The last two times I have run through this process, I have attempted to test the PF Migration on a single user prior to going live for all users. Microsoft suggest the following command for doing this:

Set-Mailbox -Identity <Test User> -DefaultPublicFolderMailbox <Public Folder Mailbox Identity>

However since the Exchange 2016 wave of Office 365 has gone live, this command no longer appears to have the desired effect. What seems to happen is that because the -IsExcludedFromServingHierarchy parameter is set to $true, the command does not fully enable the Public Folders for that user.

In both situations, I have taken the plunge and enabled Office 365 Public Folders for all users by running:

Get-Mailbox -PublicFolder | Set-Mailbox -PublicFolder -IsExcludedFromServingHierarchy $false

The end result (after a little patience) is that Public Folders become available for all users. I’m not sure if this is a general bug or a result of the Exchange 2016 backend of Office 365, but I’d be interested to hear your experiences!

 

Public Folder Migration Fail

The above title isn’t a surprise for anybody working in IT, but unusually for Public Folders, this one has a fairly simple fix!

The situation is thus; when attempting to complete a Public Folder migration to Office 365, you come across the following error:

Before finalizing the migration, it is necessary to lock down public folders on the legacy Exchange server (downtime required). Make sure public folder access is locked on the legacy Exchange server and then try to complete the batch again.

Public Folder migration error

The problem with this error is that you have already locked down Public Folders on the legacy Exchange Server by running:

Set-OrganizationConfig -PublicFoldersLockedForMigration:$true

So what’s an admin to do when they’ve already run the command they are being told needs to be run?! Some googling may lead you to the idea of rebooting the server, or restarting the Information Store. Both of these will work, but a much simpler solution is simply to dismount the Public Folder database/s, and then mount them. The PFs are already locked so are unavailable to the users so there is no negative impact of doing this.

TL;DR – turn it off, and turn it on again.

 

Office 365 PowerShell and Scheduled Tasks

There are many reasons why you might want to run PowerShell scripts against Office 365/Exchange Online on a schedule, so I won’t fuss with any examples. Here is how it is done.

First you must create an encoded script file which contains the password for the Exchange Online/Office 365 admin which you want to use to login. It is important that you create the .key file

a) on the computer which will be running the scheduled task
b) using the account which will run the Scheduled Task

This is because as only the creator can decrypt the .key file, and this can only be done on the computer which generated the key file. To create your encrypted password file, open Powershell and run the following command:

Read-Host "Enter Password" -AsSecureString |  ConvertFrom-SecureString | Out-File "C:\scripts\Password.txt"

This will ask you to enter the password and then give you a file full of rubbish. Now let’s do something with that rubbish! Your script to connect to Exchange Online and Office 365 should look like the following:

$TenantUname = "admin@myoffice365tenant.onmicrosoft.com"
$TenantPass = cat "c:\scripts\password.key" | ConvertTo-SecureString
$TenantCredentials = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -ArgumentList $TenantUname, $TenantPass
$msoExchangeURL = “https://ps.outlook.com/powershell/”
$session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri $msoExchangeURL -Credential $TenantCredentials -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection 
Import-PSSession $session
Connect-MSOLService -Credential $TenantCredentials

After these lines, add in the Powershell commands you wish to run, or a reference to a script. Save this as a .ps1 file.

For example, Clutter can’t be disabled for the whole tenancy, so to get around this I might want to disable clutter for all my users every night by adding this line to the end of my script:

Get-Mailbox -ResultSize Unlimited | Set-Clutter -Enable $false

Once you are all done with your script, open Task Scheduler and create a new task.

On the general tab, ensure that the user account being used to run the task is the same account which created the password file, and make sure the ‘Run whether user is logged on or not’ is ticked. Add whichever time based triggers you need, and on the Actions page choose to ‘Start a Program’ with the following settings:

Program/script: C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe
Add arguments: C:\Scripts\TestScript.ps1

Voila! You now have a script which uses an AES encrypted text file to connect to Exchange Online and Office 365 so that you can run your daily maintenance tasks from a single management server. Yay!

AADSync / AADConnect default Domain Controller

I came across an odd situation recently whereby my AADConnect installation had decided to communicate with a Domain Controller which was in another site, across an Active Directory replication link with a 180 minute replication interval. This was no good for my customer as they made their AD changes on the site local to AADConnect, so I decided to remedy this by forcing AADConnect to communicate with a particular DC. This can be useful for many reasons, and you can actually set a list of ‘preferred Domain Controllers’ to allow for fault tolerance.

To do this, go into the Synchronisation Service, head on over to the Connectors tab and find your Active Directory Domain Services Connector. The below example is synchronising multiple AD Forests. Once you’ve selected your domain, you can see which Domain Controller is currently in use by checking the ‘Connection Status’ area (shown in the central area of the below screenshot).

Synchronisation Service

To change the Domain Controller in use, go to the Properties tab for your domain (on the right hand ‘Actions’ pane). Go into the ‘Configure Directory Partitions’ tab and you will see a handy tick box entitled ‘Only use preferred domain controllers’.

AADConnect - Directory Partitions

Place a checkmark in this box, and a window will appear, allowing you to enter your shortlist of Domain Controllers.

AADConnect - Preferred DCs

Once you’ve entered your preferred DCs, OK your way out of these windows and hey presto, you are done! It’s a nice and easy task to perform, but not one I’ve seen documented online before.

Thanks for reading!

Setting the ImmutableID to $null

Here’s a small Friday afternoon snippet of useful information for all you Office 365/Identity nerds out there.

If you have converted an AAD user from ‘Synced with Active Directory’ to ‘In Cloud’ and you want to sync a new user object with that user, you will need to clear the ImmutableID and then match it up with the new user object. I’m planning on creating a more extensive post on that very subject in the near future, but for now, I’ll give you this titbit of information:

Clearing the ImmutableID is done using the Powershell command:

Set-MSOLUser -UserPrincipalName emily@misstech.co.uk -ImmutableID "$null"

You might think that those quote marks are a bit pointless, but you would be wrong! If you were to run the command as shown below, without the “” marks, it wouldn’t show you an error, but it also wouldn’t actually clear the ImmutableID.

Set-MSOLUser -UserPrincipalName emily@misstech.co.uk -ImmutableID $null

As with all things PowerShell, syntax is everything!

Shameless TechNet self promotion

I’ve just realised that I never shared this link. I wrote this technical piece for the TechNet UK Blog back in July 2015, and just thought I’d give it a bump. The subject matter is regarding the post-hybrid Office 365 landscape, and what you should be doing once you’ve migrated all your mailboxes (apart from get yourself an ‘I am a cloud god’ mug).

Office 365 – The Journey Continues