Tag Archives: Outlook

Office 365 Groups not showing up in Outlook 2016

I have had this annoying issue with Office 365 Groups (Groups, not Teams). In our IT team we have several Office 365 Groups. Some users do see these groups in Outlook 2016 almost immediately, other users do not see anything (I’m in this group). When I select Browse Office 365 Groups in Outlook, I see an error message saying We can’t show you group right now. Make sure Outlook is connected and try again as shown in the following screenshot:

we cant show you right now

In Office 365 Teams there are the HiddenFromExchangeClients and HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled properties (see the Hiding Office 365 Groups Created by Teams from Exchange Clients article from Tony Redmond for more information) , but this is only Office 365 Groups and not an Office 365 Team. And both properties are set to FALSE, so this is not the case.

I am using Office 365 ProPlus Click-to-Run which checks Exchange Online first for Autodiscover purposes, but then I realized I had been experimenting with some registry keys to change Autodiscover behavior. When checking the registry, I found the ExcludeExplicitO365Endpoint DWORD set to 1 as shown in the following screenshot:

ExcludeExplicitO365Endpoint

So, Autodiscover checks on-premises Exchange server and is redirected to Office 365 for Exchange Online information. Unfortunately, this does not retrieve any information regarding Office 365 groups. After changing this value to ‘0’, Autodiscover starts with Office 365 and does retrieve the correct Office 365 Groups information.

Related to this, there are also scenarios where Outlook does not detect Office 365 groups using Autodiscover where the (primary) SMTP address of the Office 365 group is not correct. For example, where the SMTP address of the group is (for example) IT-Calendar@contoso.com. You can change the primary address of the group using the following command in Exchange Online PowerShell:

Set-UnifiedGroup Alias -PrimarySmtpAddress IT-Calendar@contoso.mail.onmicrosoft.com

Or when you want to add the SMTP address as a secondary address:

Set-UnifiedGroup IT-Calendar -EmailAddresses @{add="it-calendar@contoso.mail.onmicrosoft.com"}

This should also solve the problem.

Basic Authentication in Office 365 Part I

 

Update. Microsoft has changed their plans due to the Covid-19 crisis going on at the moment. Support for Basic Authentication in Exchange Online has been postponed to the second half of 2021 according to their blogpost on Basic Authentication and Exchange Online – April 2020 Update.

There are a few things to be aware of. For new tenants, Basic Authentication is already turned off, for older tenants it is still turned on. However, if Basic Authentication has not been used in a tenant it will be turned off as well. This will start upcoming October.

Microsoft will stop support for basic authentication in October 2020 as outlined in the following blogpost: Basic Auth and Exchange Online – February 2020 Update. By doing this Microsoft increases security in (especially) Exchange Online, since basic authentication is a perfect attack vector for malicious users.

But what does it mean? Clients that use Exchange Web Services (EWS), ActiveSync, PowerShell, POP3 and IMAP4 and authenticate using basic authentication will stop working. Which clients are we talking about? Basic authentication only stops for Exchange Online and not for Exchange on-premises, but what happens when you are using a hybrid scenario? Of using Outlook for iOS in combination with an on-premises mailbox.

In this blogpost I’ll try to dive a bit deeper into authentication and explain what is going to happen.

Basic Authentication

Basic Authentication is one of the oldest ways of authenticating in any web application. You access an application, a dialog box is presented, you enter your credentials and the credentials are sent (in clear text) across the wire. To improve security typically an SSL connection is used, so the connection between the client and the server is encrypted.

For Exchange Online this means the (Outlook) client sends it credentials in clear text to Exchange Online, and Exchange Online authenticates against Azure AD as shown in the following screenshot:

When using ADFS, basic authentication is not very different. The client authenticates and sends the credentials in clear text to Exchange Online, and Exchange Online takes care of the remaining communication using ADFS and the on-premises Domain Controllers (step 2 and 3 in the following screenshot):

Important to note is that the client here still use basic authentication.

So what clients are using basic authentication? Outlook 2010 is the most common, but also lots of ActiveSync clients, POP3 and IMAP4 clients, PowerShell and Exchange Web Services (scripts and tools!) are still using basic authentication.

I leave it up to your imagination what will happen when Microsoft stops support for basic authentication (step 1 in the screenshots above) this October!

Modern Authentication

Modern authentication is a token-based authentication mechanism and as such it has similarities with federation services. On IT Dev Connections 2017 in San Francisco I did a presentation on this subject. The following screenshot is an animated slide from the presentation showing the authentication flow between a client, Exchange Online, Azure AD and the on-premises Domain Controller:

Modern Authentication is based on the OAuth2 framework. When using OAuth2, you grant permissions to an application (‘consent’) to contact the server on your behalf. The client contacts the server the first time and you enter your credentials in a web frame, this is a server-based web frame and when the credentials are entered two tokens are generated:

  • Access token, which is used to access various services.
  • Refresh token, which is used to renew the access token when it is about to expire.

This is shown in the following image:

Source: Authorize access to Azure Active Directory web applications using the OAuth 2.0 code grant flow.

The access token is constantly renewed (and thus no need to re-authenticate manually) until it cannot be renewed, for example when the password expires, the account is blocked (the access token is revoked) or when a Conditional Access policy can no longer be applied. In all these scenarios access to the service is denied.

Outlook 2013 and higher support Modern Authentication. In Outlook 2013 you had to set some registry keys, but in Outlook 2016 and higher it is enabled by default.

The way to identify if you are using modern authentication is the HTML based login screen which look like this:

While the basic authentication (in Exchange 2016, but similar in Outlook 2010) looks like:

Another way to identify Modern Authentication is to use the connection status in Outlook:

When you see ‘Bearer’ (coming from OAuth bearer token) Outlook is using Modern Authentication, if you see ‘Clear’ then basic authentication is used by Outlook.

Summary

In this first part I have tried to explain the difference between basic authentication and modern authentication, how modern authentication works and how to identify which authentication method your Outlook client is using.

In my next blog (Part II) I will explain more about how to monitor basic authentication and how to start testing what happens when disabling basic authentication.

Autodiscover in an Exchange interorg migration with Quest QMM

Outlook clients get their configuration information using the Autodiscover protocol from the Exchange server where their mailbox resides and the underlying Active Directory. This works fine, until you are in an interorg migration scenario using the Quest Migration Manager (QMM) for Exchange.

When using Microsoft tools (ADMT, Prepare-MoveRequest.ps1 and New-MoveRequest) the source Mailbox in Exchange is converted to a Mail-Enabled user at the moment of migration finalization. At the same moment the Mail-Enabled User property targetAddress is stamped with the SMTP address of the Mailbox in the new forest. SMTP works fine now, and also Autodiscover will follow the SMTP domain that’s in the targetAddress property. This is true for an interorg migration on-premises, but it is also true when moving Mailboxes from Exchange on-premises to Exchange Online in a hybrid scenario.

When using Quest tooling things are a bit different. The source Mailbox is not converted to a Mail-Enabled User, but it continues to exist at a regular Mailbox. The Outlook profile on the desktop is converted using the CPUU tool using local Autodiscover.xml files so that the Outlook client no longer connects to the old Mailbox but to the new Mailbox.

This works fine for the existing client, but when a user gets a new laptop, or has to configure the Outlook profile again, Outlook will use the Autodiscover process and thus connect to the old Mailbox. Since this isn’t converted to a Mail-Enabled User, Outlook will find the (old) Mailbox, it will stop searching (and thus will not follow the targetAddress property) and return the configuration information for the old Mailbox.

To fix this, we have to export the Autodiscover information from the new Exchange organization to the old organization. I found an old blogpost written by Andread Kapteina (Senior Consultant at Microsoft) in the Google cache (since his blogs no longer exist at the Microsoft Technet Site) about this scenario in an interorg Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 migration, but I found that it is also valid in an interorg Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2016 migration. And it should be valid in every interorg Exchange migration from Exchange 2007 and higher.

Export-AutodiscoverConfig

To export the Autodiscover configuration from the new Exchange 2016 to the old Exchange 2013 organization, execute the following commands on the Exchange 2016 server:

$OldCred = Get-Credential OldForest\administrator
Export-AutodiscoverConfig -DomainController <NewForestFQDN> -TargetForestDomainController <OldForestFQDN> -TargetForestCredential $OldCred -MultipleExchangeDeployments $true

The -MultiplExchangeDeployments options should be set to $true since both forests contain an Exchange organization.

The Exchange Management Shell does not report anything back, so no need to show it here 😊

When we look in the AD Configuration container we can now see two SCP records:

  • One record can be found under CN=Services, CN=Microsoft Exchange, CN=<Organization>, CN=Administrative Groups, CN=Exchange Adminstrative Groups (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT), CN=Servers, CN=<ServerName>, CN=Protocols, CN=Autodiscover, CN=<ServerName>. This will contain the regular SCP information that Outlook needs to connect to the existing Exchange organization to retrieve its information.
  • The second record can be found under CN=Services, CN=Microsoft Exchange Autodiscover, CN=<FQDN of new Forest>. This will contain information regarding the target (i.e. new Exchange 2016) forest that the Outlook needs for migrated Mailboxes.
    This second record can be seen in the following screenshot:

CN=Microsoft Exchange Autodiscover

The keywords property of the SCP record contains the Accepted Domains of the new Exchange 2016 organization, like Exchangefun.nl, Corporate.Exchangefun.nl and target.qmm (the Quest target domain). This means when a new Accepted Domain is added to Exchange 2016, the Export-AutodiscoverConfig command needs to be run again.

The serviceBindingInformation property contain an LDAP link to the Exchange 2016 forest where Outlook clients can find information from the migrated Mailboxes.

Granting permissions

To avoid issues with Outlook clients of not migrated Mailboxes (that need to retrieve information from the old Exchange 2013 organization) we have to hide the exported SCP for these users. At the same time, we have to hide the original SCP record in Exchange 2013 for Mailboxes that have been migrated to Exchange 2016 (and where Outlook should NEVER receive old Exchange 2013 information).

To achieve this, create a Universal Security Group with a name like “Migrated_Users”, remove the Authenticated Users group from the exported SCP and grant the Migrated_Users Security Group Read permissions on this object as shown in the following screen shot:

Remove Authenticated Users

At the same time we have to grant an explicit deny Read permission to the Migrated_Users Security Group on the original SCP record as shown in the following screenshot:

Explicit Deny

Summary

Now when a Mailbox is migrated using QMM and the CPUU tool, add the user to the Migrated_Users Security Group. At this moment its Outlook client will no longer find the original (Exchange 2013) SCP record but the exported SCP record. Outlook will then connect to the target Active Directory forest with Exchange 2016 and retrieve the correct information.

Note. It took us quite some time when testing this scenario with different versions of Outlook (2010, 2013 and 2016) but the scenario explained here turned out to be working fine with these versions. But please test in your own test environment with various clients as well.

More information

 

SSL Certificate warning during or after Exchange server setup

When installing a new Exchange server (2013/2016/2019) in an existing environment, Microsoft recommends installing this new Exchange server in a separate Active Directory site, configure the server there and then move the server to its production Active Directory site.

The reason for this is Outlook and the Service Connection Point (SCP) in Active Directory. Somewhere during the installation process a new SCP is created in Active Directory, but when created it is not configured and points to the FQDN of the Exchange server instead of the more general Autodiscover.contoso.com/Autodiscover/Autodiscover.xml URL. When an Outlook client accidentally discovers this unconfigured SCP it will try to connect to the new server instead of the Autodiscover FQDN which will result in a certificate warning message similar to the following:

image404

To avoid this, the SCP should be configured as soon as it is created in Active Directory (and this is during setup itself).

Tony Murray, also an MVP, has written a PowerShell script (Set-AutodiscoverSCPValue.ps1) that will check the existence of the Exchange server object in Active Directory, and when it is created by the Exchange setup application, it immediately sets the correct Autodiscover value in its SCP.

When you run the script it will check every 5 seconds (time is configurable) for the newly created server object, and when it finds it, it will set the correct value as shown in the following screenshot:

set-AutodiscoverSCPValue

From this moment on Outlook client can safely discover this SCP record, and it will be automatically connected to the correct Autodiscover URL and therefore the SSL Certificate warning will not appear (assuming the original servers are configured correctly of course).

More information and download – https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/office/set-autodiscoverserviceinte-3930e163

The Microsoft Exchange administrator has made a change…

Recently I had to upgrade an Exchange 2013 platform from CU2 to CU5, there were four Exchange 2013 Client Access servers and eight Exchange 2013 Mailbox servers (in a DAG).

During the upgrade of the Mailbox servers users were presented with the dreaded “The Microsoft Exchange administrator has made a change that requires you quit and restart Outlook.” dialog box.

image

Continue reading The Microsoft Exchange administrator has made a change…