Restoring the Lync 2013 Interface After the Skype Upgrade

Richard Buckminster Fuller


During the month of April, Microsoft released an update for Lync 2013 that, among other things, re-brands it as “Skype for Business“.

Although these are essentially the same product, enterprise users may be inconvenienced and annoyed if documentation, training and related effort have gone into instructing  everyone how to use ‘Lync‘, only to login and find themselves looking at software labeled Skype.

If this describes you, don’t panic; you can change the interface back to Lync 2013 using PowerShell.

The method is described in this Office Blog post.  To summarize, login to your Lync (or Skype) online tenant via remote PowerShell session and issue the following cmdlet string:

Grant-CsClientPolicy -PolicyName ClientPolicyDisableSkypeUI

This disables the Skype user interface for your users.  Note that users will first login to the Skype for Business interface and then be prompted to restart.  After the restart, the Lync 2013 UI will return.


Managing Licenses in Office 365


As I mentioned earlier, managing licenses in Office 365 is an art unto itself.

Here’s one of Microsoft’s guides to account and license management which provides a solid overview (including a listing of the license types and their supported features).

This post is a description of one approach: specifically, the one I took to reduce the license count of the enterprise Office 365 tenant I manage. It’s certainly not the only way to go about this but it worked rather well for my situation.

Lets’ review the basic steps I outlined in the previous post:


  • [You need] A method for gathering in-depth information about the status of user accounts (i.e., active vs. inactive, license type used, etc.) I’ve found Cogmotivediscussed in this post -to be invaluable although you can also use the Active and inactive mailbox report available from the Office 365 portal or by using PowerShell
  • Good familiarity with PowerShell (really key to managing large groups of accounts in an intelligent way)
  • An agreed upon workflow for un-licensing and removing dormant or terminated accounts in a timely way

Applying this to my situation, here’s what I did:

Using the Cogmotive reporting interface, I generated output listing users who hadn’t logged into Office 365 for 90 days.  This was downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet which could be parsed to extract just the information needed (for example, user principal name).

With this data, I was able to create a listing of user principal names against which I could run these simple PowerShell scripts –

Place the dormant accounts on hold (to preserve mailbox data):

GC your-csv-file.txt | % {Set-Mailbox $_ -LitigationHoldEnabled $true –LitigationHoldDuration 30}

Remove the Office 365 accounts’ license to remove the mailbox (with a built-in 30 day grace period):

GC your-csv-file.txt | % {Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName $_ -RemoveLicenses youroffice365-domain:ENTERPRISEWITHSCAL}

A few notes:

The PowerShell scripts use the get-content switch (shortened to GC) to examine a CSV file.  The CSV file, whose contents were extracted from the Cogmotive report I mentioned earlier, consists entirely of a simple listing of user principal names (email addresses) piped into the cmdlet strings.

The license type shown in the above scripts – ENTERPRISEWITHSCAL – is the PowerShell (MSOL) label for E4 Plan licenses.  This Windows IT Pro article is a good review of the various license types and how they’re labeled within PowerShell.

Accounts that are not used by people (for example, service accounts) may appear on the dormant account list because of infrequent use or because they’re never directly – or interactively – logged into. Pay special attention to this when you’re creating your CSV file to avoid inadvertently disabling an account that’s in-use (and perhaps critical to some function).

If you discover that one of the accounts you un-licensed should be active, don’t panic; you can recreate the account’s mailbox within 30 days by simply re-applying its license.

This can be done using the Office 365 web portal or with PowerShell:

For a group of users (once again, from a CSV source file) –

GC your-csv-file.txt | % {Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName $_ -AddLicenses youroffice365-domain:ENTERPRISEWITHSCAL}

For a single user –

Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName -AddLicenses youroffice365-domain:ENTERPRISEWITHSCAL

And remember that the license type you apply may vary.



Office 365: A Quick PowerShell Reference Guide

Harold Llyod Safety Last

Without a doubt, the most powerful way to manage Office 365 is with remote PowerShell.

I’ve collected some of the most useful cmdlets into an ebook called Office 365: Quick PowerShell Reference Guide.

This short book is by no means a comprehensive guide to everything you can accomplish managing Office 365 with PowerShell. For that, I suggest books such as “Microsoft Office 365 Administration Inside Out” by Anthony Puca which is quite good, if a little dated.

Another excellent resource is Microsoft’s TechNet article, Getting started with Windows PowerShell in Office 365


This is a collection of (mostly) related actions I’ve taken to fulfill specific administrative and reporting tasks and assembled into a living document that will grow as time goes by.

Content will be updated on an almost weekly basis and made available at the book’s blog site.

How should you use this book?

Think of it as a handy guide to some of the most common PowerShell-related things you’ll be asked to do, particularly by managers who need information about how your organization’s Office 365 investment is being used.

Although the Office 365 web portal is a fairly powerful and useful tool, PowerShell is, without a doubt the most powerful tool for configuring, managing and generating reports from your Office 365 tenant. By mastering PowerShell – or at least, achieving a high level of competence – you will enhance your marketability and gain greater insight into how Microsoft’s premier Software as a Service platform functions.

Hopefully, you’ll find this book a solid addition to your Office 365 reference library.

Available within Amazon’s Kindle store now!

Office 365: An Interface Guide


Last time, we started a review of license management in Office 365.

I’ll definitely be getting back to that topic in my next post but before then I wanted to announce an upcoming book – Office 365: An Interface Guide.

What’s the book about?  This:



Office 365’s web-based management portal is deceptively simple but actually contains multiple layers of complexity. The interface guide will walk you through each element, providing descriptions of the portal’s various elements so you’ll be able to more easily find exactly what your looking for.

Coming soon to Amazon’s Kindle Store!

Book Cover for Blog