Friday, 28 September 2018
Controlling access to the Outlook on the Web Beta Experience
Exchange Online customers are now having users being asked to trial the new Beta experience for the service once more. But what happens if this causes confusion in the work-place and introduces higher help desk calls? What happens if you are the IT Administrative function and you want to control when this experience is rolled out to your users?
Well the good news is we can control it with Outlook Web App policies and some Powershell..
Users are now getting asked to trial the new experience in the upper right area of their Outlook on the Web experience as Microsoft has pretty much rolled this out to all tenants in Office 365. Users will have been accustomed to the below experience for quite some time
The new 'beta' experience, introduces a look and feel that is almost exactly what consumer users of Outlook.com have been experiencing for the last 6 months.
We can control this by removing the option to users by utilising Powershell and editing the default Outlook Web App mailbox policy or creating a new one and assigning it to users. You may even have multiple policies already in place and need to make multiple changes. Here's what a user logged into Outlook on the Web looks like with the option removed.
So why do we need to use Powershell to modify this feature? This is because you cannot control the Outlook Beta Experience in the Exchange Administrative Center - the feature control isn't there.
So open a Powershell connection to your Exchange Online tenant and let's use Get-OwaMailboxPolicy to check the policies you have in-place. You will most likely just have the default policy, unless you have created additional ones in the past.
We're specifically looking for 'OutlookBetaToggleEnabled'
If you want to make the change against the default policy simply utilise this command
Set-OwaMailboxPolicy -Identity OwaMailboxPolicy-default -OutlookBetaToggleEnabled $false
And that's it we're done. If you have multiple policies in play then make sure you do it for each, or if you want to control roll out you can create a new policy with the feature disabled, then set it to specific users using the Set-CasMailbox cmdlet. For example:
Set-CASmailbox -Identity firstname.lastname@example.org -OwaMailboxPolicy "Policy Here"
Don't forget though, this change is coming and will wholly affect Kiosk and F1 plan users - so don't remove the feature and forget about it. Utilise this to control the experience whilst you inform users of the change.
Until next time,