Running the new Office 365 Hybrid Configuration Wizard

As you all know, the latest Hybrid Configuration Wizard now runs from O365 irrespective of the previous versions of Exchange where HCW is embedded with the on-prem product. With this addition you will get the latest wizard every time you download it, which means that  you don’t have to wait for the next CU to resolve issues with the current HCW.

I recently updated my Exchange 2013 SP1 to CU16 and is about to run the new wizard:

First, I have to enable Exchange Hybrid on the on-prem server.

You will be asked to log in to your O365 tenant.

The wizard will redirect to O365 sign in page.

Once logged in, click on Enable again and a new tab will open with the link to download the HCW.

Download and run the HCW tool.

Below is the launch page of the Office 365 HCW. Click Next to proceed.

The HCW detects the optimal on-prem server to be the Hybrid Server (in this case, its the Ex 2013 server). You can also manually select a server of your choice. Also specify the type of O365 Organization. Click Next.

Next you have to provide your windows and Office 365 tenant credentials. Once done, click Next to proceed.


In next stage, the wizard will gather and confirm the configuration information. Once the test is successful, click Next.

The wizard will ask how the hybrid environment has to be configured for mail flow. If your organization uses Edge servers, you may have to select the second option.

Click on the Advanced button to list additional features. You will then see a check box that says ‘Enable centralized mail transport‘, the description also provides information about what this feature does. If you enable this, all your e-mail flow will happen through the on-prem environment. Once the options are selected, click on Next.

Choose the on-prem Exchange server that should host the receive connector for secure mail transport. Click Next.

Now, choose the on-prem Mailbox server that should host the send connector for secure mail transport. Click Next.

Select the transport certificate to be used for secured mail flow trusted by an external CA. Click Next.

Specify your Organization FQDN for mail flow. Click Next.

Make sure your external URL’s are configured on all virtual directories prior to running the HCW. Click Next.

Since, I already have an Exchange 2010 SP3 Hybrid in place the wizard detects the same and asks to update the configuration. Click Update.

The configuration starts as shown below. Click Stop to cancel.

The HCW process completes. If any configurations are pending it will be shown as below. In this case, my endpoint (Exchange 2010 hybrid server) is offline due to which the notification was received.

The server was turned on and DNS records were confirmed. On re-running the HCW, no issues were reported indicating that procedure completed successfully.



Disable Clutter folder in Office 365

Office 365 has added a new feature called Clutter starting from June 2015. A new folder called Clutter will be available, if you have an Exchange Online mailbox. It performs intelligent email filtering and based on the behavior of an individual, moves low priority mails to this folder.

You can see it as a great feature, at the same time some people feel it is unnecessary. This blog post hence will describe how to disable the clutter folder or de-clutter your inbox.. 🙂

For an individual, this can be achieved through your OWA settings. Once logged into OWA, select Options -> Mail -> Clutter.

If clutter is enabled, you will see the below screen


You can just un-check the above boxes and save the settings to disable this feature.

A point to be noted, even-though you disable the feature, the clutter folder still remains in your mailbox and all the mails which were previously in this folder will remain there itself. Since you disabled the feature, new mails wont be moved to this folder. 

An administrator can disable a user’s clutter folder through PowerShell as follows:

Set-Clutter -Identity -Enable $false

In order to globally disable the clutter feature, use the below cmdlet [this may consume some time]:

Get-Mailbox | Set-Clutter -Enable $false

Administrators at some point may have to disable this feature for a certain set of people in your organization, based on some parameters or attributes. For example, the Company attribute. In that case you can use the below cmdlets

For simplicity, we can assign all the user mailboxes in Contoso company to a variable and then call the variable and disable clutter.

$contosousers=Get-Recipient -filter {company -eq “Contoso”} | where {$_.recipienttype -eq “usermailbox”}

In the next step, execute

$contosousers | Set-Clutter -Enable $false

This may also take some time depending on the number of mailboxes.

Recovering a mailbox in an Exchange Hybrid Environment

In an hybrid environment a user account can be of two types:

a) User account which is managed in Cloud

b) User account which is synced from on-premise Active Directory

In the first case, if the user account and its corresponding mailbox is deleted [Soft Delete], it can be restored from O365 itself from Deleted Users section. By default, the retention period configured for an Exchange online mailbox is 14 days. You can extend this up to a maximum of 30 days.

To check the configured retention period through Exchange Online PowerShell use the cmdlet : Get-Mailbox | FL RetainDeletedItemsFor

To change the retention period value to a max of 30 days use : Set-Mailbox -Identity “Name” -RetainDeletedItemsFor 30

However, in the latter case if the user account and its corresponding mailbox is deleted, the user account should be restored in the on-premises AD first. The mailbox will automatically re-attach later after directory synchronization.

In the scenario we are about to discuss, we will be merging the contents a disconnected mailbox to a new mailbox in Exchange Online. So lets start:

We have a disconnected source mailbox in Exchange Online now. A new AD user account and remote mailbox was provisioned. This will be the target mailbox.

Note:- You may think that instead of provisioning a new mailbox, we could have attached the disconnected mailbox to the new AD account. But it does not work that way, because the GUID of the old account will be different from the one created now and will result in issues.

  • The next step is to identify the GUID of the soft-deleted mailbox and the target mailbox. For this you will have to connect to Exchange Online through PowerShell first. You can refer here to connect to Exchange Online.

Once connected use the following cmdlet:

For soft-deleted mailbox, Get-Mailbox -SoftDeletedMailbox -Identity “Name” | fl

For target mailbox, Get-MailboxStatistics -Identity “Name” | fl

  • Now, run the cmdlet to restore the mailbox : New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceMailbox “GUID” -TargetMailbox “GUID”

You can also restore the archive mailboxes : New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceMailbox “GUID” -SourceIsArchive -TargetMailbox “GUID” -TargetIsArchive

If you need to restore both regular mailbox and archive, run both the commands one after the other.

Reference :

PowerShell commands to connect to Exchange Online

As more and more businesses are moving to Office 365 for email, IM etc managing their respective service lines is a day to day task for an IT Engineer. Similar to managing your environment through the Office 365 portal, admins also use PowerShell for more flexibility every now and then. In order to perform any complex admin tasks on Exchange Online, admins need to connect to their O365 tenant. The below commands can help you achieve the same :

$UserCredential = Get-Credential

Click Enter Key after the above command. You will be asked to supply your O365 tenant credentials.


$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Import-PSSession $Session

The modules will be loaded and you will be connected to Exchange Online.