Tag Archives: Microsoft 365

PowerShell scripts for Microsoft 365 SharePoint

After many years working with SharePoint I wrote a lot of PowerShell scripts that help me support, troubleshoot, administer and secure SharePoint. So I’m sharing my scripts with you.

It’s here: https://github.com/VladilenK/Manage-m365-with-PowerShell

Manage result layouts for SharePoint results in Microsoft Search

Microsoft is improving Search (MC489165):

Manage result layouts for SharePoint results in Microsoft Search

We’re making changes to Microsoft Search. This update will allow Microsoft Search administrators to change result layouts for select SharePoint content using adaptive cards with Result Type feature in Microsoft Search administration.

The default result layouts for SharePoint sites, pages, list items and Portable document format (PDF) results can now be replaced with layouts built using adaptive cards. The changes can be made for Organization level search applicable to Office.com and SharePoint home as well as site level search on SharePoint sites. Changes for Microsoft Search in Bing will be rolled out soon. Note that the feature does not support changing of Office file search results.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 81952

Before the change, when you add a new result type under “Search and intelligence” Customizations – it looked like this:

result type content sources

So there was no built-in “SharePoint” content source as an option – only custom “external” data sources.

But with the new feature implemented list of content sources for the result type will look like this:

SharePoint and OneDrive content source

If you choose “SharePoint and OneDrive” content source – the next option would be to select type of content:

Select type of content and set rules

You also can create different result types for different types of content based on properties-based rules (e.g. one result type for all sites – and a separate result type for a specific site or hub) with optional “Set rules for this type of content”:

Default site result experience would look like

Search results with modified SharePoint result type might look like:

When you modify template via Layout Designer – it is essential to know available object properties.

You can get properties from the “Available properties” below – there is also search through properties feature.

Or you can use SharePoint Search Query Tool to get metadata on search results.

It might take hours and even days for your search to start showing new layouts, but “&cacheClear=true” should help.

DepartmentId 

If your sites are organized in hierarchy under Hub site – you can use DepartmentId managed property to include all hub-associated sites content

DepartmentId is just a hub site Id

… to be continued …

References

clearCache or cacheClear

Each time we need to validate a recent change in Microsoft Search configuration, we need to use query parameter that clears cache, and each time I’m not sure is it clearCache or cacheClear 🙂

So, correct is “cacheClear=true”, e.g:

https://www.office.com/search/sites?auth=2&cacheClear=true&q=bird*

Reference:

Microsoft 365 SharePoint: prevent throttling with RateLimit headers

Bert Jansen (Microsoft) revealed some details on throttling when you access Microsoft 365 programmatically – via Microsoft Graph or CSOM and guided developers on how to regulate request traffic for optimized throughput using RateLimit headers (Here).

Demystifying SharePoint throttling

Throttling is necessary to ensure that no single user or application consumes too many resources compromising the stability of the entire system, which is used by many clients.

Throttling happens at

  • User (there are user request limits. Microsoft counts all requests linked to user
  • Application (Delegated or Application permissions)
    • Resource units per app per minute
    • Resource units per app per day
  • Farm – Spike protection

Very common reason for throttling – when an Application (Delegated or Application permissions) reaches “Resource units per app per minute” threshold.

Usually you catch HTTP errors 429 or 503, wait for some time (respect Retry-after header) and try again.

SharePoint provides various APIs. Different APIs have different costs depending on the complexity of the API, but Microsoft favor Graph API over SharePoint REST/CSOM. The cost of APIs is normalized by SharePoint and expressed by resource units. Application’s limits are also defined using resource units.

Quota depends on tenant size.

Resource unit limits for an application in a tenant (please refer to the Microsoft article)

Predefined costs for Microsoft Graph calls:

Assuming 2 resource units per request is a safe bet.

Links

Microsoft 365 ownerless groups policy email message body format and content

When you are creating or updating “Microsoft 365 ownerless groups policy” – you can customize email template subject and message body.

Here is how out-of-the-box email message looks like for admin:

Here is how out-of-the-box email message looks like for user:

You can customize subject, message body and link in the footer.
You can use variables: $User.DisplayName to insert the user’s name and $Group.Name to insert the name of the group.

Message body size is limited to 1040 symbols, so not much you can put there. Which means you’ll probably need to share the link to some page in SharePoint where you can provide users more information – explain everything – why it is happening and what are the actions need to be done with screenshots etc. So you’d need a link here – clearly visible in the e-mail body (OotB “Policy guideline Url” appears at the end of the email barely visible).

You’d also emphasize some elements of the message… but how?
It seems like e-mail template does not support HTML tags… and there is no WYSIWYG experience.

Here is what I found out: although policy e-mail template does not support markup, you still can use some tricks as long as e-mail client understands it. Specifically, you can use GitHub-style formatting as described here.

In my experience – both – outlook web-client and outlook desktop app interpret GitHub-wiki-style markup well. I.e. you can use headers, bold/italic text, lists/bullets, links and images.

Here is admin editing e-mail experience:

Here is user e-mail experience:

e.g.

[Link Text](Url) - will look like a link
# will look like a header #
Please refer to a GitHub formatting syntax for a full syntax

N.B. if you forward the message – you might loose formatting.

You might want use Microsoft’s “My groups” page, or “Groups I own” and “Groups I am in” pages.

Example of e-mail subject:

Subject: $Group.Name group needs a new owner

Example of e-mail template:

Hi $User.DisplayName, 

This group currently does not have an owner:
## $Group.Name
You're receiving this email because you've been an active member of the group.  

Per organization's policy, the group requires an owner. **Ownerless groups are subject for deletion.**
For more details - please refer to ["Organization's ownerless resources policy"](https://vladilen.com/office-365/ownerless-microsoft-365-groups-teams-and-sites). 
Please accept or decline this before ...

References

Adaptive scopes Retention Policies Data Lifecycle Purview

Microsoft recently implemented “Adaptive” retention policies. At step 2 of “Create retention policy” you’ll be asked “Choose the type of retention policy to create”: “A policy can be adaptive or static. Advantage of an adaptive policy will automatically update where it’s applied based on attributes or properties you’ll define. A static policy is applied to content in a fixed set of locations and must be manually updated if those locations change.”

And if you selected “Adaptive” – on the next step you will need to provide the adaptive scope (so at this moment you should already have created your adaptive scopes):

So, let us create your adaptive scopes.
What type of scope do you want to create? SharePoint sites…

And then you’ll have nothing more then set of conditions:

where you can use objects: “Site Url”, “Site Name” and “Refinable String 0″..”Refinable String 99”. Conditions would be “is equal to”, “is not equal to”, “starts with” and “not starts with”. Or you can select “Advanced query builder” and enter KQL query.

Advanced query builder for SharePoint Adaptive Scope

Microsoft 365 Q&A

Q: What permission or role is required to get search Usage analytics reports
A: To see Microsoft 365 Search and intelligence usage analytics reports you’d need “Global reader” or “Search editor” role.

Q: What permission or role is required to get access to Search Feedback under Microsoft 365 admin center – Settings – Search & intelligence – Insights – Feedback
A: You’d need at least “Global reader” or “Search editor” role.

Ownerless Microsoft 365 groups, teams and sites Q&A

Every resource under Microsoft 365 (Microsoft Teams team, Microsoft 365 group or SharePoint site) must have an owner/owners. Otherwise to whom we communicate on any question – site/group permissions, membership, site/group/team retention policy, content classification etc. Who will be responsible for team/site/group content and configuration and who will provide access to this site for other users.

MS: A team in Microsoft Teams or a Microsoft 365 group and its related services can become ownerless if an owner’s account is deleted or disabled in Microsoft 365. Groups and teams require an owner to add or remove members and change group settings.

Recently Microsoft implemented a new feature: a policy that automatically asks the most active members of an ownerless group or team if they’ll accept ownership. Very important feature. TY Microsoft!

It is important because many other “governance” activities (e.g. permissions attestation, retention policies) rely on site/team ownership. I.e., before we notify site owner that the site is going to be deleted due to inactivity – we want an owner present.

That is how out-of-the-box notification email looks like:

The configuration via wizard is straightforward and intuitive, and Microsoft documented it well, but still we have some questions regarding the policy behavior.

Q: Is it about groups ownership or sites ownership?
A: Group ownership and group-based sites ownership (teams, yammer etc.). Non-group based aka Standalone sites (e.g. communication) are not in scope of this feature/policy.

Q: Who can configure this policy? What kind of permissions required to create/update policy?
A: Microsoft says “Manage Microsoft 365 groups” permissions required – e.g. admins with Global admin or Groups Admin roles required. “Teams administrator” or “SharePoint Administrator” cannot configure the policy.

Q: After the policy activated – who will receive notification? What exactly “most active members” mean?
A: Microsoft only says “most active members” and does not disclose specific algorithm behind.

Q: How about group with no members? What if somebody created a group but did not add any members and then left?
A: In this case the policy will not work – as there is nobody who can be notified. This kind of groups must be handled manually, as no owners no members does not mean nobody uses related SharePoint site. What if the group is public and hosts some valuable data?

Q: How do we know the group is ownerless? Only if owner has been deleted from AAD? What if an owner is just blocked or became unlicensed?
A: For the policy Microsoft consider blocked or unlicensed users presented in the group owners list as valid users and still group owners; so the policy will not be triggered until the group owners list is empty.

Q: We have implemented Azure AD Settings “EnableGroupCreation” and “GroupCreationAllowedGroupId” (as per Microsoft: Manage who can create Microsoft 365 Groups), so not everyone can create m365 groups. Would this impact ownerless groups policy? In other words – if a user cannot create group – would this keep user from being assigned as a group owners?
A: No. Microsoft’s Manage who can create Microsoft 365 Groups trick regulates groups creation only. Later – when a group is created – nothing prevents such user to be added as a group owner.

Q: I support a large Microsoft 365 environment and we already have hundreds and thousands of ownerless groups. I’m concerned how users might react and whether our helpdesk support teams are ready for new type of tickets etc. Implementing the policy in test/stage environment does not make much sense, since there are no really active users etc. So, can I test this policy in production – on real users, but pilot it within a small number of users or ownerless groups before applying to all groups in the environment.
A: Yes, you can do a test or pilot implementation in production limiting the impacted users or groups.
– if you need to limit users who will be getting notifications – e.g. a “pilot team” – during Step 1 “Notification Options” under “Specify who can receive ownership notifications” you can select “Allow only certain active members” and under “Specify security groups to ‎allow members‎” you can select a security group – so only members from the specified security group will be sent ownership request. Microsoft 365 groups do not work here.

but be aware – if you choose this option – it is possible that Microsoft 365 groups might have more active members who are not the security group members. E.g. it might make sense to use this option for piloting – against a small number of isolated set of groups/members, but for not for phased implementation. If you have some specific requirements for group ownership – e.g. “only managers could be group owners” or “contractors cannot be group owners” – using security group to limit potential group owners would make sense.

Another option you can use for phased implementation or piloting the policy is to scope it down to a several selected m365 groups – use “Apply policy to” – “Specific groups” option:

NB! After all notifications are sent for a group – you will never ever get any more notifications for the same group. Even if you re-activate the policy or change policy parameters or whatever – it will not help. Once messages sent – it’s done for the group forever.

NB: Please also check “Microsoft ownerless groups policy in large environment

Q: How many groups I can specify if I select Apply policy to Specific groups option? Is there a maximum?
A: Yes, there is a limit. You can specify no more than 50 groups.

Q: I know the policy is applied to Microsoft 365 groups only. But I have many standalone sites with no owners (no site collection administrators). How do I deal with ownerless SharePoint sites?
A: Options are: manual intervention, PowerShell, 3-rd party tools – depending on your specific case. E.g. you can elevate some “Site Owners” SharePoint group members to site administrators. For modern sites – how about converting standalone sites to Microsoft 365 group-based sites (TBC – as at the moment it is not clear if it is possible)?

Q: What happens after one of the notified members accepts the ownership request?
A: No more notifications will be sent for this group. But previously sent notifications will still be valid.

Q: What happens if several of the notified members accepts the ownership request?
A: Only two first served basis. As per Microsoft, only two members can be assigned to group owners via the policy. When a group got two owners – invitation message actionable item for the rest will be converted from “Would you like to be a group owner?” to “MemberName1 and MemberName2 have already agreed to become group owners.” with no “Yes” and “No” actionable buttons.

NB!
I have tested the policy one more time, and this time after first member accepted ownership – no other members were able to accept ownership. They got a message “Johan Lorenz has already agreed to become group owner”:

@Microsoft, any comments?

Q: What if admin assign owner to group?
A: The group becomes not ownerless. Notification messages will not display invitation to become an owner anymore, and instead of “Would you like to be a group owner? – Yes or No buttons” it will be shown as “username has already agreed to become group owner.”:

Q: Can I customize an ownership notification?
A: Yes, but
– E-mail message body is limited to ~1040 characters
– Policy does not provide any WYSIWYG rich text format options (but there are some tricks you can use to format it with headers, bold/italic, links, bullets/lists: more on email template format.)

Q: Can I use shared mailbox or security group or distribution list as a “send from” e-mail account?
A: No. You can use only user or m365 group mailbox.

Q: Should “send from” user e-mail account be licensed with Exchange?
A: TBD (but most likely no).

Q: What if a group become ownerless after policy is activated?
A: Policy detects the group is ownerless and start sending notifications within 24 hour.
Actually the policy was designed to prevent ownerless groups. So it is recommended to activate the policy once you get the tenant.

Q: We know, that if a user declined ownership once – he will not get any more emails on the same. Is that true for current policy or for any further policies activations? I.e. If the policy updated/re-activated – will it remember user’s decision or it all starts from scratch?
A: TBD
All the next incarnations of the policy will not trigger e-mail notification for the group if all notifications were sent earlier. I.e. in this case user will not receive any more notifications on the same group.

Q: If user declines ownership – does that mean that somebody else will start getting emails so “number of active members” configured stays the same? What if all “active members” choose “No” at week 1 – will the policy select other members or what?
A: No. The policy will send notification to other initially selected members.

Q: If nobody accepted ownership – can we reconfigure the policy to sent more notifications – e.g. to wider range of active members or with more strict language in an e-mail template?
A: Yes and No.
Yes – if you e.g. specified 2 members and 6 weeks in the policy, and then after 3 weeks you want to increase number of members to notify to 10. But (it seems like it’s a bug) you have to deactivate the policy and activate it again with new parameters.
No – if the policy’s specified number of notifications is expired. I.e. if all emails supposed to be sent are sent – no more emails will be generated for this group, even if you reconfigure or deactivate/activate the policy, so the group active members will not get any more notifications on the same group. Workaround: you can add a dummy account to group owners and then delete this dummy account from AAD, so groups become normal and then ownerless again.

Q: What if we specify emails should be sent for 5 weeks, but stop the policy after two weeks? And then we re-activate the policy.
A: It is expected the policy will continue sending e-mail notifications until 5 emails sent.

Q: What if we specify 3 weeks in policy, but then re-configure the policy with 5 weeks specified and activate it again?
A: tbc – not tested yet

Q: Is there a difference in the policy behavior when we reconfigure the policy or deactivate and then reconfigure the policy?
A: Yes, at least – what I noticed so far:
To update number of members to notify – if you just reconfig the policy – it pics up update but acts like there was no updates. So to actually update number of members to notify you need to deactivate the policy and activate it again with new parameters.

Q: What if we have more than 10,000 notifications to send? Will the policy drop some of them or all notifications will be send but next day?
A: tbc – not tested yet

Q: Let say we have an ownerless group with 20 members. Let say we specified security group to limit user who will get invitations. And this security group includes only 6 users from the orphan group out of total 20. Microsoft says the policy will select the most active users. So the question is: will the policy select the most active users from the 20 orphaned group users and if the user in the security group – he/she will get an email?
A: No. The policy will select the most active users only from these 6 users that included in the security group, ignoring 14 users, even if they were more active then these 6 selected.

Q: What happens after the policy expires? E.g. after all notifications are sent…
A: Policy does not expires. If the policy is activated – it works. If all notifications are sent for the group – so yes, policy is done for this group. But if a new group became ownerless – policy will be triggered for this group again.

Q: If all the notifications are sent for the group – what are admin options to activate ownerless groups policy against this group?
A: There are no “legal” options, but there is a workaround. You can add an owner to the group and then delete this account – so this way you make the group ownerless again – and the process would start from scratch, as for the policy this group will be a new ownerless group.

Some more findings:

User can forward invitation message, but recipient who is not a selected group member – will not see actionable “Yes” “No” buttons. Selected Group

If a public group does not have an owner – all requests to joint the team will be declined with “The team does not have an owner” message:
(that means no new members, i.e. no new contributors, but read-only visitors access is sill available for everyone, as group is public):

Users can go to My Groups to see groups (Teams, Yammer communities and SharePoint Sites) they are members or owners of.

Proposal to be a group owner lasts forever. So if a user after some time finds an email that asks him “Would you like to be a group owner?” and clicks Yes – he/she will be a group owner, even if the policy is already updated or removed.

As per Microsoft, only first two members can accept the ownership of an ownerless group. No additional members are allowed to accept ownership. If either one or two members accept ownership, other members won’t receive further notifications.

Re-create (or re-activate) the ownerless group policy

You can de-activate the policy and then activate it again. Or you can reconfigure the policy. If you activated the policy again (or re-configured it), but emails are not sent – this might be an expected behavior. Let say you initially specified 3 weeks and 3 notification were sent to the most active ownerless groups members. That means no more emails will be generated for these groups.

De-activate the ownerless group policy

Just uncheck “When there’s no owner…”, and save it to stop the policy:

downside – you’d need to configure the policy from scratch – all previous settings are gone now


Track the ownerless group policy in action via Audit Log

How do I, as an Microsoft 365 administrator, know if the policy works or not, are the emails sent or not and how many (if any) users are accepted “Would you like to be a group owner?” invitation?

Microsoft 365 Audit Search under Microsoft Purview (Compliance center) should help.

Operations:

  • OwnerlessGroupNotified – “Notified ownerless group”
  • OwnerlessGroupNotificationResponse – “Responded to ownerless group notification”
  • OwnerlessGroupNeedAttention – “Unattended ownerless group”

OwnerlessGroupNotified – “Notified ownerless group”

(No-brainer) – means that the policy sent e-mail notification to some of the group members. Under “Members” property you can see list of notified users, and under ExtendedProperties – “FirstNotificationDate” and “NotificationChannel” (usually “Outlook”)

OwnerlessGroupNotificationResponse – “Responded to ownerless group notification”

Could have “ResponseType” as “AcceptOwnership” or “DeclineOwnership” under ExtendedProperties, as well as “OwnerCount”.

OwnerlessGroupNeedAttention – “Unattended ownerless group”

indicates all notifications are sent and the group is still ownerless. In the event details you’ll find under ExtendedProperties:

{
    "Name": "FirstNotificationDate",
    "Value": "05/04/2023 13:46:07"
},
{
    "Name": "LastNotificationDate",
    "Value": "05/11/2023 14:28:21"
},
...

UserId: OwnerlessGroupComplianceAssistant

Record Type (AuditLogRecordType): 126

It seems like event is not added to the Audit log when a policy is created or updated.

Who can create Microsoft 365 Groups

It is possible to limit users – who can create Microsoft 365 Groups (please refer to Microsoft: Manage who can create Microsoft 365 Groups – there is a guide and PowerShell code sample). This might help to keep the environment under control – let say, “only managers can create groups”, or “contractor should not be able to create teams”.

Azure AD Directory Setting “GroupCreationAllowedGroupId” works only for creation. Later, when the group is create – it is possible to add to group as a group owner those who is not able to create group. But, if you want your tenant configuration consistent in terms “if a user cannot create a group – user cannot be a group owner” – consider using the same security group in policy’s notofication options “Specify who can recieve ownership notifications”

Issues

“Ownerless group policy configuration failed” error message.
And “Failure in configuring ownerless groups policy” and “Please try again.”
– seems like a permissions issue.
SharePoint admin, Teams admin or Group admin roles: cannot configure Ownerless Groups Policy.
Global admin: yes, can configure Ownerless Microsoft 365 Groups Policy.
What is the minimum role required?
According to a recent update of the Microsoft’s article – “A Global administrator can create a policy…”. In my experience – groups admin can also configure the policy.

References