Mail Users in Office 365 don’t have SMTP access

On-premises mail users (at least in Exchange 2010) had access to send mail as their organizational address through the on-premises SMTP server. However, mail users in Exchange Online cannot send mail as their organizational address using

So what can we do?

In order to use SMTP, users need full mailboxes. But these users should not actually have mailbox access. As a test, created a mailbox and I disabled all email apps for the mailbox in Exchange Online:

An Office 365 user's email app settings
An Office 365 user’s email app settings

The test user was no longer able to log in to Outlook on the Web (also known as OWA). SMTP still worked. Email forwarding still worked (although the user would not be able to set the forwarding address themselves).

Creating a user mailbox requires a user license, whereas mail users do not require a license. If you have a lot of on-premises mail users that now need full mailboxes, this could be problematic.

In Exchange Online, a UserMailbox with all email apps disabled is equivalent to an on-premises Exchange MailUser, except that the former requires a license.

Removing exceptions from a list using Bash (with sed and awk)

  • I have a CSV file, a list of 1000+ users and user properties.
  • I have a list of exceptions (users to be excluded from processing), one user per line, about 50 total.

How can I remove the exceptions from the list?

# make a copy of the original list
cp list-of-1000.csv list-of-1000-less-exceptions.csv
# loop through each line in exceptions.txt and remove matching lines from the copy
while read line; do sed -i "/${line}/d" list-of-1000-less-exceptions.csv; done < exceptions.txt

This is a little simplistic and could be a problem if any usernames are subsets of other usernames. (For example, if user ‘bob’ is on the list of exceptions, but the list of users also contains ‘bobb’, both would be deleted.)

In the particular instance I am dealing with, the username is conveniently the first field in the CSV file. This allows me to match the start of the line and the comma following the username:

while read line; do sed -i "/^${line},/d" list-of-1000-less-exceptions.csv; done < exceptions.txt

What if the username was the third field in the CSV instead of the first?

Use awk:
awk -F, -vOFS=, '{print $3,$0}' list-of-exceptions.csv > copy-of-list-of-exceptions.csv

  • -F, sets the field separator to a comma (defaults to whitespace)
  • -vOFS=, sets the Output Field Separator (OFS) to a comma (defaults to a space)
  • $3 prints the third field
  • $0 prints all the fields, with the specified field separator between them

while read line; do sed -i "/^${line},/d" copy-of-1000-less-exceptions.csv; done < exceptions.txt

Now there’s still an extra username in this file. Maybe that doesn’t matter, but maybe it does. There are several ways to remove it–here’s one:

awk -F, -vOFS=, '$1=""; print $0' copy-of-1000-less-exceptions.csv | sed 's/^,//' > list-of-1000-less-exceptions.csv

  • -F, sets the field separator to a comma (defaults to whitespace)
  • -vOFS=, sets the Output Field Separator (OFS) to a comma (defaults to a space)
  • $1="" sets the first field to an empty string
  • print $0 prints all the fields

The result of the awk command has an initial comma on each line. The first field is still there, it’s just set to an empty string. I used sed to remove it.

You could also use sed alone to remove the extra username field:
sed -i 's/^[^,]*,//' copy-of-1000-less-exceptions.csv

Middleman error – `block in replace_gem’: middleman-cli is not part of the bundle. Add it to Gemfile.

I ran into an error while setting up a Middleman site on my PC. I already had Ruby and RubyGems installed, so I followed the instructions to install Middleman and start a new Middleman site:

gem install middleman
middleman init project
cd project

The next step was to start the preview web server, which produced an error:

$ bundle exec middleman server
DL is deprecated, please use Fiddle
ubygems_integration.rb:256:in `block in replace_gem': middleman-cli is not part
of the bundle. Add it to Gemfile. (Gem::LoadError)
from c:/RailsInstaller/Ruby2.1.0/bin/middleman:22:in `<main>'</main>

Continue reading Middleman error – `block in replace_gem’: middleman-cli is not part of the bundle. Add it to Gemfile.

Node.js – Error ‘console’ is undefined

I just installed Node.js on a new system and wanted to make sure it worked. I tested it with a simple hello world script.

Contents of the node.js file
console.log("Hello node");

Then I attempted to run it:
C:\>node node.js

Which produced the following error:
Script: C:\node.js
Line: 1
Char: 1
Error: 'console' is undefined
Code: 800A1391
Source: Microsoft JScript runtime error

Weird. And Microsoft JScript runtime? Very weird.

Turns out, Windows is trying to run the Javascript, node.js, not via Node.js but natively in Windows.

If I rename the file hellonode.js I can reproduce the same error:

Or I can run the intended file via Node.js:
C:\>node hellonode.js
Hello node

I did not realize that the Windows command prompt could/would execute Javascript files natively.

Pipe array to Powershell script

I created a Powershell script to set a few mailbox properties. I wanted to pipe in an array of mailbox objects, i.e. the results of a Get-Mailbox command, like so:

$Mailboxes | C:\Set-MailboxProperties.ps1

However, Set-MailboxProperties.ps1 only processed the first item in the array.

Via Google I found this helpful StackOverflow post, How to pass an array as a parameter to another script? Although the answers did not include an example exactly like mine, their solution works just the same:

(,$Mailboxes) | C:\Set-MailboxProperties.ps1

PowerShell Ellipsis (dot dot dot)

Sometimes when you retrieve an object via PowerShell, some of the properties are truncated, denoted by an ellipsis (“…”).

For example:
Get-Mailbox chris | Select AddressListMembership

{\Staff Global Address List, \Staff, \IT Staff, \Exchange Admins...}

How do you see the full list? There are a couple ways:

Select -ExpandProperty
Get-Mailbox chris | Select -ExpandProperty AddressListMembership

$FormatEnumerationLimit =-1
This is a per-session variable in PowerShell. By default the value is 4, but if you change it to -1 it will enumerate all items. This will affect every property of every object, so it may be more than you need.

Free/Busy Time Segmentation in Exchange Online

By default, all users in the same Exchange Online environment can view each other’s free/busy time. Using the Organization–Sharing settings you can share more information, but not less.

Exchange Online Sharing Rule
Unchecking the ‘Share your calendar folder’ box does turn off calendar sharing. Counterintuitive!

Individuals can adjust their own free/busy time sharing in Outlook or Outlook Web App (OWA). But what if you have less-privileged users who should not be able to view another user’s free/busy time, for example, temporary employees or contract workers? Can they be restricted from viewing calendar information for other users?

It can be done, but it’s not simple.

My 3-part approach, summarized:

  1. Change each user’s sharing settings for the Default user to None via PowerShell
  2. Create a mail-enabled universal security group containing all privileged users. (Fortunately, this group already existed within my organization.)
  3. Change each user’s sharing settings for the security group created above to AvailabilityOnly via PowerShell (to allow just Free/Busy visibility)

I found Add Calendar Permissions in Office 365 via Powershell, which was a tremendous help in discovering the format of the calendar folder. For example, to adjust the Default user’s access to’s calendar to None, use the following PowerShell command:
Set-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity\calendar -user Default -AccessRights None

Then I tried to add permissions for the security group:
$mycal = '\calendar'
Set-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $mycal -User -AccessRights AvailabilityOnly

There is no existing permission entry found for user: privileged-users-security-group.
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Set-MailboxFolderPermission], UserNotFoundInPermissionEntryException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : [Server=BLUPR0101MB1603,RequestId=d057882d-5663-417d-a614-ce73e5ab0565,TimeStamp=3/15/20
16 3:41:20 PM] [FailureCategory=Cmdlet-UserNotFoundInPermissionEntryException] B65CA2A0,Microsoft.Exchange.Managem
+ PSComputerName :

Thanks to Setup secretary permissions to manage Calendar in Office 365, I discovered that the above error occurred because the security group had no current settings for the specified calendar. In that case, the Add-MailboxFolderPermission is the appropriate command:

Add-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $mycal -User -AccessRights AvailabilityOnly

Before running this across all of our users, I wanted to find out which users had customized their free/busy sharing settings. If they had customized them, I wanted to preserve their settings. For example, I decided to get the Default user sharing settings for the sales department users’ calendars:

$DeptMailboxes = Get-Mailbox -Filter {CustomAttribute2 -eq 'sales'}
ForEach ($Mailbox In $DeptMailboxes) { $Calendar = $Mailbox.UserPrincipalName + ":\calendar"; Get-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $Calendar -User Default}

Unfortunately, the above did not return all of the properties needed to identify the calendars in question:
Calendar Default {AvailabilityOnly}
Calendar Default {LimitedDetails}
Calendar Default {AvailabilityOnly}
Calendar Default {AvailabilityOnly}

I specified a list of properties that was more useful:
ForEach ($Mailbox In $DeptMailboxes) { $Calendar = $Mailbox.UserPrincipalName + ":\calendar"; Get-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $Calendar -User Default | Select Identity,FolderName,User,AccessRights }

Fortunately, only a handful of the users in my organization had customized their sharing settings, so I simply noted their settings and re-applied them after running these settings across all users in the organization:

$AllMailboxes = Get-Mailbox
ForEach ($Mailbox In $AllMailboxes) { $Calendar = $Mailbox.UserPrincipalName + ":\calendar"; Set-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $Calendar -User Default -AccessRights None; Add-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $Calendar -User -AccessRights AvailabilityOnly }

This achieved the desired free/busy time segmentation. However, there’s one snag: what happens when new users are added? They will have the default sharing settings. That means that every time a new user is added, these steps will need to be run for that new user. I created the following PowerShell script — I can pipe the results of Get-Mailbox to this script to apply the customizations described above:


Process {
    $Calendar = $Mailbox.UserPrincipalName + ":\calendar"
    Set-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $Calendar -User Default -AccessRights None
    Add-MailboxFolderPermission -Identity $Calendar -User '' -AccessRights AvailabilityOnly

To run the script (assuming it is named Set-CustomFreeBusySharing.ps1):
Get-Mailbox -Identity | ./Set-CustomFreeBusySharing.ps1

Fully integrating that into my account creation process is a job for another day.

One other thing to note: users can still choose to modify their free/busy sharing with the Default user, in case they do want/need to share their availability with all users in the organization.

Other sites that had useful information while I researched this issue:

Set-MsolUserLicense : A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name ‘UsageLocation’

I wanted to apply an Office 365 (O365) license to a user via PowerShell:

PowerShell Command
Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName "" -AddLicenses "exampletenant:EXCHANGESTANDARD_ALUMNI"

Set-MsolUserLicense : You must provide a required property: Parameter name: UsageLocation

Fine. What is this UsageLocation parameter? See Assign licenses to user accounts with Office 365 PowerShell:

You can assign licenses only to user accounts that have the UsageLocation property set to a valid ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code. For example, US for the United States, and FR for France.

OK, so US for United States.

PowerShell Command
Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName "" -AddLicenses "exampletenant:EXCHANGESTANDARD_ALUMNI" -UsageLocation US

Set-MsolUserLicense : A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name 'UsageLocation'.

Really, Microsoft? Is it a required parameter or is it not a parameter? Make up your minds!

Turns out, it’s a parameter of the Set-MsolUser cmdlet:

PowerShell Commands
Set-MsolUser -UserPrincipalName "" -UsageLocation US
Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName "" -AddLicenses "exampletenant:EXCHANGESTANDARD_ALUMNI"

The license was applied successfully.

Querying an Oracle database from Powershell

I needed to query Oracle for information to use in a Powershell script. I found the following comprehensive blog post with details on how to do so using ODP.NET: Use Oracle ODP.NET and PowerShell to Simplify Data Access

The article is extremely long and goes into a lot of depth. The following is a short summary of the first steps, with just enough to get started:

  1. Download Oracle Data Provider for .NET (ODP.NET). (If that link doesn’t work just search for “Oracle ODP.NET”.)
    • Select “Download the latest ODP.NET production release.”
    • Select “64-bit ODAC Downloads”
    • Select “”
  2. Extract the ZIP file to C:\, which creates C:\ODP.NET_Managed_ODAC12cR4.
  3. Run cmd as administrator, navigate to C:\ODP.NET_Managed_ODAC12cR4, and run:
    install_odpm.bat C:\oracle\instantclient_10_2 both

In Powershell, add the DLL and set up a database connection and a query:

Add-Type -Path "C:\Users\chris\ODP.NET_Managed_ODAC12cR4\\managed\common\Oracle.ManagedDataAccess.dll"
$username = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter database username"
$password = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter database password"
$datasource = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter database TNS name"
$query = "SELECT first_name, last_name FROM users.user WHERE first_name = 'Chris' ORDER BY last_name"
$connectionString = 'User Id=' + $username + ';Password=' + $password + ';Data Source=' + $datasource
$connection = New-Object Oracle.ManagedDataAccess.Client.OracleConnection($connectionString)
while ($reader.Read()) {
$reader.GetString(1) + ', ' + $reader.GetString(0)

Output of the above:

Brown, Chris
Carter, Chris
Jones, Chris
Smith, Chris