How to remove Assignments from Microsoft Teams EDU

Friday, December 18, 2020

Microsoft Teams EDU tenants include an Assignments app in Teams. The Assignments and Grades features in Teams for Education allow educators to assign tasks, work, or quizzes to their students. Educators can manage assignment timelines, instructions, add resources to turn in, grade with rubrics, and more. They can also track class and individual student progress in the Grades tab.

You can learn more about Assignments and Grades in Teams for Education here.

Higher ed customers may want to disable the Assignments app because they already use other ways of assigning and tracking assignments. For them, it can be confusing to students and faculty when the Assignments app is pinned to the left rail of Teams.

Pinned apps in Teams are normally assigned using a Setup Policy in the Teams Admin Center at (Teams apps > Setup policies). Here, you can configure which apps are pinned to the Teams app navigation bar and the order in which they are displayed.

Notice that the disappearing banner at the top of the policy says, "Because you have at least one Office 365 Education license, the Assignments app will be automatically included in each app setup policy." You will also notice that the Assignments app is not listed as a pinned app, so you cannot remove it.

In order to remove Assignments from pinned apps, configure a Permission Policy (Teams apps > Permission policies). Customers who want to remove this would normally edit the Global (Org-wide default) policy, but you can also create a new policy for this and assign it to specific users.

Edit the policy thusly:

  • Under Microsoft apps, select "Block specific apps and allow all others" in the dropdown list.
  • Click the Block apps button .
  • Search for "Assignments", then click Add, and Block.
  • Click the Save button.

It may take up to an hour before the Assignments app is removed from pinned apps for the users the permission policy applies to.

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Important Outlook Connectivity Update for Microsoft 365

Friday, December 11, 2020

Here we go again.

It appears that Microsoft going to actively block connectivity for older versions of Outlook on November 1, 2021 -- less than 11 months from now. 

Previously, Outlook connectivity has always been best effort for older versions, meaning that if you can connect to Microsoft 365 with an older non-supported version, then great. If you can't connect, you are required to install a supported version.

The reasoning for this is noble - Microsoft doesn't want older less secure versions of Outlook to connect to the service. Most Office 365/Microsoft 365 customers are already running Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (aka Office ProPlus) which is always up-to-date, so no problem.

But future Microsoft 365 and hybrid customers will need to upgrade all their clients prior to migration, and a lot of enterprises won’t be able to update in that time.

The bottom line is, if your clients are not already running Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and you plan to migrate to Microsoft 365, you need to start upgrading your Office apps now.

Here is the notification from Microsoft:

Update to Microsoft 365 and Outlook for Windows connectivity



Major update: Announcement started

Applied To: All


To ensure that we meet performance expectations, we are updating the supported versions of Outlook for Windows that can connect to Microsoft 365 services. 

Effective November 1, 2021, the following versions of Outlook for Windows, as part of Office and Microsoft 365 Apps, will not be able to connect with Office 365 and Microsoft 365 services. 

Office and Microsoft 365 Apps

Outlook for Windows Version

Office 2013

15.0.4970.9999 and older

Office 2016

16.0.4599.9999 and older

Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (formerly Office 365 ProPlus)

1705 and older

Microsoft 365 Apps for business (formerly Office 365 Business)

1705 and older

[Key Points:]

  • Major: Retirement
  • Timing: November 1, 2021
  • Action: Ensure Outlook for Windows client are updated accordingly

[How this will affect your organization:]

Versions that are newer than minimum version requirements listed above, but are not the currently supported version, may experience connectivity issues.

To see a list of the currently supported versions, visit Update history for Microsoft 365 Apps (listed by date)(for Microsoft 365 Apps) or Latest updates for versions of Office that use Windows Installer (MSI)(see “Latest Public Update” for Office 2013 and 2016).

Supported versions of Outlook for Windows in Office and Microsoft365 will continue to connect to Microsoft 365 services as expected. 

 [What you need to do to prepare:]

We recommend that all users upgrade to the supported versions of Office and Microsoft 365 Apps.

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What we've learned working remote over the past 8 months in 2020

Thursday, December 3, 2020

It’s no secret that the IT landscape has changed dramatically over the past 8 months. Due to the pandemic, organizations have had to pivot overnight, and what was hoped to be a short-term problem has turned into the new normal. This applies to the way these organizations deal with their customers, employees, and business partners.

In this article on the ENOW Software Blog, I’ll talk about the changes I’ve seen, and lessons learned from my customers.

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Why AAD Connect auto upgrade doesn't always upgrade

Monday, November 16, 2020

Azure AD Connect is a crucial component used to sync user accounts and enable mailboxes on-premises to be migrated to Microsoft 365. Not only does it synchronize accounts from Active Directory to Azure Active Directory, it also is used to configure authentication, provides ways for you to filter objects to sync, enables Exchange hybrid, allows for self-service password reset, enables seamless single sign-on, and more.

AAD Connect receives regular updates that include bug and security fixes as well as feature enhancements. Updates are normally delivered using AAD Connect's auto upgrade feature which is normally enabled by default. You can easily check to see if auto upgrade is configured by running the following cmdlet from your AAD Connect computer:


Auto upgrade may be disabled if your deployment is more complicated (i.e., if you're using SQL Server instead of localDB, etc.) or if your admin has manually disabled it.

If AAD Connect auto upgrade is enabled, you may assume that it will automatically upgrade your AADC instance whenever a new version is released. That's not always the case. Clarification about this was recently added to the Azure AD Connect: Version release history website:

To clarify the use of Auto Upgrade, it is meant to push all important updates and critical fixes to you. This is not necessarily the latest version because not all versions will require/include a fix to a critical security issue (just one example of many). An issue like that would be addressed with a new version provided via Auto Upgrade. If there are no such issues, there are no updates pushed out using Auto Upgrade, and in general if you are using the latest auto upgrade version you should be good. However, if you’d like all the latest features and updates, the best way to see if there are any is to check this page and install them as you see fit.

Please follow this link to read more about auto upgrade.

In other words, auto upgrade will only upgrade if your version of AAD Connect needs it. This is similar to the way that Microsoft Update only applies updates for roles and features that are installed in Windows.

If you still want to manually install the latest version, simply download it from the Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect website and install it. The current version number is listed in the Details section.

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Recap of Exchange and Outlook News for Microsoft Ignite 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020

I wrote up a recap of the exciting Exchange and Outlook news and announcements from Microsoft Ignite 2020.

There were a number of important announcements and quite a bit of technical content published on-demand. Most of it is still available on the Virtual Hub. Read all about it on the Enow Software blog.

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List of Known Issues with iOS 14

Friday, September 25, 2020

The following is a list of known issues with Apple iOS 14:
  • The default browser/mail app selection will be reset after the restart of iOS/iPadOS. This is an iOS14 issue, Apple is aware of the issue. (Fixed today with iOS 14.0.1, check your updates)
  • If the default browser is set to a browser other than Safari, Teams cannot open links. Teams is aware of the issue and is investigating.
  • Apps that rely on MFMailComposeViewController will be directed to the Mail app even when the default mail app is set to a different mail app. This is an iOS14 issue, Apple is aware of the issue.
  • mailto:// links will launch the Mail app if the Mail app has an account profile, even when the default mail app is set to a different mail app. This is an iOS14 issue, Apple is aware of the issue.
  • Notifications previews do not show sender/subject/preview and instead show "Open Outlook to read this message" when the device is enrolled and Outlook is pinned to the management profile. The Outlook team is working with Apple to investigate the issue.
  • On enrolled devices, OneDrive cannot be accessed through the FileProvider API when the app is pinned to the management profile and opening documents from managed to unmanaged apps is not allowed. The same behavior occurs with Google Drive. Apple is aware of the issue.
I will update these items as I get updates.

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Announcing Microsoft Exchange Server vNext!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Some really exciting Exchange Server news was announced for on premises customers at the Microsoft Ignite virtual conference today! 

Microsoft will be releasing the next versions of Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Skype for Business Server the second half of 2021.  These new on-premises server versions will only be available with the purchase of a subscription license, using a similar subscription model to Microsoft 365.

The name for these new on-premises server products has yet to be announced, but it is likely that Microsoft will drop the year from the version name since the new subscription server will be evergreen. Pricing and availability will be announced closer to the release date.

It's important for on-premises customers to know and stay on top of the Exchange Server product lifecycle policies for support and planning.


End of Mainstream Support

End of Extended Support

Exchange Server 2010



Exchange Server 2013



Exchange Server 2016



Exchange Server 2019



As mentioned in the article, Exchange Server 2016 and the End of Mainstream Support, CU19 is the last planned update for Exchange Server 2016 and is due in December 2020. After December 15, 2020, only CU19 or its successors will receive critical updates.

Exchange Server Upgrade Planning

In the near-term, customers who plan to stay on-premises should upgrade to Exchange Server 2019 ASAP to maintain both critical security and non-critical feature updates. This will also put your organization in the best position for when Exchange Server vNext is released in the second half of 2021.

You'll be able to install Exchange Server vNext into an org with Exchange Server 2013, 2016 or 2019. That's one more version than they used to support. And for the first time ever, you'll be able to perform an in-place upgrade from Exchange Server 2019 to Exchange Server vNext. Even in the same DAG. This will make it the easiest Exchange upgrade ever!

The bottom line is, if you're going to be staying on-premises long term - start planning and installing Exchange Server 2019 today!

New hybrid customers or customers who plan to keep some mailboxes on-premises should definitely upgrade to Exchange 2019 and later, Exchange Server vNext when it's released.

Hybrid customers who have completed migrating all their mailboxes to Exchange Online can continue to use their existing Exchange 2016 server for hybrid management. Microsoft hopes to deliver a serverless management solution soon, but it will later than the CU19 release.

Other Exchange and Exchange Online News

Another important bit of news on hybrid is that the new HCW will support establishing a one-to-many on-premises to cloud tenant configuration. This is helpful for divestments and customers with multiple tenants. Just be aware it only works for Exchange 2016/2019 and Hybrid Modern Auth only works with one tenant.

Microsoft is also opening the distribution of the Exchange Server 2019 Capacity Calculator. It previously was available only to Volume License customers. You can get it from

"Plus Addressing" is now GA in Exchange Online. This lets users create "disposable" email addresses based on their primary email address. This lets users know where their email addresses are being leaked and create Inbox rules to handle them.

View the on-demand session, Exchange, Here, There and Everywhere, delivered by the ever-so-suave Greg Taylor.

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EXPTA Consulting provides professional upgrade, migration, and hybrid services for on-premises customers of all sizes. We specialize in Exchange, Microsoft 365, Active Directory, and identity solutions and pride ourselves on customer satisfaction.

Examples where we provide turn-key solutions or can work with your IT staff include:

  • Exchange and Active Directory Health Checks
  • Exchange on-premises upgrades and configuration
  • Exchange hybrid configuration and migrations to Exchange Online
  • Hybrid Modern Authentication (MFA) for Exchange on-premises
  • Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) design and deployment
Contact us today for a free consultation.

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