Ladies and gentlemen, Skype for Business is arriving now!

The April 14th Microsoft Update contains the Skype for Business client. You can download it here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2889923

With this update, Microsoft gives us the choice of displaying the new Skype for Business 2015 client interface, or continuing on the Lync 2013 UI. Depends on your users – are they quick to adapt? Are they familiar with Skype? If so, you can safely switch them to the new UI.

Otherwise, it might make more sense to keep them on Lync for now.

Switching between interfaces is done through PowerShell. With a few cmdlets you control which client version your users see.

How to Change Between Lync & Skype4B Clients

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CsClientPolicy is the cmdlet we’ll work with for changing between Lync 2013 and Skype for Business 2015. Here’s how you make the magic happen.

To change All Users to Skype for Business UI:
Set-CsClientPolicy -Identity Global -EnableSkypeUI $true

To change All Users to Lync 2013 UI:
Set-CsClientPolicy -Identity Global -EnableSkypeUI $false

What if you only want to change the UI for a certain group of users?
It’ll only take 2 extra cmdlets, in the same sphere.

First you create a new client policy by which to identify this group of users. Let’s call them “SkypeTesters”.
The cmdlet will look like this:
New-CsClientPolicy -Identity SkypeTesters -EnableSkypeUI $true

Then you collect users & assign them to this new SkypeTesters policy. You can collect users via department, AD group, etc. I’ll use a Marketing Department for this example.

To collect users: Get-CsUser -LDAPFilter “Department=Marketing”
To grant them the new client policy & enable Skype for Business UI: Grant-CsClientPolicy -PolicyName SkypeTesters

(Of course you can pipe these two cmdlets together & save time. I split them up just for clarity’s sake.)

More instructions on UI switching are available on TechNet: Configure the Client Experience with Skype for Business – TechNet

NOTE:  According to this page, the Skype for Business Client even works for Lync Server 2010! I didn’t expect that, but it’s a nice surprise. Any 2010 users out there, please consider an update soon. Comment or email if you have questions about it.

What if I use Lync Online?

Not to worry! Lync Online users will still get the Skype for Business UI (though it might take a little longer). You’ll also use PowerShell to switch the interface, but the cmdlets & switches are a little different.

To enable Skype for Business UI for all users, you’d enter this in Remote PowerShell:
Grant-CsClientPolicy –PolicyName ClientPolicyEnableSkypeUI

To keep the Lync UI for all users:
Grant-CsClientPolicy –PolicyName ClientPolicyDisableSkypeUI

To enable Skype for Business UI for a single user:
Grant-CsClientPolicy –PolicyName ClientPolicyEnableSkypeUI -Identity [User’s Name]

Additional switches & details: Switching between the Skype for Business and the Lync client user interfaces – Office 365 Support

Microsoft is phasing the Skype for Business client into use over the next couple months. I didn’t find a specific schedule, but most sources say it should arrive both for Lync Server 2013 and Lync Online/Skype for Business Online users by the end of summer.

There’s one easy way to tell if you’ve received the upgrade (note: this is for Lync Server 2013 users). Do any of your users’ clients report that their taskbar icon changed to Skype’s – but the client still looks like Lync?

Voila, you have the Skype for Business update. Just need to turn on the UI.

New Skype for Business Users: Please send in your thoughts & impressions of the new client! I’d like to hear what my readers think of the changes.

Next week, we’ll talk versioning and upgrade priorities. See you then.

How to Change the Lync 2013 Client Into Skype for Business 2015 (With One Cmdlet)
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14 thoughts on “How to Change the Lync 2013 Client Into Skype for Business 2015 (With One Cmdlet)

    • April 29, 2015 at 10:37 am
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      Rune,

      Now that’s peculiar. Do you have all available Lync Server 2013 and Office 2013 updates installed?

      Reply
  • April 29, 2015 at 7:02 am
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    I’m not seeing the EnableSkypeUI parameter in the lync powershell under csclientpolicy. The server and Lync 2013 std are completely up-to-date.

    Reply
    • April 29, 2015 at 10:38 am
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      Jbo,

      Strange, you’re the second person who isn’t seeing the parameter. I’m investigating this one.

      Reply
  • April 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm
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    I’m not seeing the EnableSkypeUI parameter in the lync powershell under csclientpolicy. The server and Lync 2013 std are completely up-to-date

    Reply
  • May 4, 2015 at 2:17 am
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    Hi, you need to update the database to the last version too.

    Reply
  • May 15, 2015 at 8:47 am
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    If you aren’t seeing the EnableSkypeUI parameter and you’ve updated the backend database already (follow Franco’s link for info), then you may need to update the management tools on your workstation. To do this, just run the same Lync Updater on your workstation that you ran on the servers.

    Once updated, you can test to see if the parameter is there by running this:
    Get-CsClientPolicy | select Enable*

    Hope this helps.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2015 at 3:33 am
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    Anyone found a resolution for custom installs of office 2013 where when the SFB client is now showing however the icon is still showing as Lync and does not display as Skype for Business??

    Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 9:41 pm
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    Can I upgrade Lync basic to Skype for business.. If so how can I do that

    Reply
    • September 16, 2015 at 8:50 am
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      Thanks for the comment Tauseef. Yes, you can update Lync Basic. The same Skype for Business client update that upgraded Lync 2013 works for Lync Basic. Apply KB patch 2889923 and you should be fine. (Download here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2889923)

      Reply
  • October 15, 2015 at 3:21 pm
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    We have all Lync 2013 clients updated to the Skype4B UI, and it looks great! Can the Lync Web App be updated to reflect the Skype4B branding? Or does that require an update to the server?

    Reply
    • October 21, 2015 at 10:14 am
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      Marc,

      Glad you’re enjoying! I believe it does require a server update, yes.

      Reply
  • October 20, 2015 at 11:20 am
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    In Lync I would be able to place a title for the current conversation that I am having. How can I do that in Skype for Business?

    Reply

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