21 Myths, Legends, and Superstitions About Client Policies Debunked!


The Internet is a truly wonderful technology for distributing information; unfortunately, it's also a truly wonderful technology for distributing misinformation. What kind of misinformation are we talking about? Well, take the new client policies found in Microsoft Lync Server 2010, policies that largely replace the Group Policy settings used in Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. We recently did an Internet search for Superstitions about Lync client policies and came up with – well, we didn't actually come up with any hits. However, we'd already written this article that examines the 21 most common myths, legends, and superstitions surrounding Lync Server client policies, so we figured we might as well publish it. Enjoy!


If, while walking with someone, you are forced to separate and each of you must walk around a different side of a pole, then you must say "Bread and Butter" three times or else your free/busy information won’t be displayed as part of your Microsoft Lync presence information.



False. We were well aware that taking different routes around a pole brings you bad luck; everyone knows that. But could that also prevent your free/busy information from being displayed as part of your Microsoft Lync presence information? We weren't really sure about that, so we've spent most of the past week walking around poles and then checking our presence information.


What we discovered was that walking around poles, regardless of whether or not you say "Bread and butter," has very little effect on the display of free/busy information in Microsoft Lync. As it turns out, a better way to include free/busy information in your Lync contact card is to set the DisableFreeBusyInfo property to False. For example:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisableFreeBusyInfo $False


That's what we said: whew!


If you have become possessed by a demon, then you will no longer be able to save instant messages in Microsoft Lync.


False. In order to test this superstition, we repeatedly allowed ourselves to be possessed by demons; each time we were possessed we were still able to save instant messages in Microsoft Lync.


Note. Fortunately, we work in the computer industry, which means that there are always plenty of demons around whenever you need one.


Instead, the only way we could figure out how to disable the saving of instant messages from within Microsoft Lync was to set the DisableSavingIM property to True. In other words:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisableSavingIM $True


As a public service, we thought we should mention that if you ever do get possessed by a demon, one long-held recommendation is to grab a carrot. (And no, we are not making that up.) One caution here, however. As one author noted, "This will often causes the demon to possess the carrot. At that point, you will have to determine the best way to dispose of a possessed carrot."


If you place a hat on a bed, the Activity Feeds tab in Microsoft Lync will disappear.


False. Somewhat surprisingly, there does not appear to be any way to make the Activity Feeds tab disappear simply by placing a hat on a bed. Therefore, we are recommending that the superstition be changed to this:


If you set the DisableFeedsTab property to True, the Activity Feeds tab in Microsoft Lync will disappear.


That is, if you do this:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisableFeedsTab $True


Granted, it's not the most melodious superstition we've ever seen. But it seems to work.


On a vaguely-related note, the author of this column (who wears a baseball hat more often than anyone really should) once woke up in the middle of the night because he had to go to the bathroom. Stumbling into the bathroom, he glanced at the mirror and realized that, when he got ready for bed that night, he'd somehow forgotten to take his hat off.


Did wearing a hat to bed, let alone placing one on a bed, bring him bad luck? Do you even have to ask?


The lost continent of Atlantis became lost when the ruling council set the value of the DisableOneNote12Integration property to True.


False. Historians now agree that the ruling council of Atlantis was using an early, pirated version of Lync Server, and inadvertently set the EnableSinkOurContinentToTheBottomOfTheOcean property to True. Needless to say, that property does not appear in the released version of Lync Server. Now do you see why we keep telling people not to pirate software, especially early beta software?

But suppose the ruling council had set the DisableOneNote12Integration property to True, by using a command similar to this one:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisableOneNote12Integration $True


What would have happened then? Well, in that case, the ability to launch Microsoft OneNote from within Lync 2010 (and the ability to automatically link instant messaging sessions and OneNote notes) would be disabled. Kind of a bummer, but still better than sinking to the bottom of the ocean.


If you step on a crack a disclaimer will appear in your conversation window each time you take part in a new instant messaging session.


False. As every school kid (in some parts of the world) knows, if you step on a crack you'll break your mother's back. (Sorry, Mom, but we had to test all the superstitions, including this one. Get well soon!)


The truth is, if you'd like a disclaimer to appear in the conversation window each time a user takes part in an instant messaging session, your best bet is to assign the text of that disclaimer to the IMWarning property:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –IMWarning "Note: Transcripts of all instant message sessions are archived by the IT department."


If you'd prefer not to see a disclaimer then just set IMWarning to a null value:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –IMWarning $Null



To ward off a vampire, enable the BlockConversationFromFederatedContacts property.


True. Well, sort of. If a vampire happens to have an account in a federated domain, and he or she has been bothering you by sending you unsolicited instant messages, you can ward them off by setting the BlockConversationFromFederatedContacts property to True:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –BlockConversationFromFederatedContacts $True


That way the vampire (or any other federated contact) will be prevented from sending you an unsolicited instant message; if they try, the message will bounce back as undeliverable. However, if you send them an instant message they will be able to reply to you.


Alternatively, you can try wearing a string of garlic around your neck. That will ward off the vampires, although it will probably ward off most of your co-workers as well. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is perhaps better left unsaid.


Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's Microsoft Lync events will be logged to the Application event log.


False. According to meteorologists, the color of the sky does not determine whether or not Microsoft Lync events are logged to the Application event log. (Or at least that's what we think meteorologists would tell us; we never actually got around to asking one.) Instead, if you want Lync events recorded in the Application event log then you need to set the EnableEventLogging property to True:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –EnableEventLogging $True


As it turns out, a red sky in the morning actually can mean that a storm is on its way; as a result, sailors face the very real prospect of their ship sinking later that day. But at least they won't have to worry about whether or not their Microsoft Lync events will suddenly start being recorded to the event log.


If you take every 2010th letter in the King James version of the Bible, the resulting sentence will spell out the command for adding the subject and location of all your meetings to your presence information.


False. Or so we think; to be perfectly honest, taking every 2010th letter in the King James version of the Bible and seeing what it spelled out sounded like way too much trouble to us. If you'd like to try to verify this yourself, however, well, a command that causes the subject and location of all your meetings to show up as part of your Microsoft Lync contact card should look something like this:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisableMeetingAndSubjectLocation $False


Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln; Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy. In Microsoft Lync, it's possible to add an additional presence state: Appear Away.


True. Oh, wait: we mean False. As it turns out, Lincoln did not have a secretary named Kennedy; instead, Lincoln's two secretaries were named John Nicolay and John Hay.


Hmmm, John Nicolay, John Hay, John Kennedy …. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?


At any rate, it is true that you can add an additional presence state – Appear Away – to Microsoft Lync. If a user sets his or her presence to this state, it will appear as though they are offline. In reality, though, he or she will actually be online and available to answer phone calls and respond to instant messages.


Sneaky, isn't it?


To provide users with the Appear Away option, just use a command similar to this:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –EnableAppearOffline $True


Oh, and here's something else that's shocking but true: Abraham Lincoln did not have a middle name! Coincidence? Maybe …



Find a pin and pick it up, and all the day Microsoft Lync will be unable to take your phone calls into consideration when determining your status information.


False. OK, well, it took us forever to finally find a pin, but once we did our copy of Microsoft Lync was still able to take our phone calls into consideration when determining our status and presence information. (That is, Lync would indicate that we were on the phone instead of saying that we were available.) The only way we were able to stop Lync from merging our phone use into our presence information was to run a command similar to this one:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisablePhonePresence $True


We should probably mention that many people misstate this superstition as "Find a penny and pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck." That, of course, is silly. While it's obvious that finding a picking up a pin will bring you good luck, it makes no sense whatsoever that finding and picking up a penny would do the same thing. Hogwash!



If you put your dirty shoes on a table, your Out of Office note in Microsoft Outlook will be displayed as part of your Microsoft Lync status information.


False. As it turns out, the only way to get the Out of Office note you composed in Outlook to appear in Microsoft Lync is to set the DisablePresenceNote property to False:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisablePresenceNote $False


A related superstition suggests that putting dirty shoes on a table brings you bad luck. Believe it or not, that superstition is actually true. If you don't believe us, try placing your dirty shoes on someone's table and see what happens.


If you open an umbrella in the house you will no longer be able to use emoticons in an instant message.


False. We have to admit, we were wrong about this one. We figured it would be true, but it isn't: as it turns out, opening an umbrella in the house does not disable the use of emoticons in instant messages. Instead, the only way to do that is to set the DisableEmoticons property to True:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisableEmoticons $True


As long as we're on the subject, in many cultures it's considered bad luck to open an umbrella in the house, especially if you proceed to then hold that umbrella over your head. In other cultures, it's just considered dumb to open an umbrella in the house.



To cure a cough, set the DisablePoorNetworkWarnings property to True.


False. Instead, setting the DisablePoorNetworkWarnings property to True simply hides the network status indicator (which reports the network strength and quality during a Lync 2010 call) in Microsoft Lync:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisablePoorNetworkWarnings $False


If you do need to cure a cough, do this instead: take a hair from the coughing person's head, put it between two slices of buttered bread, feed it to a dog, and say, "Eat well you hound, may you be sick and I be sound."


Granted, that might sound a little cruel. But, hey, let's be honest here: over the course of a day the average dog is going to eat a number of things way worse than a hair taken from a coughing person's head.


If in October you do marry, love will come but you won't be able to configure how long Microsoft Lync waits before re-synching your presence information with your Microsoft Outlook calendar.


False. As it turns out, it doesn't matter when you got married, or even if you got married: you can always configure how long Microsoft Lync waits before re-synching calendar information with Microsoft Outlook. All you have to do is assign the desired time period to the WebServicePollInterval property:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –WebServicePollInterval 0:30


That command sets the interval to 30 minutes (0 hours:30 minutes). Oh: and that also assumes that you're using Microsoft Exchange 2007 or later.


Incidentally, there's a somewhat-related superstition that goes like this:


If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.


Is that superstition true? Well, let's put it this way: it would have been nice if someone had mentioned the part about "riches tarrying" several Octobers ago ….


If you spill the salt then you will no longer be able to display your photo in Microsoft Lync.


False. Spilling the salt is an interesting superstition. In many cultures, spilling the salt is bad luck, and you're supposed to immediately grab some of the spilled salt and throw it over your left shoulder. In other cultures, however, spilling the salt is actually good luck, and means that you will soon have visitors.


Which, now that you mention it, could very well mean bad luck, couldn’t it?


At any rate, and as far as we know, there are a only a few isolated tribes in the jungles of Uruguay that believe that spilling the salt will prevent your photo from being displayed in Microsoft Lync. Instead, most cultures believe that running a Windows PowerShell command similar to the following will prevent your photo from being displayed in Microsoft Lync:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisplayPhoto NoPhoto


These same cultures also believe you can limit displayed photos to the user photos published in Active Directory; that's allegedly done by setting the DisplayPhoto parameter to PhotosFromADOnly:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisplayPhoto PhotosFromADOnly

And here's another one: you can give users the opportunity to either use their Active Directory photo or a custom photo of their own choosing simply by using a command like this one:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisplayPhoto AllPhotos


Silly superstitions, eh?



Evil spirits cannot harm you as long as you don't use a Microsoft Lync Phone Edition phone while the computer that the phone is connected to is locked.


True. You know, that's what we thought, too. But we connected a Lync Phone Edition phone to our computer, locked that computer, and then didn't use the phone at all. And guess what? We were not harmed by a single evil spirit, not once! Obviously we can all learn a lot from folklore and superstition.


In order to minimize the chances of being harmed by evil spirits, we decided to configure our system so that we can't use our Phone Edition phone any time the computer the phone is connected to is locked; instead, the only way we can use the phone is to first unlock the computer. In order to do that we simply set the DisableHandsetOnLockedMachine property to True:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisableHandsetOnLockedMachine $True


Microsoft Lync PowerShell blog authors 1, evil spirits 0.


If your ears feel like they're burning, it means that information about all your phone calls is automatically being archived to Microsoft Outlook.


False. It's a proven scientific that, if it feels like your ears are burning, the reason is either because someone is talking about you or because you've forgotten once again where you're supposed to put your cigarette. However, it’s an even more proven scientific fact that the temperature of your ears bears no relationship to information about your phone calls being automatically archived to Microsoft Outlook. Instead, call logging of this type is controlled by the value of the EnableCallLogAutoArchiving property. If you want to maintain a call log in Outlook's Conversation History folder then set EnableCallLogAutoArchiving to True:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –EnableCallLogAutoArchiving $True


And if you don't want to maintain a call log in Outlook, well, we don't actually know of any superstitions related to that. But you might try setting EnableCallLogAutoArchiving to False:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –EnableCallLogAutoArchiving $False


Sure, it sounds crazy. But, then again, some people think it sounds crazy that a wish will come true as long as you make it while burning onions.


You should never enable hotdesking while under a ladder.


True. But not because this is bad luck or anything; it just seems kind of silly to be doing anything while under a ladder. If you need to enable hotdesking then come out from under that ladder, for crying out loud!


If you aren't sure if you do want to enable hotdesking, then maybe it would help if we explained what hotdesking is. Hotdesking enables users to log on to a common area phone (like, say, a phone in a building lobby or a cafeteria) by using their Lync Server account. Why would you even want to do that? Well, among other things, this provides you with access to your contacts and other Lync-related information.


So now you do want to enable hotdesking? That's fine; just run this command:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –EnableHotdesking $True


Just promise us you won't run that command while under a ladder.


To kill an albatross causes all the hyperlinks in an instant message to become clickable.


False. OK, admittedly, we didn't actually kill any albatrosses in order to test this superstition. (Although we did call a couple of them names and try to hurt their feelings a little.) That's partly because we didn't really have any burning desire to kill an albatross, and partly because grave misfortune is supposed to fall upon anyone who kills an albatross. The truth is, we already have enough grave misfortune without doing anything to add to that.


Besides, we found out that there's a way to enable clickable hyperlinks in instant messages without having to kill an albatross: you just need to set the EnableUrl property to True:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –EnableUrl $True


We thank you, and the albatrosses of the world definitely thank you.



If you dream you are falling and you don't wake up before you hit the ground then your users will only be allowed to have a maximum of 100 Microsoft Lync contacts.


False. Although it took a little bit of doing, we were eventually able to dream about falling and force ourselves not to wake up before we hit the ground. No matter how many times we did this, the number of contacts our users were allowed to have never changed.




Instead, we discovered that a better way to limit users to a maximum of 100 contacts is to change the value of the MaximumNumberOfContacts property:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –MaximumNumberOfContacts 100


By the way, and in case you're wondering, that other old superstition, the one that says if you dream you are falling and you don't wake before you hit the ground then you'll die? Turns out that one is true.


Animals can talk at midnight on Christmas Eve, but the only thing they can talk about is how there's no way to hide the Frequent Contacts list in Microsoft Lync.


True. Or at least we think it's true; after all, we did drink a lot of egg nog this past Christmas Eve. Nevertheless, we're positive that, come midnight, we heard the animals talking. And here's the crazy thing about that: they really were discussing the "fact" that there's no way to hide the Frequent Contacts list in Microsoft Lync. Needless to say, that's ridiculous: everyone knows that you can hide the Frequent Contacts list by running a command similar to this one:


Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –ShowRecentContacts $False


Animals. Go figure, huh?



Comments (4)
  1. Hugo P. says:

    Thanks for the information… and thanks for making it funny to read. 😉

  2. bret says:

    I have tried on 3 different installations to hide the recent contacts and am unable to do so. Is there something that I am missing?

    My Command is as follows:

    Set-CSClientPolicy -Identity CompanyClientPolicy -ShowRecentContacts $False

  3. CSPShell says:

    Hey Bret,

    Sorry it took us a little while to track this one down. When we tried it we got the same results you did. As it turns out, ShowRecentContacts is a carryover from a policy in OCS 2007 R2, and it doesn't actually do anything in Lync 2010. There are no Recent Contacts anymore, and this parameter has no effect on the Frequent Contacts. We're stil looking into it, but it looks like there's no way to use client policies to hide Frequent Contacts.

    Sorry we don't have a better answer for you.

  4. fred says:

    Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity RedmondClientPolicy –DisablePresenceNote $False dont work as expected … this will only grayed this option in Lync client AND uncheck the checkbox !!! just as the $true value would . The only way is to set this property to $null, then user is able to check or uncheck thi option in the Lync client. But something is missing …how to "grayed the option in Lync client AND force the box to be checked ?"

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content