Using Remote PowerShell to manage Office 365 | Part 3/3 4/5 (1) 9 min read

Connecting to Exchange Online by using Remote PowerShell

In the current article, we will review how connect to Exchange Online infrastructure by using remote PowerShell.

 

In the former article, we review the steps that we need to use for creating remote PowerShell to Office 365 (Windows Azure Active Directory).

The process of connecting to Exchange Online using remote PowerShell is a bit different because of the following charters:

If you prefer to get more “straight-forward” version of Connect to Exchange Online by using Remote PowerShell, you go use the link: Connecting to Exchange Online with Remote PowerShell– PowerShell Nuggets)

Using Copy & Paste option.

When we manually type a PowerShell command, the command may include a syntax or spelling errors.
To avoid these scenarios, we can use the Copy/Paste option. For example: when a PowerShell command displayed in the article, you can copy the command. Open the PowerShell console, right click on the console and chose the option: “Paste”.

Using Copy & Paste option-07

Step 1 – Run the PowerShell console using administrative rights (Run as Administrator).

To change the PowerShell Execution Policy, we need to run the Windows PowerShell by using the option: Run as administrator
Right click on the PowerShell Console icon and choose the option: Run as administrator.

Update the default PowerShell Execution Policy

By default, the PowerShell console will not allow us to run a script.
We can enable script execution by changing the default PowerShell Execution Policy to Unrestricted. (The default mode is: Restricted).

To change the Execution policy open the PowerShell console and type the command:

Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned-04

To execute PowerShell command, we use the “ENTER” key.

Step 2 – Creating remote session to Exchange Online

For creating the remote connection, we will need to use a set of three PowerShell commands. Each command performs a different task and includes variable that serves as a “container” for information such as user credentials, URL etc.

  1. The first command will cause the PowerShell console to display a “pop out” Authentication window. After entering the required credential, the information will be “delivered” to the “next” command.
  2. The second command includes the “Target URL” of the Exchange Online server who will accept our authentication request.
    The URL that we use, function as a “focal point” for all Office 365 customers. Based on the credentials that we provide (that include our domain name), the request will be redirected to the specific Exchange Online server who hosts our organization mailboxes.
  3. The thread command will download the Exchange Online cmdlets to the local host (the desktop that we use for creating the remote PowerShell session.

Copy the following “Block” of PowerShell commands and paste it on the PowerShell console:

PowerShell command Example

A pop out windows will appear. Type your credentials by using the UPN (user Principal name) format. For example [email protected]

Connect to Exchange Online by using Remote PowerShell-09

Note – the username should have global administrator rights in Office 365.

After executing the command, the following message appears:

“WARNING: Your connection has been redirected to the following URI: “https://pod51013psh.outlook.com/PowerShell-LiveID?PSVersion=2.0 ” WARNING: Your connection has been redirected to the following URI: https://dbxprd0312psh.outlook.com/PowerShell-LiveID?PSVersion=2.0 ”

Connect to Exchange Online by using Remote PowerShell-10

The URL that we use the command: “https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid” serves as a “general address”.

Using the credential information that was provided in the former step, the remote session will be redirected to the specific Exchange Online server who host the mailbox of the user that creates the session (in our example the Exchange Online server address is: dbxprd0312psh.outlook.com)

On the last screen, we can see the process of the import Exchange Online cmdlets

Connect to Exchange Online by using Remote PowerShell-11

Congratulations! You are now connected to the Exchange Online.

Step 3: Verifying the remote PowerShell connection

Q: How can we know if the remote session was successfully created?

A: To verify that we are connected, we type the name of Exchange Online cmdlets such as –
Get-Mailbox.
This command will display a list all the mailboxes that were created.

In the screenshot, you can see the list of Exchange Online mailboxes.

Connect to Exchange Online by using Remote PowerShell-12

Step 4: Disconnecting the Remote PowerShell session

Remote PowerShell session to Exchange Online have built-in limitations:

  1. The extinction of the remote PowerShell session – the maximum time for inactive (idle) remote PowerShell session is 15 minutes (this limitation is quite flexible because I manage to continue a PowerShell session that was idle for more than 15 minutes).
  2. The amount of data that can be transferred to the remote PowerShell “Channel” (throttling) – Exchange Online environment includes a predefined restriction of the amount of data, which can be transferred at one time. This limitation is implemented by using “throttling Policy”.
  3. The number of concurrent remote PowerShell session – the maximum number of concurrent PowerShell session that we can use simultaneously is: three

The best practice is to disconnect a remote PowerShell session after we have finished using the required management tasks.
For disconnecting the remote PowerShell session uses the following command:

Remove-PSSession $Session

The PowerShell indication for the successful execution of commands is a bit poor.
The fact that we didn’t receive an error message implies that the operation of “disconnecting the remote PowerShell Session” was successfully completed.

Q: How can know if the remote session was successfully disconnected?

A: To verify that the remote session was successfully disconnected, you can try to type Exchange Online PowerShell cmdlets such as
Get-Mailbox

The following error will appear:

“The term ‘get-mailbox’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.”

Connect to Exchange Online by using Remote PowerShell-13

This is actually a good sign (the error was expected). After disconnecting the PowerShell session, the PowerShell cmdlets for Exchange Online are no longer available.

Part 4: working with PowerShell cmdlets – basic introduction

In former articles we review the way for creating a remote PowerShell session to the Office 365 and Exchange Online.
In The last part, we will review some basic PowerShell commands that will help us to get familiar with the cmdlets and the PowerShell command syntax.

Display list of the PowerShell cmdlets

Office 365 and Exchange Online include a different set of cmdlets

1. Office 365 cmdlets

To view a list of available Office 365 cmdlets, use following PowerShell command:
Get-command -module msOnline

The name of the Office 365 cmdlets include the string “msol” (Microsoft Online). We can use this naming convention for displaying a list of Office 365 cmdlets, so additional option is to use the command: Get-command *msol*

2. Exchange Online cmdlets

Displaying a list of Exchange Online cmdlets is a bit different from the way that we use for displaying the Office 365 cmdlets. When we create the remote PowerShell session to Exchange Online all the PowerShell cmdlets are dynamically downloaded to the local user Desktop.
In addition the Exchange Online cmdlets don’t have a specific name convention like the Office 365 cmdlets. To view a list of available Exchange Online cmdlets, use following PowerShell command: Get-Command –Module tmp*

Using the AutoComplete feature

The PowerShell console has a very useful feature named: AutoComplete as the name implies, we can use this feature for automatic compilation of PowerShell commands by typing the first letters of command name is using the TAB key.

The AutoComplete option enables us to work quickly and efficiently and in addition help us to avoid from the need to memorize the complete name of the PowerShell command (and avoid from typing syntax mistakes).

Example 1: AutoComplete with Remote PowerShell session to Exchange Online

We want to use the AutoComplete option for the command: Get-Mailbox

Type the command Get-M and hit the TAB key.
You will see that the command is completed automatically to: Get-Mailbox

Example 2: AutoComplete with Remote PowerShell session to Office 365

We want to use the AutoComplete option for the command:Get-MsolUser

Type the command Get-Msoland hit the TAB key.
You will see that the command is completed automatically to: Get-MsolAccountSku.
This is not the command that we wanted.
The Office 365 cmdlets set include a couple of cmdlets that begin with the name “Get-Msol“.

Using the TAB key, we can browse through all the cmdlets until we will reach the required cmdlets. In our example, we will need to hit the TAB key couple of time until the “right” command (Get-MsolUser) will be displayed.

An additional option that we could use for helping the PowerShell console to “understand” better what we need is -typing the command Get-Msolu, the addition of the “u” letter will get us to the exact command that we need.

Using PowerShell help

Using the PowerShell is based on a specific syntax that we need to use. One of the distinct advantages of the PowerShell environment is the good help reference for each of the PowerShell cmdlets.
To get information about specific cmdlets when can use the following command:
Get-Help
For example: to learn about the way we use the Get-MsolUser cmdlets type the following command Get-Help Get-MsolUser

If you need more information or examples about how to use the command, we can add the “Detailed” option: Get-Help Get-MsolUser -Detailed

An additional option that we can use is displaying help information in HTML format.
We can use this nice trick by adding the option “Online”.
For example: Get-help Get-mailbox –Online

Note – in the current time the “Online option” is available only for the Exchange Online environment.

Summary

In this three parts article series, we learn about:

  • Why do we need to use PowerShell for managing the Office 365 cloud environment.
  • How to use remote PowerShell for managing Office 365 and Exchange Online.
  • How to use PowerShell Basic introduction: using PowerShell cmdlets, using the AutoComplete feature and how to get information about the cmdlets that available for us.

I hope you enjoy reading and, May the force of PowerShell will be with you!

Additional reading

Using Remote PowerShell to manage Office 365 | Article series index

Now it’s Your Turn!
We really want to know what you think about the article

Related Post

Please rate this

Eyal Doron on EmailEyal Doron on FacebookEyal Doron on GoogleEyal Doron on LinkedinEyal Doron on PinterestEyal Doron on RssEyal Doron on TwitterEyal Doron on WordpressEyal Doron on Youtube
Eyal Doron
Share your knowledge.
It’s a way to achieve immortality.
Dalai Lama

10 Responses to “Using Remote PowerShell to manage Office 365 | Part 3/3”

  1. Great post but you have a problem. Paste the code snippet again b/c there is a wacky special character that causes the script t fail (somewhere in/before AllowRediction). It causes PowerShell to errors (unless you manually type that part of the command):

    Basic -AllowRedirection

    Again great post!!!!

  2. Is it possible to find Unread emails using PowerShell from user mailbox. If yes can you help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *