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About this update

The April 4, 2017, update for Skype for Business enables IT administrators to hide the Skype for Business Contacts folder in Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Web App. To do this, administrators can use a new client policy GPO entry, EnableExchangeContactsFolder, by setting its value to $false.

Administrators may want to hide the Skype for Business Contacts folder in some cases to prevent stale or inaccurate Contact Card data from appearing to Outlook or Skype for Business clients. Clients must be updated in order to honor this policy setting in on-premises environments. After the folder is hidden, a Skype for Business client no longer adds contact data from this source to the Contact Card that is displayed.

In most cases, the ability to search your Skype for Business contacts in Outlook or Outlook Web App is not affected. Additionally, Microsoft Skype for Business 2016 clients that have the EnableExchangeContactSync policy parameter enabled will continue to synchronize contact updates to Microsoft Exchange Server.

If you use the latest Office 365 Outlook Web App, you can see the Skype for Business contacts directly in the Skype for Business 2016 chat sidebar. Similarly, if you use the mobile or desktop client, you can use the Skype for Business 2016 client to view the Skype for Business contacts.

About the EnableExchangeContactsFolder policy

To understand the effects of the EnableExchangeContactsFolder GPO or in-band policy settings more clearly, refer to the following table.


EnableExchangeContactSync = $true

EnableExchangeContactSync = $false

EnableExchangeContactsFolder = $false (or not set at all)

EnableExchangeContactsFolder = $true

EnableExchangeContactsfolder = n/a (true or false or not set at all)

Read Skype for Business contacts from Exchange




Write Skype for Business contacts to Exchange




Favorite Skype for Business contacts synchronized to Exchange

Yes in UCS mode only

Yes in UCS mode only

Yes in UCS mode only

Phone numbers for contacts synchronized to Exchange for friends and family relationships




Skype for Business folder is visible in OWA/Outlook




Search OWA for Skype for Business Contacts




Search Windows Outlook for Skype for Business contacts




* Skype for Business contacts, including public and enterprise federated contacts, are accessible through Skype for Business native or web app. Enterprise contacts are available directly through People Search in Outlook and OWA.
Note If the Skype for Business Contacts folder is hidden, the Skype for Business client will not make it visible when the policy is changed.

** Searching Windows Outlook for Skype for Business contacts works if the Skype for Business Windows client application is running in the background.

Hiding the Skype for Business Contacts folder

After you install this update to hide the Skype for Business Contacts folder, the on-premises administrator can set the EnableExchangeContactsFolder policy to $false by using the Set-CsClientPolicy cmdlet and the PolicyEntry parameter. For example, run the following cmdlets:

$x = New-CsClientPolicyEntry -Name "EnableExchangeContactsFolder" -Value "$false"

Set-CsClientPolicy -Identity global -PolicyEntry @{Add=$x}

For more details and examples, see the Set-CsClientPolicy and New-CsClientPolicyEntry TechNet topics.

For Microsoft Office 365, the default value for this setting will be set to $false in a future update. After that update is applied, the Skype for Business Contacts folder will be hidden on a system that has the Office 365 client build 16.0.7870.2020 or a later build installed.

How to get this update

For Click-to-Run installations

To get the current update, you must have latest Click-to-Run client for your respective Office release channel installed.

For MSI-based installations

To get the current update, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article, as appropriate:

To determine whether your Office installation is Click-to-Run or MSI-based, follow these steps:

  1. Start an Office 2016 application.

  2. On the File menu, select Account.

  3. For Office 2016 Click-to-Run installations, an Update Options item is displayed. For MSI-based installations, the Update Options item isn't displayed.

Office 2016 Click-to-Run installation

MSI-based Office 2016

The screenshot for Word click to run

The screenshot for Word MSI

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