Synchronizing Exchange Online/Office 365 User Profile Photos with FIM/MIM


This is Part Two in the two-part blog post on managing users profile photos with Microsoft FIM/MIM. Part one here detailed managing users Azure AD/Active Directory profile photo. This post delves deeper into photos, specifically around Office 365 and the reason why you may want to manage these via FIM/MIM.


User profile photos should be simple to manage. But in a rapidly moving hybrid cloud world it can be a lot more complex than it needs to be. The best summary I’ve found of this evolving moving target is from Paul Ryan here.

Using Paul’s sound advice we too are advising our customers to let users manage their profile photo (within corporate guidelines) via Exchange Online. However as described in this article photos managed in OnPremise Active Directory are synchronized to Azure AD and on to other Office365 services only once. And of course we want them to be consistent across AD DS, Azure AD, Exchange Online and all other Office365 Services.

This post details synchronizing user profile photos from Exchange Online to MIM for further synchronization to other systems. The approach uses a combination of Azure GraphAPI and Exchange Remote PowerShell to manage Exchange Online User Profile Photos.

The following graphic depicts the what the end goal is;

Current State

  • Users historically had a photo in Active Directory. DirSync/ADSync/AzureADConnect then synchronized that to Azure AD (and once only into Office 365).
  • Users update their photo in Office365 (via Exchange Online and Outlook Web Access)
    • the photo is synchronized across Office365 Services

Desired State

  • An extension of the Current State is the requirement to be able to take the image uploaded by users in Exchange Online, and synchronize it back to the OnPremise AD, and any other relevant services that leverage a profile photo
  • Have AzureADConnect keep AzureAD consistent with the new photo obtained from Office365 that is synchronized to the OnPrem Active Directory
  • Sync the current photo to the MIM Portal

Synchronizing Office365 Profile Photos

Whilst Part-one dealt with the AzureAD side of profile photos as an extension to an existing AzureAD PowerShell Management Agent for FIM/MIM, I’ve separated out the Office365 side to streamline it and make it as efficient as possible. More on that later. As such I’ve created a new PowerShell Management Agent specifically for Office365 User Profile Photos.

I’m storing the Exchange Online photo in the MIM Metaverse as a binary object just as I did for the AzureAD photo (but in a different attribute ). I’m also storing a checksum of the photos (as I did for the AzureAD Photo, but also in a different attribute) to make it easier for comparing what is in Azure AD and Exchange Online, to then be used to determine if changes have been made (eg. user updated their profile photo).

Photo Checksum

For generating the hash of the profile photos I’m using Get-Hash from the Powershell Community Extensions.  Whilst PowerShell has Get-FileHash I don’t want to write the profile photos out to disk and read them back in just to get the checksum. That slows the process up by 25%. You can get the checksum using a number of different methods and algorithms. Just be consistent and use the same method across both profile photos and you’ll be comparing apples with apples and the comparison logic will work.

Some notes on Photos and Exchange Online (and MFA)

This is where things went off on a number of tangents. Initially I tried accessing the photos using Exchange Online Remote PowerShell.

CAVEAT 1: If your Office365 Tenant is enabled for Multi-Factor Authentication (which it should be) you will need to get the Exchange Online Remote PowerShell Module as detailed here. Chances are you won’t have full Office365 Admin access though, so as long as the account you will be using is in the Recipient Management Role you should be able to go to the Exchange Control Panel using a URL like<tenantname>&wa=wsignin1.0 where tenantname is something like From the Hybrid menu on in the right handside pane you will then be able to download the Microsoft.Online.CSE.PSModule.Client.application I had to use Internet Explorer to download the file and get it installed successfully. Once installed I used a few lines from this script here to load the Function and start my RPS session from within PowerShell ISE during solution development.

CAVEAT 2: The EXO RPS MFA PS Function doesn’t allow you to pass it your account password. You can pass it the identity you want to use, but not the password. That makes scheduled process automation with it impossible.

CAVEAT 3: The RPS session exposes the Get-UserPhoto cmdlet which is great. But the RPS session leverages the GraphAPI. The RPS PS Module doesn’t refresh it’s tokens, so if the import takes longer than 60 minutes then using this method you’re a bit stuffed.

CAVEAT 4: Using the Get-UserPhoto cmdlet detailed above, the syncing of photos is slow. As in I was only getting ~4 profile photos per minute slow. This also goes back to the token refresh issue as for pretty much any environment of the size I deal with, this is too slow and will timeout.

CAVEAT 5: You can whitelist the IP Address (or subnet) of your host so MFA is not required using Contextual IP Addressing Whitelisting. At that point there isn’t really a need to use the MFA Enabled PREVIEW EXO RPS function anyway. That said I still needed to whitelist my MIM Sync Server(s) from MFA to allow integration into the Graph API. I configured just the single host. The whitelist takes CIDR format so that looks like /32 (eg.

Performance Considerations

As I mentioned above,

  • using the Get-UserPhoto cmdlet was slow. ~4 per minute slow
  • using the GraphAPI into Exchange Online and looking at each user and determining if they had a photo then downloading it, was also slow. Slow because at this customer only ~50% of their users have a photo on their mailbox. As such I was only able to retrieve ~145 photos in 25 minutes. *Note: all timings listed above were during development and actually outputting the images to disk to verify functionality. 

Implemented Solution

After all my trial and error on this, here is my final approach and working solution;

  1. Use the Exchange Online Remote PowerShell (non-MFA version) to query and return a collection of all mailboxes with an image *Note, add an exception for your MIM Sync host to the white-listed hosts for MFA (if your Office365 Tenant is enabled for MFA) so the process can be automated
  2. Use the Graph API to obtain those photos
    • with this I was able to retrieve ~1100 profile photos in ~17* minutes (after ~2 minutes to query and get the list of mailboxes with a profile photo)


There’s a lot of info above, so let me summarize the pre-requisties;

  • The Granfeldt PowerShell MA
  • Whitelist your FIM/MIM Sync Server from MFA (if your Office 365 environment is enabled for MFA)
  • Add the account you will run the MA as, that will in turn connect to EXO via RPS to the Recipient Management Role
  • Create a WebApp for the PS MA to use to access users Profile Photos via the Graph API (fastest method)
  • Powershell Community Extensions to generate the image checksum

Creating the WebApp to access Office365 User Profile Photos

Go to your Azure Portal and select the Azure Active Directory Blade from the Resource Menu bar on the left. Then select App Registrations and from the Manage Section of the Azure Active Directory menu, and finally from the top of the main pane select “New Application Registration“.

Give it a name and select Web app/API as the type of app. Make the sign-in URL https://localhost and then select Create.

Record the ApplicationID that you see in the Registered App Essentials window. You’ll need this soon.

Now select All Settings => Required Permissions. Select Read all users basic profiles in addition to Sign in and read user profile. Select Save.

Under Required Permissions select Add and then select 1 Select an API, and select Office 365 Exchange Online then click Select.

Choose 2 Select Permissions and then select Read user profiles and Read all users’ basic profiles. Click Select.

Select Grant Permissions

From Settings select Keys, give your key a Description, choose a key lifetime and select Save. RECORD the key value. You’ll need this along with the WebApp ApplicationID/ClientID for the Import.ps1 script.

Using the information from your newly registered WebApp, we need to perform the first authentication (and authorization of the WebApp) to the Graph API. Taking your ApplicationID, Key (Client Secret) and the account you will use on on the Management Agent (and that you have assigned the Recipient Management Role in Exchange Online) and run the script detailed in this post here. It will authenticate you to your new WebApp via the GraphAPI after asking you to provide the account you will use on the MA and Authorizing the permissions you selected when registering the app. It will also create a refresh.token file which we will give to the MA to automate our connection. The Authorization dialog looks like this.

Creating the Management Agent

Now we can create our Management Agent using the Granfeldt PowerShell Management Agent. If you haven’t created one before checkout a post like this one, that further down the post shows the creation of a Granfeldt PSMA. Don’t forget to provide blank export.ps1 and password.ps1 files on the directory where you place the PSMA scripts.

PowerShell Management Agent Schema.ps1

PowerShell Management Agent Import.ps1

As detailed above the PSMA will leverage the WebApp to read users Exchange Profile Photos via the Graph API. The Import script also leverages Remote Powershell into Exchange Online (for reasons also detailed above). The account you run the Management Agent as will need to be added to the Recipient Management Role Group in order to use Remote PowerShell into Exchange Online and get the information required.

Take the Import.ps1 script below and update;

  • Update lines 11, 24 and 42 for the path to where you have put your PSMA. Mine is under the Extensions directory in a directory named EXOPhotos.
  • copy the refresh.token generated when authenticating and authorizing the WebApp earlier into the directory you specified in line 42 above.
  • Create a Debug directory under the directory you specified in lines 11,24 and 42 above so you can see what the MA is doing as you implement and debug it the first few times.
  • I’ve written the Import to use Paged Imports, so make sure you tick the Paged Imports checkbox on the configuration of the MA
  •  Update Lines 79 and 80 with your ApplicationID and Client Secret that you recorded when creating your WebApp

Running the Exchange User Profile Photos MA

Now that you have created the MA, you should have select the EXOUser ObjectClass and the attributes defined in the schema. You should also create the EXOPhoto (as Binary) and EXOPhotoChecksum (as String) attributes in the Metaverse on the person ObjectType (assuming you are using the built-in person ObjectType).

Configure your flow rules to flow the EXOPhoto and EXOPhotoChecksum on the MA to their respective attributes in the MV.

Create a Stage Only run profile and run it. If you have done everything correctly you will see photos come into the Connector Space.

Looking at the Connector Space, I can see EXOPhoto and EXOPhotoChecksum have been imported.

After performing a Synchronization to get the data from the Connector Space into the Metaverse it is time to test the image that lands in the Metaverse. That is quick and easy via PowerShell and the Lithnet MIIS Automation PowerShell Module.

$me = Get-MVObject -ObjectType person -Attribute accountName -Value "drobinson"
[System.Io.File]::WriteAllBytes("c:\temp\myOutlookphoto.jpg" ,$me.Attributes.EXOPhoto.Values.ValueBinary )

The file is output to the directory with the filename specified.

Opening the file reveals correctly my Profile Photo.


In Part one we got the AzureAD/Active Directory photo. In this post we got the Office365 photo.

Now that we have the images from Office365 we need to synchronize any update to photos to Active Directory (and in-turn via AADConnect to Azure AD). Keep in mind the image size limits for Active Directory and that we retrieved the largest photo available from Office365 when synchronizing the photo on. There are a number of PowerShell modules for photo manipulation that will allow you to resize accordingly.

Understanding Password Sync and Write-back

For anyone who has worked with Office 365/Azure AD and AADConnect, you will of course be aware that we can now sync passwords two ways from Azure AD to our on-premises AD. This is obviously a very handy thing to do for myriad reasons, and an obvious suggestion for a business intending to utilise Office 365. The conversation with the security bod however, might be a different kettle of fish. In this post, I aim to explain how the password sync and write-back features work, and hopefully arm you with enough information to have that chat with the security guys.

Password Sync to AAD

If you’ve been half-listening to any talks around password sync, the term ‘it’s not the password, it’s a hash of a hash’ is probably the line you walked away with, so let’s break down what that actually means. First up, a quick explanation of what it actually means to hash a value. Hashing a value is applying a cryptographic algorithm to a string to irreversibly convert that string into another sting of a fixed length. This differs from encryption in that with encryption we intend to be able to retrieve the data we have stored, so must hold a decryption key – with hashing, we are unable to derive the original string from the hashed string, and nor do we want to. If it makes no sense to you that we wouldn’t want to reverse a hashed value, it will by the end of this post.

So, in Active Directory when a user sets their password, the value stored is not actually the password itself, it’s an MD4 hash of the password once it’s been converted to Unicode Little Endian format. Using this process, my password “nicedog” ends up in Active Directory as 2993E081C67D79B9D8D3D620A7CD058E. So, this is the first part of the “hash of a hash”.

The second part of the “hash of a hash” is going to go buck wild with the hashing. Once the password has been securely transmitted to AADConnect (I won’t detail that process, because we end up with our original MD4 hash anyway), the MD4 hash is then:

  1. Converted to a 32-byte hexadecimal string
  2. Converted into binary with UTF-16 encoding
  3. Salted with 10 additional bytes
  4. Resultant string hashed and re-hashed 1000 times with HMAC-SHA256 via PBKDF2

So, as you can see, we’re actually hashing the hash enough to make Snoop Dogg blush. Now, we finally have the have the hash which is securely sent to Azure AD via an SSL channel. At this point, the hashed value which we send is so far removed from the original hash that even the most pony-tailed, black tee-shirt and sandal wearing security guy would have to agree it’s probably pretty secure. Most importantly, if Azure AD was ever compromised and an attacker did obtain your users password hashes, they are unable to be used to attack any on-premises infrastructure with a “pass the hash” attack, which would be possible if AD’s ntds.dit was compromised and password hashes extracted.

So now Azure AD has these hashes, but doesn’t know your passwords – how are user’s passwords validated? Well it’s just a matter of doing the whole thing again with a user provided password when that user logs on. The password is converted, salted, hashed and rehashed 1000 times in the exact same manner, meaning the final hash is exactly the same as the one stored in Azure AD – the two hashes are compared, and if we have a match, we’re in. Easy. Now let’s go the other way.

Password Write-back to AD

So how does it work going back the other way? Differently. Going back the other way, we can’t write a hash ourselves to Active Directory, so we need to get the actual password back from AAD to AD and essentially perform a password reset on-prem allowing AD to then hash and store the password. There are a couple of things which happen when we install AADConnect and enable Password Write-back to allow us to do this

  1. Symmetric keys are created by AAD and shared with AADConnect
  2. A tenant specific Service Bus is created, and a password for it shared with AADConnect

The scenario in which we are writing a password back from AAD to AD is obviously a password reset event. This is the only applicable scenario where we would need to, because a password is only set in AAD if that user is “cloud only”, so they would of course not have a directory to write back to. Only synced users need password write-back, and only upon password reset. So AAD gets the password back on-premises by doing the following:

  1. User’s submitted password is encrypted with the 2048-bit RSA Key generated when you setup write-back
  2. Some metadata is added to the package, and it is re-encrypted with AES-GCM
  3. Message sent to the Service Bus via and SSL/TLS channel
  4. On-premises AADConnect agent wakes up and authenticates to Service Bus
  5. On-premises agent decrypts package
  6. AADConnect traces cloudanchor attribute back to the connected AD account via the AADConnect sync engine
  7. Password reset is performed for that user against a Primary Domain Controller

So, that’s pretty much it. That’s how we’re able to securely write passwords back and forth between our on-premises environment and AAD without Microsoft ever needing to store a user’s password. It’s worth noting for that extra paranoid security guy though that if he’s worried about any of the encryption keys or shared passwords being compromised, you can re-generate the lot simply by disabling and re-enabling password writeback.

Hopefully this post has gone some way towards helping you have this particular security conversation, no matter what year the security guys Metallica tour tee-shirt is from.

Azure AD Connect – Upgrade Errors



Azure AD Connect is the latest release to date for Azure AD sync or previously known as Dirsync service. It comes with some new features which make it even more efficient and useful in Hybrid environment. Besides many new features the primary purpose of this application remains the same i.e. to sync identities from your local (On-Prem) AD to Azure AD.

Of the late I upgraded an AD sync service to AD connect and during the install process I ran into a few issues which I felt are not widely discussed or posted on the web but yet are real world scenarios which people can face during AD connect Install and configuration. Let’s discus them below.


Installation Errors

The very first error is stumped up on was Sync service install failure. The installation process started smoothly and Visual C++ package was installed and sql database created without any issue but during synchronization service installation, process failed and below screen message was displayed.


Event viewer logs suggested that the installation process failed because of install package could not install the required dll files. The primary reason suggested that the install package was corrupt.


sync install error


Actions Taken:

Though I was not convinced but for sake of busting this reason I downloaded new AD connect install package and reinstalled the application but unfortunately it failed at same point.

Next, I switched from my domain account to another service account which was being used to run AD sync service on current server. This account had higher privileges then mine but unfortunately result was the same.

Next I started reviewing the application logs located at following path.


And at first look I found access denied errors logged in. What was blocking the installation files? Yes, none other but the AV. Immediately contacted security administrator and requested to temporarily stop AV scanning. Result was a smooth install on next attempt.

I have shared below some of the related errors I found in the log files.





Configuration Errors:

One of the important configurations in AD connect is the Azure Ad account with global administrator permissions. If you are creating a new account for this purpose and you have not logged on with it to change first time password, then you may face with below error.



Nothing to panic about. All you need to do is log into Azure portal using this account, change password and then add credentials with newly set password into configuration console.

Another error related to Azure Ad sync account was encountered by one of my colleague Lucian and he has beautifully narrated the whole scenario in one of his cool blogs here: Azure AD Connect: Connect Service error


Other Errors and Resolutions:

Before I conclude, I would like to share some more scenarios which you might face during install/configuration and post install. My Kloudie fellows have done their best to explain them. Have a look and happy AAD connecting.


Proxy Errors

Configuring Proxy for Azure AD Connect V1.1.105.0 and above


Sync Errors:

Azure AD Connect manual sync cycle with powershell, Start-ADSyncSyncCycle


AAD Connect – Updating OU Sync Configuration Error: stopped-deletion-threshold-exceeded


Azure Active Directory Connect Export profile error: stopped-server-down









It’s time to get your head out of the clouds!


For those of you who know me, you are probably thinking “Why on earth would we be wanting to get our heads out of the “Cloud” when all you’ve been telling me for years now is the need to adopt cloud!

This is true for the most part, but my point here is many businesses are being flooded by service providers in every direction to adopt or subscribe to their “cloud” based offering, furthermore ICT budgets are being squeezed forcing organisations into SaaS applications. The question that is often forgotten is the how? What do you need to access any of these services? And the answer is, an Identity!

It is for this reason I make the title statement. For many organisations, preparing to utilise a cloud offering` can require months if not years of planning and implementing organisational changes to better enable the ICT teams to offer such services to the business. Historically “enterprises” use local datacentres and infrastructure to provide all business services, where everything is centrally managed and controlled locally. Controlling access to applications is as easy as adding a user to a group for example. But to utilise any cloud service you need to take a step back and get your head back down on ground zero, look at whether your environment is suitably ready. Do you have an automated simple method of providing seamless access to these services, do you need to invest in getting your business “Cloud Ready”?

image1This is where Identity comes to the front and centre, and it’s really the first time for a long time now Identity Management has become a centrepiece to the way a business can potentially operate. This identity provides your business with the “how’ factor in a more secure model.

So, if you have an existing identity management platform great, but that’s not to say it’s ready to consume any of these offerings, this just says you have the potential means. For those who don’t have something in place then welcome! Now I’m not going to tell you products you should or shouldn’t use, this is something that is dictated by your requirements, there is no “one size fits all” platform out there, in fact some may need a multitude of applications to deliver on the requirements that your business has, but one thing every business needs is a strategy! A roadmap on how to get to that elusive finish line!

A strategy is not just around the technical changes that need to be made but also around the organisational changes, the processes, and policies that will inevitably change as a consequence of adopting a cloud model. One example of this could be around the service management model for any consumption based services, the way you manage the services provided by a consumption based model is not the same as a typical managed service model.

And these strategies start from the ground up, they work with the business to determine their requirements and their use cases. Those two single aspects can either make or break an IAM service. If you do not have a thorough and complete understanding of the requirements that your business needs, then whatever the solution being built is, will never succeed.

So now you may be asking so what next? What do we as an organisation need to do to get ourselves ready for adopting cloud? Well all in all there are basically 5 principles you need to undertake to set the foundation of being “Cloud Ready”

  1. Understand your requirements
  2. Know your source of truth/s (there could be more then one)
  3. Determine your central repository (Metaverse/Vault)
  4. Know your targets
  5. Know your universal authentication model

Now I’m not going to cover all these in this one post, otherwise you will be reading a novel, I will touch base on these separately. I would point out that many of these you have probably already read, these are common discussion points online and the top 2 topics are discussed extensively by my peers. The point of difference I will be making will be around the cloud, determining the best approach to these discussions so when you have your head in the clouds, you not going to get any unexpected surprises.

Send mail to Office 365 via an Exchange Server hosted in Azure

Those of you who have attempted to send mail to Office 365 from Azure know that sending outbound mail directly from an email server hosted in Azure is not supported due to elastic nature of public cloud service IPs and the potential for abuse. Therefore, the Azure IP address blocks are added to public block lists with no exceptions to this policy.

To be able to send mail from an Azure hosted email server to Office 365 you to need to send mail via a SMTP relay. There is a number of different SMTP relays you can utilise including Exchange Online Protection, more information can be found here:

To configure Exchange Server 2016 hosted in Azure to send mail to Office 365 via SMTP relay to Exchange Online protection you need to do the following;

  1. Create a connector in your Office 365 tenant
  2. Configure accepted domains on your Exchange Server in Azure
  3. Create a send connector on your Exchange Server in Azure that relays to Exchange Online Protection

Create a connector in your Office 365 tenant

  1. Login to Exchange Online Admin Center
  2. Click mail flow | connector
  3. Click +
  4. Select from: “Your organisation’s email server” to: “Office 365”o365-connector1
  5. Enter in a Name for the Connector | Click Nexto365-connector2
  6. Select “By verifying that the IP address of the sending server matches one of these IP addresses that belong to your organization”
  7. Add the public IP address of your Exchange Server in Azureo365-connector3

Configure accepted domains on your Exchange Server in Azure

  1. Open Exchange Management Shell
  2. Execute the following PowerShell command for each domain you want to send mail to in Office 365;
  3. New-AcceptedDomain -DomainName -DomainType InternalRelay -Name Contosoaccepted-domain1

Create a send connector on your Exchange Server in Azure that relays to Exchange Online Protection

  1. Execute the following PowerShell command;
  2. New-SendConnector -Name “My company to Office 365” -AddressSpaces * -CloudServicesMailEnabled $true -RequireTLS $true -SmartHosts -TlsAuthLevel CertificateValidationsend-connector1

Free/busy Exchange hybrid troubleshooting with Microsoft Edge

Those of you who have configured Exchange hybrid with Office 365 before know that free/busy functionality can be troublesome at times and not work correctly.

Instead of searching through Exchange logs I found that you can pin point the exact error message through Microsoft Edge to assist with troubleshooting.

To do so;

  1. Open Microsoft Edge and login to Office 365 OWA ( with an Office 365 account
  2. Create a new meeting request
  3. Press F12 to launch developer tools
  4. Conduct a free/busy lookup on a person with a mailbox on-premises
  5. Select the Network tab
  6. Select the entry with “GetUserAvailability”devtools-getuseravailability
  7. Select the body tab (on the right hand side)
  8. The MessageText element will display the exact error messagedevtools-messagetext

WAP (2012 R2) Migration to WAP (2016)

In Part 1, and Part 2 of this series we have covered the migration from ADFS v3 to ADFS 2016. In part 3 we have discussed the integration of Azure MFA with ADFS 2016, and in this post (technically part 4) we will cover the migration or better yet upgrade WAP 2012 R2 to WAP 2016.

Again, this blog assumes you already have installed the Web Application Proxy feature while adding the Remote Access role. And have prepared the WAP server to be able to establish a trust with the Federation Service.

In addition, a friendly reminder once again that the domain name and federation service name have changed from to The certificate of expired before completing the lab, hence the change.

Before we begin however, the current WAP servers (WAP01, WAP02) are the only connected servers that are part of the cluster:


To install the WebApplicationProxy, run the following cmdlet in PowerShell:

Install-WindowsFeature Web-Application-Proxy -IncludeManagementTools

Once installed, follow these steps:

Step 1: Specify the federation service name, and provide the local Administrator account for your ADFS server.


Step2: Select your certificate


Step 3: Confirm the Configuration4

Do this for both the WAP servers you’re adding to the cluster.

Alternatively, you could do so via PowerShell:

$credential = Get-Credential
Install-WebApplicationProxy -FederationServiceName "" -FederationServiceTrustCredential $credential -CertificateThumbprint "071E6FD450A9D10FEB42C77F75AC3FD16F4ADD5F" 

Once complete, the WAP servers will be added to the cluster.

Run the following cmdlet to get the WebApplication Configuration:


You will notice that we now have all four WAP servers in the ConnectedServersName and are part of the cluster.

You will also notice that the ConfigurationVersion is Windows Server 2012 R2. Which we will need to upgrade to Windows Server 2016.


Head back to the one of the previous WAP servers running in Windows Server 2012 R2, and run the following cmdlet to remove the old servers from the cluster, and keep only the WAP 2016 Servers:

 Set-WebApplicationProxyConfiguration -ConnectedServersName WAP03, WAP04 

Once complete, check the WebApplicationProxyConfiguration by running the Get-WebApplicationProxyConfiguration cmdlet.

Notice the change in the ConnectServersName (this information is obtained from WAP Server 2012 R2).


If you run the Get-WebApplicationProxyConfiguration from WAP 2016, you will get a more detailed information.


The last remaining step before publishing a Web Application (in my case) was to upgrade the ConfigurationVersion, as it was still in Windows Server 2012 R2 mode.

If you already have published Web Application, you can do this any time.

Set-WebApplicationProxyConfiguration -UpgradeConfigurationVersion

When successful, check again your WebApplicationProxyConfiguration by running


Notice the ConfigurationVersion:


You have now completed the upgrade and migration of your Web Application Proxy servers.

If this is a new deployment, of course you don’t need to go through this whole process. You WAP 2016 servers would already be in a Windows Server 2016 ConfigurationVersion.

Assuming this was a new deployment or if you simply need to publish a new Web Application, continue reading and follow the steps below.

Publishing a Web Application

There’s nothing new or different in publishing a Web Application in WAP 2016. It’s pretty similar to WAP 2012 R2. The only addition Microsoft added, is a redirection from HTTP to HTTPS.

Steps 1: Publishing a New Web Application


Step 2: Once complete, it will appear on the published Web Applications. Also notice that we only have WAP03, and WAP04 as the only WAP servers in the cluster as we have previously remove WAP01 and WAP02 running Windows Server 2012 R2.


There you have it, you have now upgraded your WAP servers that were previously running WAP 2012 R2 to WAP 2016.

By now, you have completed migrating from ADFS v3 to ADFS 2016, integrated Azure MFA with ADFS 2016, and upgraded WAP 2012 R2 to WAP 2016. No additional configuration is required, we have reached the end of our series, and this concludes the migration and upgrade of your SSO environment.

I hope you’ve enjoyed those posts and found them helpful. For any feedback or questions, please leave a comment below.

How to create an AzureAD Microsoft Identity Manager Management Agent using the MS GraphAPI and Differential Queries


In August 2016 I wrote this post on how to use PowerShell to leverage the Microsoft GraphAPI and use Differential Queries. The premise behind that post was I required a Microsoft Identity Manager Management Agent to synchronize identity information from AzureAD into Microsoft Identity Manager. However the environment it was intended for has a large AzureAD implementation and performing a Full Sync every-time is just to time consuming. Even more so with this limitation that still exists today in MIM 2016 with SP1.

In this blog post I’ll detail how to implement a PowerShell Management Agent for FIM/MIM to use the MS GraphAPI to synchronize objects into FIM/MIM, supporting Delta and Full Synchronization run profiles. I’m also using my favourite PowerShell Management Agent, the Granfeldt PowerShell Management Agent.


I’m using the ADAL helper library from the AzureADPreview PowerShell Module. Install that module on you MIM Sync Server via PowerShell (WMF5 or later) using the PowerShell command;

Install-Module AzureADPreview

Getting Started with the Granfeldt PowerShell Management Agent

If you don’t already have it, what are you waiting for. Go get it from here. Søren’s documentation is pretty good but does assume you have a working knowledge of FIM/MIM and this blog post is no different.

Three items I had to work out that I’ll save you the pain of are;

  • You must have a Password.ps1 file. Even though we’re not doing password management on this MA, the PS MA configuration requires a file for this field. The .ps1 doesn’t need to have any logic/script inside it. It just needs to be present
  • The credentials you give the MA to run this MA are the credentials for the account that has permissions to the AzureAD/Office365 Tenant. Just a normal account is enough to enumerate it, but you’ll need additional permissions if you intend to write-back to AzureAD.
  • The path to the scripts in the PS MA Config must not contain spaces and be in old-skool 8.3 format. I’ve chosen to store my scripts in an appropriately named subdirectory under the MIM Extensions directory. Tip: from a command shell use dir /x to get the 8.3 directory format name. Mine looks like C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~4\2010\SYNCHR~1\EXTENS~2\AzureAD


My Schema is based around enumerating and managing users from AzureAD. You’ll need to create a number of corresponding attributes in the Metaverse Schema on the Person ObjectType to flow the attributes into. Use the Schema info below for a base set of attributes that will get you started. You can add more as required. I’ve prefixed most of them with AAD for my implementation.

If you want to manage Groups or Contacts or a combination of object types, you will need to update the Schema.ps1 script accordingly.


The logic that the Import.ps1 implements is the same as detailed here in my post using Differential Queries. Essentially, perform a full import and create a file with the cookie/watermark. Allow Delta Sync run profiles to be performed by requesting the GraphAPI to return only changes since the cookie/watermark.

You’ll need to update the script for your AzureAD Tenant name on Line 28. Also the path to where the cookie file will go and the debug file if your path is different to mine. Lines 11, 46 and 47.

Importing of the attributes is based around the names in the Schema.ps1 scripts. Any changes you made there will need to be reflected in the import.ps1.

Password Script (password.ps1)

Empty as not implemented


Empty as not implemented in this example. If you are going to write information back to AzureAD you’ll need to put the appropriate logic into this script.

Management Agent Configuration

With the Granfeldt PowerShell Management Agent installed on your FIM/MIM Synchronisation Server, in the Synchronisation Server Manager select Create Management Agent and choose “PowerShell” from the list of Management Agents to create.

As this example is for Users, I’ve named my MA accordingly.

As per the tips above, the format for the script paths must be without spaces etc. I’m using 8.3 format and I’m using an Office 365 account to connect to AzureAD/Office365 and import the user data.

Paths to the Import, Export and Password scripts. Note: the Export and Password PS1 scripts files exist but are empty.

Object Type as configured in the Schema.ps1 file.

Attributes as configured in the Schema.ps1 file.

Anchor as per the Schema.ps1 file.

The rest of the MA configuration is up to your implementation. What you are going to join on and what attributes flow into the MV will vary based on your needs and solution. At a minimum you’d probably be looking to do a join on immutableID (after some manipulation) or UPN and flow in attributes such as AADAccountEnabled etc.

Completing the Configuration

To finalise the MA you’ll need to do the usual tasks of creating run profiles, staging the connector space from AzureAD/Office365 and syncing into the Metaverse. Once you’ve done your initial Stage/Full Sync you can perform Delta Sync’s.


A “Full Import” on a small AzureAD (~8500 Users) took 2 minutes.
A subsequent “Delta Import” with no changes took 6 seconds.

A similar implementation of the logic, but for Groups gives similar results/performance.
A  “Full Import” on a small AzureAD (~9800 Groups) took 5 minutes.
A subsequent “Delta Import” with 7 Adds (new Groups) and 157 Updates took 1 minute.


Follow Darren on Twitter @darrenjrobinson

ADFS v 3.0 (2012 R2) Migration to ADFS 4.0 (2016) – Part 3 – Azure MFA Integration

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we have covered the migration from ADFS v3 to ADFS 2016. In this series we will continue our venture in configuring Azure MFA in ADFS 2016.

Azure MFA – What is it about?

It is a bit confusing when we mention that we need to enable Azure MFA on ADFS. Technically, this method is actually integrating Azure MFA with ADFS. MFA itself is authenticating on Azure AD, however, ADFS is prompting you enter an MFA code which will be verified with the Azure AD to sign you in.

In theory, this by itself is not a multi-factor authentication. When users choose to login with a multi-factor authentication on ADFS, they’re not prompted to enter a password, they simply will login with the six digit code they receive on their mobile devices.

Is this secure enough? Arguably. Of course users had to previously set up their MFA to be able to login by choosing this method, but if someone has control or possession of your device they could simply login with the six digit code. Assuming the device is not locked, or MFA is setup to receive calls or messages (on some phones message notifications will appear on the main display), almost anyone could login.

Technically, this is how Azure MFA will look once integrated with the ADFS server. I will outline the process below, and show you how we got this far.


Once you select Azure Multi-Factor Authentication you will be redirected to another page


And when you click on “Sign In” you will simply sign in to the Office or Azure Portal, without any other prompt.

The whole idea here is not much about security as much as it is about simplicity.

Integrating Azure MFA on ADFS 2016

Important note before you begin: Before integrating Azure MFA on ADFS 2016, please be aware that users should already have setup MFA using the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app. Or they can do it while first signing in, after being redirected to the ADFS page. The aim of this post is to use the six digit code generated by the mobile app.

If users have MFA setup to receive calls or texts, the configuration in this blog (making Azure MFA as primary) will not support that. To continue using SMS or a call, whilst using Azure MFA, the “Azure MFA” need to be configured as a secondary authentication method, under “Multi-Factor”, and “Azure MFA” under “Primary” should be disabled.

Integrating Azure MFA on ADFS 2016, couldn’t be any easier. All that is required, is running few PowerShell cmdlets and enabling the authentication method.

Before we do so however, let’s have a look at our current authentication methods.


As you have noticed, that we couldn’t enable Azure MFA without first configuring Azure AD Tenant.

The steps below are intended to be performed on all AD FS servers in the farm.

Step 1: Open PowerShell and connect to your tenant by running the following:


Step 2: Once connected, you need to run the follow cmdlets to configure the AAD tenant:

$cert = New-AdfsAzureMfaTenantCertificate -TenantID

When successful, head to the Certificate snap in, and check that a certificate with the name of your tenant has been added in the Personal folder.


Step 3: In order to enable the AD FS servers to communicate with the Azure Multi-Factor Auth Client, you need to add the credentials to the SPN for the Azure Multi-Factor Auth Client. The certificate that we generated in a previsou step,  will serve as these credentials.

To do so run the following cmdlet:

New-MsolServicePrincipalCredential -AppPrincipalId 981f26a1-7f43-403b-a875-f8b09b8cd720 -Type asymmetric -Usage verify -Value $cert


Note that the GUID 981f26a1-7f43-403b-a875-f8b09b8cd720 is not made up, and it is the GUID for the Azure Multi Factor Authentication client. So you basically can copy/paste the cmdlet as is.

Step 4: When you have completed the previous steps, you can now configure the ADFS Farm by running the following cmdlet:

Set-AdfsAzureMfaTenant -TenantId -ClientId 981f26a1-7f43-403b-a875-f8b09b8cd720

Note how we used the same GUID from the previous step.


When that is complete, restart the ADFS service on all your ADFS farm servers.

net stop adfssrv

net start adfssrv

Head back to your ADFS Management Console and open the Authentication method and you will notice that Azure MFA has been enabled, and the message prompt disappeared.



If the Azure MFA Authentication methods were not enabled, then enable them manually and restart the services again (on all your ADFS servers in the farm).

Now that you have completed all the steps, when you try and access Office 365 or the Azure Portal you will be redirected to the pages posted above.

Choose Azure Multi-Factor Authentication


Enter the six digit code you have received.


And then you’re signed in.


By now you have completed migrating from ADFS v3 to ADFS 2016, and in addition have integrated Azure MFA authentication with your ADFS farm.

The last part in this series will be about WAP 2012 R2 upgrade to WAP 2016. So please make sure to come back tomorrow and check in details the upgrade process.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts so far. For any feedback or questions, please leave a comment below.



ADFS v 3.0 (2012 R2) Migration to ADFS 4.0 (2016) – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we have been getting ready for our ADFS v3.0 migration to ADFS v4.0 (ADFS 2016).

In part 2 we will cover the migration process, step-by-step. However, a friendly reminder that this series does not cover installation of ADFS and federation from scratch. This post assumes you already have a federated domain and Single Sign On (SSO) for your applications.

You may notice domain change and federation service name change from to This doesn’t impact our migration, the certificate for expired before completing the lab. : )

Migration Process – ADFS – Phase 1:

Assuming you already have installed the Active Directory Federation Services on your new ADFS 2016 servers, and if not, then you could do so through PowerShell:

Install-windowsfeature adfs-federation -IncludeManagementTools

Once complete, follow these steps:

Step 1: Add the new ADFS 2016 server to the existing farm


Step 2: Connect to AD2

Step 3: Specify the primary Federation server (or federation service).3

Step 4: Select your certificate4

Step 5: Select your service account. For the sake of this lab, I created a user and gave it permission to run the ADFS service. It is advisable however, to use a group managed service account (gMSA).5

Step 6: Complete.

The warnings below are irrelevant to the ADFS 2016 server being added to the farm.6

Alternatively, you could do so through PowerShell:

If you’re using Windows Internal Database:

 Import-Module ADFS

#Get the credential used for the federation service account

$serviceAccountCredential = Get-Credential -Message "Enter the credential for the Federation Service Account."

Add-AdfsFarmNode `
-CertificateThumbprint:"071E6FD450A9D10FEB42C77F75AC3FD16F4ADD5F" `
-PrimaryComputerName:"" `


Import-Module ADFS

$credentials = Get-Credential

Install-AdfsFarm `
-CertificateThumbprint:"071E6FD450A9D10FEB42C77F75AC3FD16F4ADD5F" `
-FederationServiceDisplayName:"SwayIT" `
-FederationServiceName:"" `
Once the machine has restarted, open the ADFS Management Console, and you’ll notice it’s not the primary federation server in the farm. Now you need to make the newly added ADFS 2016 server as primary. Follow the steps below.

Once the newly added ADFS 2016 server run the following cmdlet:

Step 1:

Set-AdfsSyncProperties -Role PrimaryComputer


Open the ADFS Management Console and you’ll notice that ADFS03 (our ADFS2016 server) is now primary:


Step 2: Run the following cmdlet on all other federation servers in the farm

Set-AdfsSyncProperties -Role SecondaryComputer -PrimaryComputerName 

Step 3: Run the following cmdlet on the secondary server to confirm that the ADFS Properties are correct.



Migration Process – ADPREP – Phase 2

Now that we’ve made our new ADFS 2016 Server as primary, it is time to upgrade the schema.

Assuming you had already downloaded Windows Server 2016 ISO file, and if not, you can obtain a copy from TechNet Evaluation Centre.

I performed these steps on the ADFS2016 server:

  1. Open a command prompt and navigate to support\adprep directory.
  2. Type in: adprep /forestprep


Once the first step is complete, you will get “The command has completed successfully.”

Next run: adprep /domainprep2

Migration Process – ADFS – Phase 3:

At this stage we had already completed:

  • Adding ADFS 2016 to the existing farm
  • Promoting one of the new ADFS2016 server as primary
  • Pointing all secondary server to the primary server
  • Upgraded the schema

Next phase is to remove the existing ADFS v3 (ADFS 2012 R2) from the Azure Load Balancer (or any load balancer you have in place).

After you have removed ADFS v3 from the load balancer, and possibly from the farm (or simply by having them turned off) you will need to raise the Farm Behavior Level (FBL).

When raising the FBL, any ADFS v3 server will be removed from the farm automatically. So you don’t have to remove them yourself.

When the ADFS v3 servers are no longer part of the farm, I would like to recommend to keep them turned off, should anything go wrong you simply can go back on turning the ADFS v3 servers, make one primary, and in this case you may avoid impacting the business.

If you find yourself in this situation, just make sure everything else is pointing to the ADFS v3.

When you’re ready again, just start from the beginning in adding ADFS 2016 back to the farm.

Here are the steps:

  1. On the Primary ADFS 2016 server open an elevated PowerShell and run the following cmdlet:


As you may have noticed, it automatically detected which ADFS servers the operation will be performed on. Both ADFS03 and ADFS04 are ADFS 2016 versions.

During the process, you will see the usual PowerShell execution message:


Once complete, you will see a successful message:


If the service account had failed to be added to the Enterprise Key Admins group, do it manually.

In order to confirm the Farm Behavior Level, run the following cmdlet:



If you go to, and enter the email address of a federated domain, you should be redirected to your ADFS login page:


And this is it. You have successfully migrated from ADFS v3.0 to ADFS 2016.

The next post in our series is on Azure MFA integration with ADFS 2016, so make sure to please come back tomorrow to check in details the configuration process.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. For any feedback or questions, please leave a comment below.