On TenForums.com where I volunteer as a team member, we have replaced Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams Free for our regular TenForums Live webcasts. These webcasts are online meetings, open to all TenForums (TF) members and guests alike. I set up these meetings using my O365 Enterprise account and credentials, then share a link at TF for anyone to join totally anonymously with per meeting selected username. No personal information, not even an email address was / is ever collected from TF Live attendees.
Some issues with Teams Free are that it not only requires users to join with a Microsoft account email, but also Teams Free has no scheduled meetings option. This is a big negative when doing regular webcasts about specific topics (our next planned webcast covers how to use Hyper-V differencing disks).
David, a fellow member at TF approached me with a personal message. He told me that he accidentally found out that he could sign in to the Azure portal using the MS email he had used to sign up for Teams Free. Interestingly, it showed full control for Azure AD users. I had to study this a bit more, to find a way to get scheduled meetings and, owing to GDPR, to support a totally anonymous (no personal data collected) method for users to join a TenForums Live team using Teams Free.
When a user signs up for Teams Free, an organization (company) must be named. This organization can of course be totally imaginary:
We use the full version of Teams here at Win10.guru, but I want to keep the “professional” Teams separate from my voluntary work on TenForums. The first step in preparing to switch from Skype for Business open meetings to Teams Free was to set up a new MS account for that purpose and sign up to Teams Free using it, creating an organization TenForums. Signing in to Teams, I immediately noticed that the “Meetings” button is missing. This means that is not possible to schedule meetings:
Add scheduled meetings to Teams Free
Now to assign kudos where kudos belongs. Without David’s tip I hadn’t even thought about signing in to Azure with the MS account used to sign up for Teams Free. Although Microsoft has clearly left out the option to schedule meetings in Teams Free on purpose, they might not have realized that Azure offers a workaround for this deficiency. Here’s how to exploit this situation:
Sign in to the Azure portal using the MS account you used to sign up for Teams Free. Selecting Azure Active Directory > Users, you will see that you have been added as a global admin for your organization / team as admin@OrganizationName.onmicrosoft.com. In this example, user Larry Laffer named his imaginary company Leisuresuit Inc. when signing up for Teams Free. Thus, he is shown as admin@LeisuresuitInc.onmicrosoft.com,
To add scheduled meetings to Teams Free, we need to add another global admin to our organization. Select Azure Active Directory > Users > New user:
Enter the new user’s name and username as AnyName@OrganizationName.onmicrosoft.com. Click Groups and select your organization:
Select Directory role and set the new user as Global administrator:
Note the temporary one-time password which user must change at the first logon, then click the Create button to create this new user:
Select the new admin user. Before a license can be assigned, user location must be set and saved:
Select Licenses > Assign:
Select Products and select Microsoft Teams (free):
Done! The license has been assigned to your new global admin:
Download Teams application, sign in with your new global admin credentials. Password must be changed at first login:
Scheduled meetings feature is now available. You can create a team and invite users:
On Ten Forums, we decided not to invite users by email. Instead, I wrote a tutorial about how to join TenForums Live team, asking members to either post in tutorial thread or message me if they want AnyName@TenForums.onmicrosoft.com credentials to join the team. This way, no personal data is collected, no email required and the team remains fully GDPR compliant.
The team is growing, so we have a new platform for live webcasts. The only downside is that we have to add each user to the Azure portal as described above. That said, it takes me only a minute to add a new user through the Azure portal, and another minute to send that person’s new credentials as a personal message on TF.
As a side note, the Microsoft team responsible for Microsoft Teams development runs weekly open meetings for anyone interested in Teams:
The FREE version of #MicrosoftTeams is available to all! Join us tomorrow @10am PT to talk to the people behind Teams and get your questions answered. Add it to your calendar using the “Add to Device” option here: https://t.co/uW8xXKbs1a pic.twitter.com/kBl4QFkjqN
— Microsoft Teams (@MicrosoftTeams) November 5, 2018
I participated in that weekly meeting on Tuesday this week. I asked if this loophole to get scheduled meetings and anonymous invites was left in on purpose. I was somewhat surprised to learn that the team members hosting this meeting had no idea about this method for using the Azure portal. In fact, after the meeting, I got this message from one of the MS team members and meeting organizers:
This is Annika from Microsoft Teams.
As we discussed – the admin portal is not supported in Teams Free, so the way to add users is to invite them from the Manage Org page or the dialog from the Invite button down to the left.
Thanks for being a Teams champion!
Official methods notwithstanding, this unofficial method works, and it works well. It might of course happen that Microsoft blocks this loophole as it is clearly meant to be impossible. Until then, however, you can get scheduled meetings in Teams Free and ask anonymous users to join your team!
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.