Office 365 – Changing last name of a user [EN]

User’s last name change was never a trivial change for us. There are so many places and systems, that have to be updates. Some require to change the name, some even require to create a new user and delete old one. With the on-premises Exchange we were used to just rename the user in AD (leaving its username (pre-Win2000 UPN) the same) and then create new mail alias and make it primary. Recently i had to do this for a synced Exchange Online user and that was “fun”. For the most part it worked fine. But i’m already developing a habit, that sometimes with MS cloud services you just have to wait for things to start working. Say you just setup new OneDrive user and try to share a file. It doesn’t send sharing notification emails? Try next day. It should work then..So, the whole procedure looked like that:

  • Rename the user in AD changing her (yeah, who else change their last name 🙂 ) Display Name, Full Name and Username (which was already converted to firstname.lastname@domain.tld when we were preparing to sync users to Azure AD for the first time). We are still using old UPN usernames in some local systems, so we are leaving that username as it was.
  • Change the Email field on the General tab in user’s AD card;
  • In the user’s AD card go to Attributes tab (if it is not there, you have to enable Advanced Features in View menu in the users snap-in window), edit the proxyAddresses entry:
    • Create SMTP:firstname.newlastname@domain.tld;
    • Delete SMTP:firstname.oldlastname@domain.tld;
    • Create smtp:firstname.oldlastname@domain.tld.
  • Wait for the sync or force it one the server you have Azure AD Connect running with this PowerShell command:
    Import-Module ADSync
    Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType Delta
  • Be prepared for it to take a while to change. New aliases start working internally immediately. You can send an email to a new address and it should arrive to the user’s mailbox. It could take 15-20 minutes for the new alias to start receiving emails from the outside.
  • SIP address (you can see it in the mailbox properties in EAC) will change automatically after 30 or so minutes. Once it changes, the user will have to relogin in Skype for Business, by pressing Change near the Sign-in address and changing the login username to firstname.newlastname@domain.tld.
  • Outlook will ask to enter credentials at some point – enter the new username (firstname.newlastname@domain.tld);
  • If that user had shared mailboxes assigned, you don’t have to do anything. Permissions will work and the name will change in the Mailbox Delegates window.
  • The slowest change is the outgoing address. In my experience it only changed next day. No matter what i did (deleting and adding account in Outlook, deleting and creating new mail profile) it was still sending emails from the old address. Even when logged in via OWA. So, just wait and check next day.
  • If that user is using email on her phone via ActiveSync – delete and add the account again.
  • This user will show with her old last name in Skype for Business search and contacts until Outlook’s offline address book updates for all the other users. Usually next day it should show new last name when searching for that user or in the list if you have it added already.
  • Change or ask user to change all the regular stuff like her name and initials in Office apps, her signature in Outlook or OWA, etc.

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