Lots of information has been coming out around Skype for Business, both server and client side. One of the more intriguing parts of this product upgrade is the ability to change the client from the Lync UI to the new Skype for Business UI. The client will be updated through a Windows update coming out in April 2015 (more information here), and if you’re not prepared, you might get the new UI whether you like it or not.

The ability to control which UI is used is controlled through either a client policy or registry key. In our Lync 2013 environment, we are at the latest February 2015 cumulative update. I’m not sure when they snuck it in, but when viewing our default client policy (Get-CsClientPolicy), there’s a new parameter for “EnableSkypeUI”.

I decided to test out if the technical preview would respect if this setting was set to $True or $False. I created a separate client policy (New-CsClientPolicy) and left the EnableSkypeUI parameter with a blank value. I downloaded and installed the client update, and at the initial client launch it was still the Lync UI. I signed out and reopened the client where I was greeted with the Skype for Business UI. It looks like leaving these new parameter with a blank value with give you the Skype for Business UI.

I changed the value back to $False to disable the Skype UI. I closed and reopened the client and it was still the Skype UI. I repeated this process and the client returned to the Lync UI. My guess is the client policy is processed when you log into the client, so it takes another round of reopening the client for it to switch interfaces.

Upon changing the EnableSkypeUI value to $True and another round of closing and reopening the client, I was greeted with the new Skype UI. If you are planning on installing the client update next month, might want to look at make sure what your client policies are set to (if the value does exist). If you don’t have that option in your client policy, I would definitely recheck it whenever you apply a Lync cumulative update. There are also registry changes that can be applied that will control the which interface is presented.