howto://customise Lync 2016 status messages and enable stealth mode

Yes, the permalink is for 2013, but this has been updated for 2016. Using a couple of registry key adds and a simple XML file, you can enable both stealth mode, and custom presence. Simple pleasures….

1. Create an XML file on your desktop using your favourite text editor and call it presence.xml.

2. Paste the following text into that file, making sure you don’t get smart quotes by accident.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
< customStates
xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/09/2005/communicator/customStates"
xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
xsi:schemaLocation=
"http://schemas.microsoft.com/09/2005/communicator/customStates
">
< customState ID="1" availability="online">
< activity LCID="1033">Loving my commute</activity>
< /customState>
< customState ID="2" availability="busy">
< activity LCID="1033">Deadline looming, send coffee</activity>
< /customState>
< customState ID="3" availability="busy">
< activity LCID="1033">But not at my PC...call my cell.</activity>
< /customState>
< customState ID="4" availability="do-not-disturb">
< activity LCID="1033">Presenting, so everyone will see</activity>
< /customState>
< /customStates>

Or you can just download my version, found here. Hooray for Dropbox! What??? You don’t have a Dropbox? Inconceivable! Click here my friend for 2GB of free storage!

3. Launch regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\.

4. Create a key structure below that point for Skype 2013 so that you have a full path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync

For Skype 2016 use
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\office\16.0\Lync

5. Then, you will need to tell Lync it can accept a presence.xml file without using HTTPS. Create a REG_DWORD called EnableSIPHighSecurityMode and set that value to 0.

6. Next, create a REG_SZ (string) called CustomStateURL and give it a value of “file:///C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Lync/presence.xml” if you are running 64bit, or “file:///C:/Program Files/Microsoft Lync/presence.xml” if you are running 32bit. In either case, don’t include the quotes.
edit-Check for lync.exe and use whatever path lync.exe is actually in. Your install path may vary slightly from above. For Skype 2016, the path is C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16

7. Then, create a REG_DWORD called EnableAppearOffline and give it a value of 1. Now you understand the image 😉

Or, you can just download my reg file and merge it into your registry if you are using 32bit Lync on 64bit Windows 8. Here’s another chance to get that free 2GB of storage!

8. Copy the presence.xml file to whichever path from step 5 is appropriate for you.

9. Exit and relaunch Lync, and see your new status options.

Two more things to keep in mind. First, don’t leave yourself as “Appear Offline” for too long, or folks will think you’re goofing off. Second, federated contacts won’t see your custom messages. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you want them to see it to, change their relationship to “colleagues.”

3 Replies to “howto://customise Lync 2016 status messages and enable stealth mode”

  1. is this for the Microsoft lync software? if so, will my IT dept, be able to detect this? Thanks

    1. It is, though if you are still using Lync rather than the Skype client, you’re pretty out of date, and the registry keys are a little different.
      And no, not from the server, but if they were to scan your machine for registry keys, or be looking on the server for connected users and also have you in the contact list as showing offline, they might wonder WTF.

  2. I’m always late and I hope this will help my status. I want to stay in stealth mode while at work so I can eat Del Taco at my desk and appear busy.

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