We are all going to get a new client for Lync and it is going to look a lot more like Skype. But here’s an interesting thing. With this new client, named “Skype for Business Client” now you or in many instances the administrator of your organization has the ability to change the UI of the client, either to:

  • Skype for Business Client
  • Lync 2013 Client
This new Dual User Experience mode that controls the Lync/Skype UI is managed via in-band settings. The client is by default configured to check for the Server Version of the environment and set up the looks. The below table lists what you may see by default.

 Server Version  Default Client UI
 Skype for Business on premise  Skype for Business
 Skype for Business Online  Skype for Business
 Lync Server 2013  Lync 2013
 Lync Server 2010  Lync 2013

Although this is the case, the Lync/S4B administrator always have the option to change the UI via changing in-band policy settings that will manually override the default UI. If you are an administrator, all you want to do is enable or disable the EnableSkypeUI property from the Client Policy via Skype for Business powershell module. To enable the Skype UI and Lync 2013 UI the following commands can be run respectively.

Set-CSClientPolicy -EnableSkypeUI: <value>*
*<true/false> [True - enables Skype For Business UI | False - Enables Lync 2013 UI]

To see what happens from the users end, head over to REGEDIT, Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Lync and notice the value for EnableSkypeUI;

  • 00 00 00 01 – Skype for Business UI
  • 00 00 00 00 – Lync 2013 UI
Once the UI policy is changed from S4B to Lync 2013, users will receive a notification asking for a client restart, which will change the client UI to Lync 2013.

However, there’s a catch. Based on the UI that you choose to have, the features may vary as show below.

 Feature  Skype UI Lync UI 
 First Run Experience  Yes  No
 New Emoticons  Yes  Yes
 Call and Video Monitor  Yes  No
 Call via Work  Yes  No
 RCC  No  Yes
 Rate my call  Yes  Yes
 Server side conversation history  Yes  Yes
 Skype-Lync Video interop  Yes  Yes

Found anything? Let us know.