Unable to search for new users

Occasional Contributor



I've noticed that since September, users aren't able to search for any new users. Whether its typing a name into the TO box on Outlook Web App or searching for them in Office 365 Groups, new users created over the summer just don't appear. I can't figure out why. I, as an admin account, don't have the issue. But normal teachers and students are struggling. 


Anyone know why as I'm at a loss. 



5 Replies

I'd be curious to know if you have a different Address Book Policy created [Get-AddressBookPolicy] should return empty if you haven't created a new one).


1. Compare the AddressListMembership parameter ["(Get-Mailbox <user>).AddressListMembership"] between your account and one of the affected user accounts

2. ["Get-OrganizationConfig | select HierarchicalAddressBookRoot"] to verify if there's a HAB created

Could be. To my knowledge though we don't but the o365 tenancy was setup very strangely. I'll give those commands ago. PS isn't my strongest skill though. 



So I've run them commands and found some interesting things out.

The first Get-AddressBookPolicy command shows that I have 5 address books. These were setup before I started at the school though so I'm not sure where they are located or how to change them.

The second command I ran for myself and a user that is not showing up when searched for. We both had the same outcomes but they were in different orders though. IE I had the Default Global Address List at the top of the results, where as the other user had it at the bottom. I don't really know what that means though.

The last command i guessed would show me the hierachy of the address book and answer my question from the 2nd command. But it displays lots of data that I don't know much about.

I had a friend who is a lot more Office365 savvy than I am look at it and he was puzzled too saying the 3rd command didn't show anything.

So not to sure what it all means I'm afraid.

I am not sure if the order matters as well, but if you are not using the other address book policies I would delete them. No reason to keep them there, as that could be the cause of the problem.


Also, I would want to know if this is isolated to Outlook/Address books or O365 as a whole.


So if your users go to Word Online, and go to share a file, are they able to search for users there? If so then 100% this is an address book/autodiscover type issue that needs to be addressed. If you have the same problems searching for users in other applications then you have something bigger going on.



Good news is you've identified where the problem lies, bad news is it appears to be a complex setup (not unusual though). There definitely seems to be a reason why you have this setup, so unwrapping them would be the first step.


Having no Address Book policy assigned to a user would mean he/she can view the complete address book in entire org. In case that's what you're looking for you can run:

Set-Mailbox user -AddressBookPolicy:$Null


More info: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/address-books/address-book-policies/assign-an-address-book...


HABs simply helps search for users in the org by org hierarchy, thus providing an efficient way to find a user. More info: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/address-books/hierarchical-address-books/hierarchical-addr...