We have Skype for Business Server 2015 up & running in the office! Testing is proceeding apace. Today’s post comes from the first thing I noticed.

One of the new features is integration with the Skype Directory. You can now add Skype users into your Skype for Business client. All it takes is a search.

Except my searches didn’t yield any Skype Directory results. Just the usual “My Contacts” and “Chat Rooms”.

I asked Larry about this. He confirmed that Skype is listed in our SIP Federated Providers. The Skype for Business Server installation went (fairly) smoothly. Edge services are working. What gives?

Skype? Hello, Can You Hear Me?

There’s a note on this TechNet page, as follows:

If Skype for Business Server is already configured to connect with Windows Messenger by using Public Instant Messaging Connectivity (PIC), your deployment is already configured for Skype connectivity. The only change you may want to consider is to rename your existing Messenger PIC entry as Skype.

Apparently our pre-existing configuration to federate with Windows Messenger should be enough. But it’s not. Skype Connectivity requires a little more work to behave properly.

After consulting TechNet further, and a few of our fellow IT bloggers, we made the following changes.

How to Re-Enable Skype Connectivity – IF You Have PIC Provisioned

Before anything else: Communication with public federated providers requires PIC (Public Instant-Messaging Connectivity) provisioning. If you’ve federated your Lync Server with providers like Yahoo or AOL already, PIC is provisioned.

The following instructions work ONLY if you already enabled PIC for your Lync Server, pre-Skype for Business upgrade.

  1. Step 1: Enable Skype-Skype Federation on your Edge Server. Open Topology Builder to access the Edge Server. You’re looking for the Enable Federation screen (like this).

    Enable Skype Federation
    Image courtesy of TechNet.
  2. Step 2: Verify that Ports 4443 between Front End/Edge, and Port 443 outbound on Edge are open & working. 4443 is the same port used by CMS; it should already be open, but check anyway. You’ll need to check your firewall for Port 443 outbound.
  3. Step 3: Remove and re-add Skype from the SIP Federated Providers list in Skype for Business Control Panel.
    • Click the Skype entry.
    • Click Edit -> Delete.
    • Click New -> Public Provider.
    • In the new provider window, enable these options.
      • Check the box for “Enable communications with this provider”
      • Provider Name: Skype
      • Access Edge service (FQDN): federation.messenger.msn.com
      • Default verification level: Select “Allow users to communicate with everyone using this provider”.
    • Click Commit.
  4. Step 4: Restart Front End and Edge. Very important! If you don’t restart the services on Front End and Edge, the Skype Directory remains inaccessible.
  5. Step 5: Log out & log back in on your Skype for Business client.

That’s all. The old “yank it out and redo it”.


(Note: This can be done in PowerShell as well. However the cmdlet is long and cumbersome. You’ll find it in the cited pages below, if you prefer that route.)

If you don’t have any federation/PIC enabled, you have a few more steps to take. Please follow the full/”from scratch” steps listed on these pages:

The same search functionality is available in Skype for Business Online. I haven’t worked with this yet, so I’ll direct you to the TechNet and UC Guys posts linked above for the how-to.

After we re-entered Skype as a SIP Federated Provider – and restarted the servers – guess what? Skype Directory names flooded into my search results. Exactly as expected.

What Skype for Business Server feature would you like more information about? Please comment or email. I’ll keep all requests in mind while digging through the new server.

How to (Re-)Enable Skype Directory Search in the Skype for Business Client
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7 thoughts on “How to (Re-)Enable Skype Directory Search in the Skype for Business Client

  • June 23, 2015 at 12:27 am

    I tried the GUI approach but that did not enable the skype search properties for me. I had to use the powershell from the link you already provided.

    • June 24, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Glad the PowerShell approach worked for you then! Did you happen to see an error message for the GUI approach? Might help determine what happened.

  • October 22, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Thanks for the good walkthrough here. However step 4 is obsolete, restarting the servers is not necessary.

    Appreciate your work.


  • November 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I have a built a brand new S4B Server environment from scratch including a brand new AD forest, Exchange, SQL, S4B servers, etc. Everything works great, even Skype Federation itself works great, what doesn’t work is Skype Directory Search. I get the Skype Directory option in the client, but when I perform a search I get this;

    An error occurred during the search. Please try again, and contact your support team if the problem continues.

    I’ve ever tried the steps above, even though it was a new environment I tried the remove/re-add (since I did the new environment portion correctly when I set it up) and I still can’t get it to work. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I’ll probably end up opening a ticket with MS. Has anyone else experienced what I am? I can even IM Skype users I’ve added before and I can add them the old school way no problem, it’s only skype directory search that fails.


    • November 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm


      Thanks for the comment. Everything works, except for directory search? Weird. I’ll ask the full Lync/Skype4B team if they’ve encountered this recently. Anyone else have a thought on this? Please comment!

  • November 14, 2015 at 3:17 am

    I’ve just performed an Edge server upgrade for my organisation. We’ve also got the exact same issue – PIC is/was already enabled, Skype Directory tab shows in search, but we get the “error occurred during search” message.

    I’ve removed and re-added the provider and Front ends and Edges have all been rebooted. I’ll probably do them all one more time to be sure.,


  • November 3, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    After you’ve done all the steps/requirement in https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn705313.aspx, you will have to

    a. restart FE servers

    b. Re-run Step (2) in Deployment Wizard on Edge servers

    c. Restart Edge service on Edge servers

    It then should work! I was stuck on this for 3 days for making research and found this! Thank you very much for the knowledge sharing.

    BTW, Microsoft please hire more decent Tech Writers that https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn705313.aspx missing steps is really troublesome for someone to follow and it will not work until the step (a)/(b)/(c) above complete


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