Lync MX and Skype Crash on Windows 8.1

I got around to upgrading my main laptop to Windows 8.1 this week (finally!) and found I was unable to open the Metro-version apps of both Lync and Skype. They would start to open, show me the splash screen, and then exit. After a bit of digging it appears the crash is caused by the display adapter driver. Seems like Intel still has some issues with their driver for the HD 4000 Graphics on 8.1 and there doesn't seem to a fix.

In case it saves someone else the time, I've already tried all of the following revisions, the latest of which was released less than two weeks ago:

  • (Windows 8 version)

So you may want to hold off on that upgrade if you have an Intel HD 4000 chip and rely on Lync MX or Skype heavily.

Lync Mobile on a Windows Phone 7 Emulator

Looking to try out Lync Mobile on Windows Phone 7, but don't have a Windows Phone? That was my scenario when I needed to troubleshoot a sign-in issue specific to WP7. I figured it would be as easy as firing up the WP7 emulator, but there are a few roadblocks here such as the fact that a WP7 emulator exists, but you can't access the Marketplace in it. There are some workarounds for that, but even if manage you launch the Marketplace you can't actually sign in with a Live ID to download anything.

So, Phone7Market to the rescue. This freebie application allows you to download an app from the Marketplace and load it into the emulator. The first thing you'll need is the Windows Phone 7 emulator so start by downloading and installing the Windows Phone 7 SDK from Microsoft.

Now that you have the SDK installed you can launch the emulator, but as you can see there's not much you can do with it out of the box:

Next you'll need to download and install the Phone7Market application in order to load Lync Mobile.

After installing, open the Phone7Market program and search for Lync.

Right-click the Lync 2010 result, select Quick actions, and select Deploy to Emulator.

This should launch your WP7 emulator and you'll see the Lync 2010 application loaded for you:

Tip: Press Page Up once to enable keyboard entry from the host PC. You should be able to sign-in successfully:

Lync to Windows Live A/V Federation

One of the coolest new Lync features is that you can now do A/V federation with Windows Live users, but you'll find this does not work out of the box. First of all, your organization must complete the Public IM Connectivity provisioning process. After that, there are two modifications required even if you've enabled Public IM connectivity for the external access policy assigned to users.

First, there is a hidden parameter allowing A/V federation to PIC only available through the Lync Management Shell. This example modifies the global policy to allow both Public IM and Public IM A/V traffic so change the scope appropriately if you're limiting by site or users.

Set-CsExternalAccessPolicy Global -EnablePublicCloudAccess $true -EnablePublicCloudAudioVideoAccess $true

Secondly, the Windows Live network does not support SRTP encryption of the audio/video traffic, but Lync requires this encryption by default. We need to change Lync to support encryption instead of require it. Once that change is made Lync will prefer encrypted sessions and still negotiate those first, but will allow unencrypted media to be exchanged if it can't agree on encryption. The other Lync default is to only allow VGA video quality, but you can do 720p to Windows Live if both endpoints support it. This example changes the media encryption and video quality at the global level.

Set-CsMediaConfiguration Global -EncryptionLevel SupportEncryption -MaxVideoRateAllowed Hd720p15M

That change should be picked up within 5 minutes on the Front-End. After that, sign out of your Lync client and back in. You can verify the change by holding down the CTRL key, right-clicking the Lync task tray icon, and selecting Configuration Information. The PC to PC AV Encryption should say "AV Encryption Supported" now.

If you don't make this change you'll see an error on Front-End servers when trying to initiate an A/V call that the encryption levels don't match:

Start-Line: SIP/2.0 488 Not Acceptable Here
From: "Eddie Vedder"<>;tag=ed272dd714;epid=8e3ef28192
To: <;mepid=F6333909B2AE4F60A2553FA59913B0A8>; tag=ab1e5513de
USER-AGENT: UCCAPI/4.0.7440.0 WLM/15.4.3502.0922 (Windows Live Messenger)
ms-client-diagnostics: 52017;reason="Encryption levels dont match"

Also, keep in mind the Windows Live user must be using the Windows Live Messenger 2011 version to support Lync A/V federation. When you're connecting a call the Windows Live client will recognize that you're connecting to Lync:

Happy federating!