Microsoft Lync 2013 Preview Released!

February 19, 2013 Updates:

October 2012 Updates:

  1. Microsoft Lync 2013 Released to TechNet and MSDN:
  2. Microsoft Lync 2013 has Released to Manufacturing.  See here for more details: Microsoft Lync 2013 – Ready for Takeoff!
  3. You can download the standalone Office 2013 Preview MSI packages, which includes the Lync 2013 Client Preview on MSDN at:  The MSI download link is at the very bottom of the page.

As part of Microsoft’s announcements today regarding the release of Microsoft Office 2013 Preview, details and a preview of the next release of Microsoft Lync – Microsoft Lync 2013 – were released along with a preview of both the new client and the server. Check-back to this post often – I will be updating it regularly.

The Lync 2013 Client

More information about the Microsoft Lync 2013 Preview can be found here:

You can install an evaluation preview of the Lync 2013 client as part of the “Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Preview”:

Important notes about this Lync 2013 client preview:

  • Once installed, you can use this Lync 2013 client preview to connect to a Lync 2010 on-premises server.
  • You can install the Lync 2013 Preview (and the Office 2013 Preview) side-by-side with the Lync 2010 client (and Office 2010). See Getting Started with the Lync 2013 & Office 365 Preview for more information.
    • Tip: on one machine I had to manually exit the running instance of the Lync 2010 client after installing the Office 2013 Preivew (including Lync 2013) and manually kill the “communicator*32.exe” process before the Lync 2013 Preview application would successfully start.
  • You will need to sign-in with a live-id and fill-out a small form to register for an Office 365 Preview.  See Getting Started with the Lync 2013 & Office 365 Preview for more information.
  • This will allow you to sign-in to a custom Office 365 trial subscription where you can choose to install (not download) the Office 2013 software – including the Lync 2013 client.
  • You can also install this preview client by signing up for a trial Office 365 Small Business Premium or Office 365 Enterprise subscription.
  • The Lync 2013 Preview client runs as the process “Lync.exe”.

Here are the big ticket items from my perspective:

  1. Federation with Skype”. Lync 2013 will support IM, Presence, and peer-to-peer capabilities with Skype users. My understanding is the an on-premises Lync 2013 server will need to federate with Skype first (or an Office 365 Lync online tenant). This is huge. I have not tried this yet, but when you subscribe to Office 2013 in Office 365 (you get ‘Office 2378’ :–)) it includes 60 minutes of Skype every month (credit to Tommy Clarke).
    • Note: as of Aug 6, 2012 Skype federation has not been released yet (that I am aware of). Some think that the public DNS SRV record(s) for Skype will need to be present (e.g.
  2. Chat Room Integration.  No more separate group chat client!
  3. VDI Plug-In. The Lync 2013 client supports audio and video in a VDI environment such as Remote Desktop. The plug-in is a standalone application that installs on the local host computer and handles the pairing of the Lync 2013 client running on the virtual image. For more information:
    • Note: as of Aug 6, 2012 the VDI plug-in is not available to the public.
  4. New Tabbed Conversations Feature.  Multiple IM sessions, calls, and chat room sessions are in one conversation windows in multiple tabs. This will make it much easier to manage all those communication sessions.
  5. The Lync Web App now supports audio and video. Users who do not have the full Lync client installed (e.g. mostly for users outside of your organization) can now participate in Lync conferences with audio and video with just the browser plug-in that comprises the Lync Web App.

The other big piece of functionality is support for the Video Gallery view for video conferencing. This is Microsoft’s answer to the ‘Hollywood square’ experience that many organizations want.  It contains a top row of up to 5 active speakers, and a second row of photo’s containing more than 5 participants that are less active.

Of course, it will run on all Windows 8 devices (and a range of other devices).

A couple of practical tips:

  1. In this preview release the logging and tracing files are stored at:  C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync\Tracing (courtesy of Doug Deitterick’s blog).
  2. There are known compatibility issues between Lync Preview and Visual Studio 2012 RC when installing Office 2013
    Preview via MSI.

The Lync 2013 Server

Also, the Microsoft Lync 2013 Server Preview has also been released. Read about it and download the preview here:

A couple of notes about this preview version:

  1. It is available in 64-bit and 3 languages.
  2. It downloads as an ISO file, so you will need to unpack it to install it (Microsoft has a free tool for this, or I use and like MagicISO Virtual CD/DVD Manager).
  3. There are a couple of pre-requisite installs such as .NET 4.5 RC or greater than you will need to install first – they are included and the installer will walk you through it.
  4. You will need to uninstall any existing Lync 2010 server bits or the installer will give an error “A different version of this product is currently installed”.

Here are some significant new server side features from my perspective:

  1. Group Chat now becomes Persistent Chat and it is now a fully integrated Lync server role and the administration is built into the Lync Control Panel. The main persistent chat services run on the front-end role.
  2. Persistent Chat and Response Groups can be controlled through the normal Lync RBAC roles.
  3. High Availability (HA) can be Achieved with Lync pools – if a server role in one pool fails, another server role can handle the traffic from the failed server.
  4. Instant Messaging with Google Talk is available without a special gateway via the XMPP integration is built into the Front End and Edge servers.
  5. Directors roles are optional. The Lync server Director role is officially an optional server role now. It is formally acknowledged that the Front-Ends can do the traffic redirecting if need be.  The Director role still has value and should be considered in many cases.
  6. Archiving – any document (PowerPoint, Whiteboards, and Attachments) that are used in a Lync conference can be archived into an Exchange 2013 data store (if Exchange integration is enabled).
  7. Unified Contact Store.  This has been discussed for many releases now, but it appears there is a true unified contact store that allows users to keep all of their contact information in Exchange Server 2013, and Lync and Exchange use this for their contact lists. Users can manage their contacts from Lync 2013, Outlook 2013, or Outlook 2013 Web App. This will enabled by default but can be disabled for groups or individuals.
  8. True High Definition Video (1080P) in two-party and multi-party video conference calls.
  9. Lync 2013 will Support the industry Video Standard H.264 AVC/SVC.  As Jeff Schertz points out in his excellent post on this subject however, this does not mean Lync 2013 will be “ to connect to any existing standards-based video conferencing systems”.  It will mean a greater range of resolutions, frame rates, and improvement for video scalability.

Also noteworthy: it appears that only side-by-side migration and co-existence will be supported with OCS 2007 R2 and Lync 2010, but not OCS 2007 R1. You can read more about this here: Supported Server Migration Paths and Coexistence Scenarios.

Other Resources

  1. Previews of all the Office 2013 Applications:
  2. Webcast: Steve Ballmer Announcement:

46 comments to Microsoft Lync 2013 Preview Released!

  • sushant

    Hi Curtis, nice post, very informative. You and the followers here might be interested in a webinar on “Enhancing Unified Communication Experience Through Microsoft Lync SDK and UCMA”
    Key Takeaways:
    1- Introduction to Unified communication, Lync Server platform, Lync SDK and UCMA
    2- What can be done with Lync SDK 2010 and what are the new concepts in Lync SDK 2013?
    3- What can be done with UCMA?
    4- How UCMA and Lync SDK can help enhance unified communication experience? – the concepts explained with sample use cases and industry examples.

    Register here:

  • Josh Lynch


    We’re implementing Lync 2010 multi tenant hosting pack.
    Will there be an upgrade path to Lync 2013? Will there be a multi tenant hosting pack for 2013?



    • Hi Josh,
      Good question. I haven’t heard, and I am not that tied-into the multi tenant hosting pack. I would hazard a *guess* that there will be a 2013 version at some point and the upgrade path will be similar to on-premises: spin-up a new instance side-by-side, migrate, and decommission the old version.


  • Sheila

    Did Lync 2013 bring back the ‘Recent Contacts’ feature from MS Communicator?

  • zhaoyuanbing

    Hi I have one question, for microsoft’s lync client and server, if we hopt connet to them, how can we get one clear technology help, such as the design for envirionment , the clear protocol document for signal interwork,etc on. now we just get these infomation from msdn in one Scattered mode, but no one Centralized mode.

  • Jason Carter

    Is there some change on how the Lync 2013 client connects to Exchange EWS. Using the 2010 Lync client, we have no problems at all, but when we use the Lync 2013 client, we get Outlook integration errors and no conversation history is saved in the Conversation History folder within Outlook. I have tried numerous troubleshooting steps, but I can’t get the error to go away. Posted in Tech Net Lync forums, but no solution offered yet.

    • Hi Jason,
      Yes, I believe there were some changes – like you, I have experienced some integration issues. I know others have as well. I’ll try to pull together some known facts and either do a post or reply to this thread this week.


  • Mayank

    Hi everyone,

    From past few days i have been searching for how can i connect my lync client 2013 to a skype account. but i am not able to find a answer to that.

    and also i want to know the difference of integrating skype with lync 2010 and lync 2013?

    thanks and regards,
    Mayank Aggarwal

    • Hi,
      In a nutshell, full Lync Federation with Skype has not been released yet. How it will work is that you will need your Lync server (or Office 365 Lync Online tenant) to be configured to Federate with Skype. After that is complete you will be able to add Skype contacts to your Lync client and vice-versa.

      Last month Microsoft announced that Microsoft Live Messenger will be gradually retired in-favour of Skype. And it you login to Skype and have a Live Messenger account, Skype will ask you to merge your account.

      Fellow MVP Matt Landis did this merge process, and was able to get basic Presence and IM working between Skype and Lync today (I assume his Lync server was already federated with Microsoft Live Messenger (aka this feature is called PIC federation on the server-side). You can read more about it here:


  • Clark Fillinger

    When will there be a test release of the 2013 mobile Lync client.

    • Hi Clark,
      I am not sure, and I am not sure there will be a Lync 2013 specific mobile client – maybe just more updates and improvements to the existing mobile clients which of course work with Lync Server 2013.


  • Peter

    Hi !
    Do you Know IF lync 2013 is now abble to send back busy tone when you are on a call ?

  • Michael Lisi

    Hi everyone.

    Did you hear the announcement yesterday that Lync video conferencing with iPads, iPhones and standards-based H.323/SIP endpoints is now possible over 3G/4G/LTE and Wifi?

    Here’s the full article:


  • Nigel Walsh

    Hi there – two questions,

    1. is there anyway to make the Lync client work with an older version of Exchange Server?
    2. for Communicator or Lync – is there a plugin (as in outlook for windows) to create a Conference Call


    • Hi Nigel,

      1] Yes the Lync client will work with older versions of Exchange depending on the integration feature and version of Exchange. The “Lync 2010 Compatibility” article in TechNet ( shows which features are supported for Exchange Server 2010, 2007, and 2003.

      2] Yes there is a Outlook plug-in to create Lync Meetings/Conferences.

      a] With Microsoft OCS and the Communicator 2007 and 2007 R2 clients, this was a separate Outlook Add-In called the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook which allowed users to schedule OCS Live Meetings.

      b] With Lync Server and the Lync 2010 client this was called the “Online Meeting Add-in for Microsoft Lync 2010” and it is installed with the Lync 2010 client.

      c] Likewise, with Lync 2013, the Outlook Add-In is installed with the client.

      Hope that helps,

  • James

    Currently we are running Lync 2010 and I have a requirement to embed Lync messenger into a SharePoint site. Presence works great in the SharePoint Application. From my searching , I have not come across anything that implemented embedding Lync messenger into a SharePoint web page. Is this a doable task in Lync 2013.

  • Keith

    We’re looking at possibly going to Lync next year. However this year we just almost completed Microsoft Office 2010 rollout. I’m not interested in Office 2013 or 360 or whatever they are calling it. Isn’t there a stand alone Lync 2013 client? We are not looking to upgrade office.

    Can the Lync 2010 client connect and work with server 2013? Since we don’t have Lync in place now, I’d rather purchase the latest version next year rather than 2010, which will be the previous version then.

    I have the preview and I’m going to try to install it. I had the 2010 trial as well but other projects took precedence and it ran out. I never finished that install either… got part way through it until priorities shifted gears. So do I have to prepare Scheme and AD all over again for 2013 even though it was prepped for 2010 when I did that trial?

    • Hi Keith,

      To-date I have only seen a Lync 2013 Client (the Preview) available as part of the Office 2013 Preview release. I am not sure how licensing and upgrading will work when both products are Generally Available.

      The Lync 2010 client can connect to a Lync 2013 Server (at least in Preview), and I would expect that to stay the same.

      Yes, to install Lync Server 2013 you will need to prep AD. You are probably aware but the AD prep itself is actually quick and easy (the bigger challenge is around impacting change in a production environment).

      Hope that helps,

  • We’re using Lync 2010 via Office 365 Small Business plan. However, the Lync 2010 client is not included for our Mac users.

    Do you know if Lync 2013 for Mac will be available via Office 365? Alternatively, is the new and improved Lync Web App going to be fully functional on a Mac in Firefox, Chrome and/or Safari?

  • ChrisD

    I am using the Office ProPlus preview (which includes Lync 2013). Previously, I was using Lync 2010 and relied heavily on Lync changing my status automatically (especially when my calendar said I was in a meeting). The preview version apparently is having trouble “seeing” my calendar and does not update the status to reflect that I am in a meeting. Thoughts?

  • How can I provide feedback on Lync 2013 Preview?
    There is the “Give Feedback :-)” button at the bottom of the Lync window. I have been able to provide feedback using a similar button in Outlook and OneNote. But when I try in Lync I get this message: “Cannot perform the action because the related web page was not available from your Internet browser. If you have not selected a default web browswer, please specify one in the Control Panel. Otherwise, if the problem continues, plese contact your support team.”
    I saw this behavior on Windows 8 Customer Preview, Windows 8 Pro (RTM), and Windows 8 Enterprise (RTM). So far I don’t have Office Preview 2013 installed on Windows 7 (and don’t currently have any plans… that should make Microsoft happy 🙂 )
    Is there a workaround? Another site I should go to in order to provide feedback?


  • Kevin Hebert

    Just found out 2013 is basically a new install. There is no upgrade path from 2010. So I just spent a year and about 500k installing 2010 and now will have to put another 100-200k in to it for the current version! Not a happy camper right now. So far I am not seeing anything that really warrants the upgrade.

    • Hi Kevin,

      I assume you are referring to the inability to do an in-place upgrade to a Lync 2013 server (which of course you shouldn’t consider doing in production right now anyway because the version of Lync 2013 available is a Preview version – only suitable for labs).

      While you cannot do an in-place server upgrade, Lync (and Exchange) use the side-by-side upgrade/coexistence model. You probably know this, but this is nothing new – OCS 2007 R2 used the side-by-side model, as did Lync Server 2010. Microsoft Exchange has moved to this model also – e.g. you could not do an in-place upgrade from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2010.

      I get the hardware issue, but I personally like this model a lot better – this isn’t me drinking the Microsoft Kool-aid either. I’ve been involved in many production upgrade scenarios and in my experience the side-by-side model reduces risk and makes migration easier (the degree depends on how large and complex your environment is). Flash cut-overs are really difficult to plan and execute without a service disruption (unless you have one server!) and are painful to back-out of and recover from.

      One thing you can consider on the h/w front is swapping out similar h/w for a temporary period. I’ve been involved in roll-outs that do the followed:

      1] Found several servers with similar spec’s (h/w that just came from a decommissioned project or service or was ear-marked for something months down the road)
      2] Deployed the latest-and-greatest Lync/Exchange side-by-side with the production stuff
      3] Co-existed for a period (i.e. a couple of months) while users and services were cut-over
      4] Decommissioned the legacy versions
      5] Returned the server h/w (that was running the older version)

      Not everyone has the luxury of having swappable hardware but with virtualization support in Lync, the options have improved.

      As for whether Lync 2013 warrants the upgrade for your situation – that is a personal choice – the features are well published ( The integrated Persistent Chat, Lync Web App improvements, Client-side improvements, Skype Federation, VDI support look pretty compelling to me, but it depends on your needs. There are definitely real world costs associated with upgrading (cost & time).

      Hope that helps,

  • Sahil Dange

    it is a Director, redirects a user to their home pool, that 301 redirect contains the user’s Primary Registrar and their Secondary (Backup Registrar). Now any Registrar in the deployment can accept a user login and if that registrar is not the home pool for the given user, it issues a 301 redirect for that user. One of the jobs of a Director is to always issue 301 redirects as one of its purposes is to handle client logins. In my article, I have two pools and one pool will always be authenticating all users. So in my case, I can simulate the 301 redirect piece by having Client2 that is homed on Pool2 by signing into Pool1. That client will then get the 301 redirect.

  • jason404

    Does Lync Online 2013 on Office 365 support Google Talk then? It would be fantastic if it does. If it does, would it require the login details of my Google Account?

    • Good question. I assume at some point Lync Online will support the option to federation with Google Talk since it is built into the Lync 2013 on-premises server product.

      I have tested this in the Lync Online Preview (in the Office 365 Preview) and there that functionality is not there yet.


  • Richard

    Does the “hollywood square” show the non-active speaker’s video stream, or it just shows static photo until the non-active speaker becomes active? In other words, MS is still faking the hollywood square with an improved -but still partial- workarounds, or they finally put effort into implementing it properly this time?

    • Hi Richard,

      In the preview release of the Gallery View there are active video streams for up to 5 participants simultaneously displayed – the 5 most active participants. If there are more than 5 participants, a photo of the other participants is displayed in the second row (‘the seating gallery’). If they become ‘active’ they are moved to the top row (the active gallery) and their video is displayed and another participant is bumped down.

      In my opinion the experience is quite good – but I haven’t used other video conferencing solutions extensively either.


      • Richard

        Thanks Curtis, thats just the perfect answer to my question! 🙂

        • Animesh

          In addition to 5 Active video streams, you have the option of ‘pinning’ streams, so that those participants stay live and active, irrespective of other active speaker changes.

          Again, the configuration of having pinned users and how many live feeds to stream to users’ can be controlled by lync admins through PowerShell.

  • Keith

    Do you know if the 2013 client will have better docking features vis-a-vis the desktop? Not docking/undocking conversations, but docking the client to the edge of the screen and having applications recognize the Lync Client as the new boundary when you maximize, etc.?

    • With the Lync 2013 Preview client I haven’t noticed any differences with the docking capabilities – I am running on Windows 7, I am not sure if Windows 8 results in any docking behavior changes. If I notice any, I’ll report back.


  • Mur

    Did they finally add a spellchecker in the communicator?

  • I might be wrong, but the director role already was optional with Lync 2010. So thats nothing new with 2013…

    • Hi Frank, I know this one well. Despite Lync/OCS technically working fine without a Director and many deployments not using one, it was never officially an ‘optional’ role and possibily not a fully supported scenario. All the Lync/OCS deployment guides always included steps for the Director, etc…

      So there is no technical feature change here (that I know of) but deployments can now be re-assured that a Director role is officially optional and it is a fully supported scenario.


  • Do you know if the new Lync client will allow offline messages, meaning if one of your contacts is not online and you send them a message, they will receive it when they first login?

  • […] provided a link for me in this post. I’m putting it here so I have easy access. Thanks Curtis! This entry was posted on Wednesday, […]

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