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UIT to roll out enhanced Microsoft Teams platform

All University of Utah faculty, staff and students and University of Utah Health personnel will be moved to an upgraded version of Microsoft Teams in March. Microsoft will retire the “classic” version of Teams after March 31, 2024.

“We want to make the U community aware that this change is coming so that no one is surprised when the upgrade is rolled out for everyone,” said James Rice, associate director for UIT Unified Communications. “Ultimately, we hope the changes Microsoft has made to the platform inspires greater collaboration at the university.”

Teams 2.0, or “new Teams,” has been in testing with select university organizations throughout January and February 2024. UIT is finalizing a release schedule for campus and hospital/clinical users.

When the new version is made broadly available as an option at the U, a toggle switch will appear in the top-left corner of the Teams desktop application. The toggle allows users to switch between “classic” and “new” Teams until March 31, when Microsoft deactivates the old version of the platform on all Teams clients. The new Teams platform will be available for Windows and Mac desktop apps and the web.

Clayton Norlen, senior product manager in the Chief Technology Officer organization, noted that the new version uses Microsoft’s Edge Webview2 technology, which improves functionality and performance.

The interface won’t change drastically. One of the biggest design changes, Norlen said, is in Teams channels. Users now have the option of flipping the order of channel posts. Instead of the current bottom-up approach, you can opt to have the latest thread appear at the top of the channel, providing a more intuitive way for users to read and reply to posts. UIT urges users to familiarize themselves with new Teams feature enhancements ahead of the migration.

Norlen said the most significant changes stem from a new approach to how Teams is architected.

“Performance has been a longstanding issue with the current version,” Norlen said. “It takes time to load, it is resource-hungry and really impacts older machines. With this change, older devices will be under less strain to run teams.”

According to Microsoft-commissioned research, new Teams loads twice as fast and consumes up to 50% less memory and disk space than the previous version.

If you’re a member of the U community and would like to try new Teams before it’s formally rolled out, please complete this online form.

Please note

  • Users without local administration rights on a U-managed device may need to consult desktop support to install the software update.
  • Users may switch back to classic Teamsat any time prior to March 31.
  • Prior to switching to new Teams, UIT recommends making sure your current client is up to date and allowing any pending Windows or Mac system updates to finish installing.

If you have questions, your local IT support staff may be able to assist, or you may contact your respective help desk: UIT Help Desk (801-581-4000) or ITS Service Desk (801-587-6000).

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