Transition to new version of Microsoft Teams is underway

Microsoft is rolling out a new, faster version of the Teams application, starting with an optional preview period this fall before a wholesale replacement this winter.

Information Services will provide the University of Oregon community with as much notice as possible about when the UO will transition to the new Teams app.

People who want to try it out sooner can use the new toggle switch in the existing Teams app. Until the UO-wide transition, they still have the option to switch back to the older version, which Microsoft recently renamed “Teams classic.”

For many Windows users, the toggle switch is currently grayed out and nonfunctional. Information Services has documented two ways to address that, depending on whether or not the computer is managed by UO information technology staff.

The new version of Teams offers significant performance improvements with few changes to the app’s user interface. 

“Our goal was to reimagine Teams from the ground up to deliver a faster, simpler, smarter, and more flexible app,” wrote Anupam Pattnaik, Microsoft’s product lead for Teams desktop and mobile clients. “The preview version of new Teams was up to two times faster while using 50% less memory.”

Although Information Services opted to enable the toggle switch earlier in November, staff caution the UO community that the software is still in preview mode. 

“We’re excited that Microsoft is improving the performance of the Teams app, so we wanted to give the UO community the chance to try it out now,” said Jeff Jones, director of digital work experience in Information Services. “Just keep in mind that ‘preview mode’ means Microsoft is still working out some bugs.”

For example, some people at the UO have reported problems with screen sharing between users of the classic and new versions of the app. Others have been unable to start a meeting from a Teams channel. Microsoft is tracking a variety of known issues.

Jones also noted that the new Teams app may take a few minutes to set up. When people click the toggle, they may experience the following:

  • An entirely new Teams app will start installing. Teams classic will also remain on the computer, allowing the user to switch back (until the UO-wide transition) if they run into problems with the new version.
  • The new app will be named “Microsoft Teams (work or school).”
  • Microphone and headset setup may need to be redone, and may not be possible without joining a Teams meeting or call, when Teams prompts the user for permission.
  • Other settings from Teams classic, such as noise canceling and list display (“layout”) of teams that the user belongs to, also may not automatically transfer to the new Teams app. Users can restore such settings themselves.

Anyone with questions can submit a ticket at Microsoft Teams support. Employees can also contact the IT staff who support their unit, and any member of the UO community can contact the Technology Service Desk.

—By Nancy Novitski, University Communications

Top photo: A new toggle button in Microsoft Teams lets users switch to the new version of the app ahead of a UO-wide transition in winter term.

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