One of the more common Lync 2010 client questions is: How do I enable “Appear Offline” status? For on-premises deployments, this can easily be controlled using the Lync Management Shell. There is an EnableAppearOffline setting that is controlled by in-band provisioning, which means configuration data is defined via a server-side policy, and downloaded by clients after sign-in. You can enable appear offline status for all of your clients by modifying each of your client policies with a simple Lync Management Shell one-liner:

Get-CSClientPolicy | Set-CSClientPolicy -EnableAppearOffline $true

Simple enough. Just restart the Lync client and you’re all set.

What about Lync Online Clients?

If you’re using Lync Online, this is a little more involved. Since there is no remote PowerShell interface for Lync Online, you can’t change the client policies. You’re only option is to fall back to modifying the registry on your client computers. Here is the reg add command you could use to script this:

Reg Add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator" /V "EnableAppearOffline" /D 1 /T REG_DWORD /F

As you can see, this will create the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator key, and then add a 32bit DWORD value under this key called EnableAppearOffline with a value of 1. You could always add this to a custom ADM template and apply the setting via group policy, if that makes things easier.

In either case, once the EnableAppearOffline setting has been enabled—after signing out and back into the Lync client—users will have the ability to select this option when setting their status, as shown above.