Prevent Users from Changing Photo in OWA

Using Outlook Web App (OWA), users can change/update their photo using two methods:

  1. By clicking on the DIsplayName (Exchange 2013) or user photo (Exchange 2016) in the main OWA window and then Change:



  2. Using the options menu and then account followed by Edit information… in Exchange 2013, or “My account” section:





Some companies do not like the idea of users updating their pictures themselves. There are already many posts out there on how to prevent users from changing their photo in OWA. However, some posts only say to change the SetPhotoEnabled parameter to False for all OWA virtual directories:

Get-OwaVirtualDirectory | Set-OwaVirtualDirectory -SetPhotoEnabled $False

If we now click on our display name or photo, the Change button is now gone:



The problem is that this method might only prevents users from clicking their photo to change their photo! It is possible that users can still change it through the options menu:


 The reason why this might happen is because this setting only applies to mailboxes if they do not have an OWA Mailbox Policy applied to them! If they do, then we also need to update this policy, whether it is the Default policy or not. In this case I am updating all policies and applying the default one just to my account for testing:

Get-OWAMailboxPolicy | Set-OWAMailboxPolicy -SetPhotoEnabled $FalseSet-CASMailbox nuno -OWAMailboxPolicy Default

Now the change button is finally gone:



12 thoughts on “Prevent Users from Changing Photo in OWA”

  1. Hi Nuno,

    1. “Get-CASMailbox -ResultSize Unlimited | Set-CASMailbox -OWAMailboxPolicy Default” will apply to all users?

    2. How about the new created user in the future?

    1. Hi!

      Yes, that cmdlet will update every single mailbox.

      All new mailboxes should get the Default OWAMailboxPolicy apply to them when created. As such, as long as you update the SetPhotoEnabled setting for this policy, the setting will apply to new mailboxes!


  2. Marwan Ali Ewaimer

    Hi nuno,

    Thank you for the valuable information , i have one inquiry, no already all users prevented to update their profile photos, but how can i delete all photos which already uploaded before. as per my company policy to keep the photo place empty as default.

    Thank you.

  3. Paulo Laranjeiro

    Hi Nuno,

    By applying “Get-OwaMailboxPolicy | Set-OwaMailboxPolicy -SetPhotoEnabled $false” command will this remove any photos that users did have? OWA is blocked to users but there were 4 that did upload photos before I disabled OWA to everyone. Also will this apply to skype for business or do I need to run a different powershell command for Skype?


    1. Hi Paulo,

      To remove someone’s photo, please use the Remove-UserPhoto cmdlet. Yes, it will if you have Skype and Exchange integration (it depends on the version of Skype and Exchange you are running).


  4. FriedChicken879

    Do you have to have an OwaMailboxPolicy applied in order to restrict changing the photo from the Option menu? I don’t have one applied, have set SetPhotoEnabled to false on the OwaVirtualDirectory, but am still able to change photo from the options menu.

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