Configuring Lync Custom Statuses To Support Assessment for Learning

In our last post our guest contributor Mandeep Atwal talked about using Lync client to support assessment for learning strategy in the classroom. I thought this was a great post as Lync Online is part of Office 365 for education and users can use Lync client on the desktop to communicate with others easily.

In this post I’m going to talk about how you can customise the status indicators in Lync desktop client to show something more meaningful than the default settings:


I’ll cover how to configure this for an individual user, but it is possible to make this change across your network for every user who uses Lync client, jump to the end of this post for the links! This only affects the Lync desktop client (2010 and 2013) not the web app or mobile clients.

This guide talks about editing your registry. Editing the registry can have unintended and serious consequences to your computer – proceed with caution! If you do not understand what editing the registry means, please speak to your IT administrator before making any changes.

  1. Define your custom status in a simple XML file, like:

    <?xml version="1.0"?> <customStates xmlns="">
    < customState ID="1" availability="Busy">
    <activity LCID="1033">Help me please!</activity>
    < customState ID="2" availability="Online">
    <activity LCID="1033">I've got the answer.</activity>
    < customState ID="3" availability="do-not-disturb">
    <activity LCID="1033">I'm still working.</activity>
    < /customStates>

    Save this as “presence.xml” in a folder that is readable by your users; in this example we’ll place it in C:\Windows.

  2. We then need to disable the requirement for HTTPS and allow Lync to read a local file.

Lync 2010

Fire up your Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator and create a new REG_DWORD value named EnableSIPHighSecurityMode, value = 0.

Also create a REG_SZ value called CustomStateURL in the same place, with the value file:///C:\Windows\presence.xml.


Lync 2013

For Lync 2013 we need to create the registry values in a different place. In your Registry Editor navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\ and create a key called Office under the Microsoft key, then create a key called 15.0 under Office, and then create a key called Lync under 15.0:


Create the same values as before for EnableSIPHighSecurityMode and CustomStateURL within the Lync key:


Exit and restart your Lync client and you should see your custom statuses!

The steps above detail how to configure this for one PC, for testing purposes. Below are some resources for configuring this further for multiple PCs: