Exercise - Daemon and non-interactive apps

In this exercise, you’ll learn how to create apps that obtain tokens without user interaction to perform tasks as the app’s identity.

Create an Azure AD application

Open a browser and navigate to the Azure Active Directory admin center. Sign in using a Work or School Account that has global administrator rights to the tenancy.

Select Azure Active Directory in the left-hand navigation.

Select Manage > App registrations in the left-hand navigation.

Screenshot of the App registrations

On the App registrations page, select New registration.

Screenshot of App Registrations page

On the Register an application page, set the values as follows:

  • Name: Identity Daemon

  • Supported account types: Accounts in this organizational directory only (Contoso only - Single tenant)

    Screenshot of the Register an application page

    Select Register.

On the Identity Daemon page, copy the value of the Application (client) ID and Directory (tenant) ID; you'll need these in the application.

Screenshot of the application ID of the new app registration

Configure the Azure AD application's authentication settings

Select Manage > Authentication.

In the Platform configurations section, select the Add a platform button. Then in the Configure platforms panel, select the Mobile and desktop applications button:

Screenshot of the Platform configurations section

In the Redirect URIs section of the Configure Desktop + devices panel, select the entry that ends with nativeclient, and then select the Configure button:

Screenshot of the Configure Desktop + devices panel

Scroll down to the Default client type section and set the toggle to Yes.

Screenshot of the Default client type section

Select Save in the top menu to save your changes.

Create a client secret for the app

In order for the daemon app to run without user involvement, it will sign in to Azure AD with an application ID and either a certificate or secret. In this exercise, you'll use a secret.

Select Certificates & secrets from the left-hand navigation panel.

Select the New client secret button:

Screenshot of the Certificates & Secrets page in the Azure AD admin center

When prompted, give the secret a description and select one of the expiration duration options provided and select Add. What you enter and select doesn't matter for the exercise.

Screenshot of creating a new client secret

The Certificate & Secrets page will display the new secret. Its important you copy this value as its only shown this one time; if you leave the page and come back, it will only show as a masked value.

Screenshot showing the new secret

Copy the value of the secret as you'll need it later.

Grant Azure AD application permissions to Microsoft Graph

After creating the application, you need to grant it the necessary permissions to Microsoft Graph

Select API Permissions in the left-hand navigation panel.

From the Identity Daemon - API Permissions page, select the Add a permission button.

Screenshot of the API Permissions page

In the Request API permissions panel that appears, select Microsoft Graph from the Microsoft APIs tab.

Screenshot of Microsoft Graph in the Request API permissions panel

When prompted for the type of permission, select Application permissions.

Enter Mail.R in the Select permissions search box and select the Mail.Read permission, followed by the Add permission button at the bottom of the panel.

Screenshot of the Mail.Read permission in the Request API permissions panel

Notice that the permission has Yes listed in the column Admin Consent Required in the previous screenshot? This means that an administrator must grant this permission.

On the Identity Daemon - API Permissions panel, select the button Grant admin consent for [tenant], followed by the Yes button to grant all users in your organization this permission.

Screenshot of granting admin consent to Contoso for all requested permissions

Create a headless application

You'll use a .NET Core console application to run as a service. This app can then be configured to run on a defined schedule with no user involvement.

Open your command prompt, navigate to a directory where you have rights to create your project, and run the following command to create a new .NET Core console application:

dotnet new console -o graphdaemon

After creating the application, run the following commands to ensure your new project runs correctly.

cd graphdaemon
dotnet add package Microsoft.Identity.Client
dotnet add package Microsoft.Graph
dotnet add package Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration
dotnet add package Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.FileExtensions
dotnet add package Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.Json

Open the application in Visual Studio Code using the following command:

code .

If Visual Studio code displays a dialog box asking if you want to add required assets to the project, select Yes.

Update the console app to support Azure AD authentication

Create a new file named appsettings.json in the root of the project and add the following code to it:

  "tenantId": "YOUR_TENANT_ID_HERE",
  "applicationId": "YOUR_APP_ID_HERE",
  "applicationSecret": "YOUR_APP_SECRET_HERE",
  "targetUserId": "TARGET_USER_ID_HERE"

Update properties with the following values:

  • YOUR_TENANT_ID_HERE: Azure AD directory ID
  • YOUR_APP_ID_HERE: Azure AD client ID
  • YOUR_APP_SECRET_HERE: Azure AD client secret

Create helper classes

Create a new folder Helpers in the project.

Create a new file AuthHandler.cs in the Helpers folder and add the following code:

using System.Net.Http;
using System.Threading;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using Microsoft.Graph;

namespace Helpers
  public class AuthHandler : DelegatingHandler
    private IAuthenticationProvider _authenticationProvider;

    public AuthHandler(IAuthenticationProvider authenticationProvider, HttpMessageHandler innerHandler)
      InnerHandler = innerHandler;
      _authenticationProvider = authenticationProvider;

    protected override async Task<HttpResponseMessage> SendAsync(HttpRequestMessage request, CancellationToken cancellationToken)
      await _authenticationProvider.AuthenticateRequestAsync(request);
      return await base.SendAsync(request, cancellationToken);

Create a new file MsalAuthenticationProvider.cs in the Helpers folder and add the following code:

using System.Net.Http;
using System.Net.Http.Headers;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using Microsoft.Identity.Client;
using Microsoft.Graph;

namespace Helpers
  public class MsalAuthenticationProvider : IAuthenticationProvider
    private static MsalAuthenticationProvider _singleton;
    private IConfidentialClientApplication _application;
    private string[] _scopes;

    private MsalAuthenticationProvider(IConfidentialClientApplication application, string[] scopes)
      _application = application;
      _scopes = scopes;

    public static MsalAuthenticationProvider GetInstance(IConfidentialClientApplication application, string[] scopes)
      if (_singleton == null)
        _singleton = new MsalAuthenticationProvider(application, scopes);

      return _singleton;

    public async Task AuthenticateRequestAsync(HttpRequestMessage request)
      request.Headers.Authorization = new AuthenticationHeaderValue("bearer", await GetTokenAsync());

    public async Task<string> GetTokenAsync()
      AuthenticationResult result = null;

      try {
        result = await _application.AcquireTokenForClient(_scopes).ExecuteAsync();
      } catch (MsalServiceException) { }

      return result.AccessToken;

Incorporate Microsoft Graph into the console app

Open the Program.cs file and add the following using statements to the top fo the file:

using System.Collections.Generic;
using Microsoft.Identity.Client;
using Microsoft.Graph;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Helpers;

Add the following method LoadAppSettings to the Program class. The method retrieves the configuration details from the appsettings.json file previously created:

private static IConfigurationRoot LoadAppSettings()
    var config = new ConfigurationBuilder()
                      .AddJsonFile("appsettings.json", false, true)

    if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(config["applicationId"]) ||
        string.IsNullOrEmpty(config["applicationSecret"]) ||
        string.IsNullOrEmpty(config["tenantId"]) ||
      return null;

    return config;
  catch (System.IO.FileNotFoundException)
    return null;

Add the following method CreateAuthorizationProvider to the Program class. The method will create an instance of the clients used to call Microsoft Graph.

private static IAuthenticationProvider CreateAuthorizationProvider(IConfigurationRoot config)
  var tenantId = config["tenantId"];
  var clientId = config["applicationId"];
  var clientSecret = config["applicationSecret"];
  var authority = $"https://login.microsoftonline.com/{config["tenantId"]}/v2.0";

  List<string> scopes = new List<string>();

  var cca = ConfidentialClientApplicationBuilder.Create(clientId)
  return MsalAuthenticationProvider.GetInstance(cca, scopes.ToArray());

Add the following method GetAuthenticatedGraphClient to the Program class. The method creates an instance of the GraphServiceClient object.

private static GraphServiceClient GetAuthenticatedGraphClient(IConfigurationRoot config)
  var authenticationProvider = CreateAuthorizationProvider(config);
  return new GraphServiceClient(authenticationProvider);

Locate the Main method in the Program class. Add the following code to the end of the Main method to load the configuration settings from the appsettings.json file:

var config = LoadAppSettings();
if (config == null)
  Console.WriteLine("Invalid appsettings.json file.");

Add the following code to the end of the Main() method to obtain an instance of the Microsoft Graph .NET SDK client that you'll use to get a user's email messages:

var client = GetAuthenticatedGraphClient(config);

Next, add the following code to the end of the Main() method. This will create a request using Microsoft Graph for a specific user's email messages and display them in the console. The ID of the user is pulled from the appsettings.json file:

var requestUserEmail = client.Users[config["targetUserId"]].Messages.Request();
var results = requestUserEmail.GetAsync().Result;
foreach (var message in results)
  Console.WriteLine("Subject : " + message.Subject);
  Console.WriteLine("Received: " + message.ReceivedDateTime.ToString());
  Console.WriteLine("ID      : " + message.Id);

Console.WriteLine("\nGraph Request:");

Build and test the application

Run the following command in a command prompt to compile the console application:

dotnet build

Obtain the ID of a user to use in the test

Using the Azure AD admin center, select Users, and then select one of the users from the organization:

Screenshot of the All Users page in the Azure AD admin center

Locate the Object ID property and copy the value.

In the appsettings.json file in the console application, replace TARGET_USER_ID_HERE value with the user's Object ID property you copied.

Run the daemon application

Run the following command to run the console application:

dotnet run

After a moment, the app will display a list of all the specified user's emails obtained using the Microsoft Graph .NET SDK.

Screenshot of the All Users page in the Azure AD admin center


In this exercise, you learned how to create apps that obtain tokens without user interaction to perform tasks as the app’s identity.

Test your knowledge


Which of the following ways isn't a valid authentication option for an app using the OAuth 2.0 client credentials flow?


What minimal scope(s) must a daemon or service app include in the access token request to Azure AD?