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How to securely remove users from Microsoft 365 (Office 365)?


Deleting a user

If a user is no longer active (e.g. he or she no longer works at your company), it is best to delete him or her as soon as possible. Here is how you do it:

  1. In the “Users” panel, go to “Active users”
  2. Check the name of the user you want to delete
  3. Select “Delete”

Restoring deleted user

If, for example, you have accidentally deleted a user, you can restore it. This, however, has to be done within 30 days after the deletion. The user will then be restored with all the associated data, and he or she will be able to log back in to his or her account. Here is how you can restore a deleted user:

  1. In the menu on the left, go to “Users” > “Deleted Users”
  2. Select the name of the user(s) you want to restore from the “Deleted Users” panel.
  3. Click “Restore”
  4. Follow the steps to create a password: choose a strong password yourself or have a password generated automatically.
  5. Click “Restore”
  6. When the account has been restored, select “Send e-mail and close”

Tip: Do not forget to inform the user that his or her password has been changed!

Managing the data of deleted users

Remember that some of the user’s data are also deleted! Please note the following:

OneDrive data are deleted. If you want to keep them, move them to another location. You can do this up to 30 days after the account has been deleted. Read more about this on the Microsoft website: Get access to and back up a former user’s data.

SharePoint files are not deleted. You will still have access to these data.

E-mails are deleted. If you want to keep them, you can move them to another location. If you have already deleted the account, and it is less than 30 days after the deletion, you can still retrieve those e-mails. Proceed as follows:

  1. Restore the user account first (see Restoring deleted users)
  2. Move the data, for example to another account.
  3. Delete the user again.

Tip: Depending on your chosen Microsoft 365 subscription, you will also be able to turn the mailbox of the deleted users into an inactive mailbox. (Read more about this on the Microsoft website: “Managing inactive mailboxes in Exchange Online“)

Tip: If you delete a user, and you do not intend to give another user access to Microsoft 365 services in the immediate future, do not forget to cancel the license. Please contact the Combell helpdesk to do so.

Updated on 26 August 2020

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