Get access to and back up a former user's data

When an employee leaves your organization, you probably want to access their data - meaning their documents and emails - and either review it, back it up, or transfer ownership to a new employee.

  • To gain access to a former employee’s OneDrive for Business documents you 1) take over the former employee’s OneDrive for Business, and then 2) move the files.

  • To gain access to a former employee's email, you 1) export the user's Outlook email information to a .pst file, and then 2) import it into another employee's Outlook inbox.

Part 1 – Get access to the former employee’s OneDrive for Business documents

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center.

  3. In the admin center, in the lower-left navigation, expand Admin centers, and select SharePoint.

    Choose SharePoint admin center

  4. Choose user profiles.

  5. Choose Manage User Profiles.

  6. Search for the former employee’s name (use their alias or full name).

  7. Select the drop-down menu beside their name, and choose Manage site collection owners.

    Manage personal site

  8. In the Site Collection Administrators field, add your name, the administrator’s name (see the example below), or the future employee’s name (if known).

    Add yourself to site collection administrators

  9. Scroll down, and select OK.

Part 2 – Copy the former employee’s OneDrive for Business documents to a shared location

  1. With the former employee’s name selected under Manage User Profiles, select the drop-down menu again, and select Manage Personal Site.

    Manage site collections owners

    Note: This is a shortcut to the OneDrive for Business site. Alternatively, you can enter: https://<organization_name>-my.sharepoint.com/personal/<employee>_<organization name>_onmicrosoft_com.

  2. Select Documents in the left navigation.

    Select documents from personal site

  3. You should see your former employee’s OneDrive for Business documents.

    see OneDrive for business documents

  4. From here, copy them to your own OneDrive for Business or a common location.

There are a few ways to copy files in Office 365. See Video: Set up document storage and sharing in Office 365 or Sync OneDrive for Business files locally, and then upload those files to your OneDrive for Business or your team site.

Part 3 - Get access to the Outlook information of the former employee

To save the email messages, calendar, tasks, and contacts of the former employee, export the information to an Outlook Data File (.pst).

  1. Add the former employee's email to your Outlook (If you reset the user's password, you can set it to something only you know)

  2. Click File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

    Import/Export command in the Backstage view

  3. Click Export to a file, and then click Next.

    Export to a file option in the Import and Export Wizard

  4. Click Outlook Data File (.pst), and then click Next.

  5. Select the account you want to export by clicking the name or email address, such as Mailbox – Anne Weiler or anne@contoso.com. If you want to export everything in your account, including mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes, make sure the Include subfolders check box is selected.

    Note:  You can export one account at a time. If you want to export multiple accounts, after one account is exported, repeat these steps.

    Export Outlook Data File dialog box with top folder selected and Include subfolders checked

  6. Click Next.

  7. Click Browse to select where to save the Outlook Data File (.pst). Type a file name, and then click OK to continue.

    Note:  If you’ve used export before, the previous folder location and file name appear. Type a different file name before clicking OK.

  8. If you are exporting to an existing Outlook Data File (.pst), under Options, specify what to do when exporting items that already exist in the file.

  9. Click Finish.

Outlook begins the export immediately unless a new Outlook Data File (.pst) is created or a password-protected file is used.

  1. If you’re creating an Outlook Data File (.pst), an optional password can help protect the file. When the Create Outlook Data File dialog box appears, type the password in the Password and Verify Password boxes, and then click OK. In the Outlook Data File Password dialog box, type the password, and then click OK.

  2. If you’re exporting to an existing Outlook Data File (.pst) that is password protected, in the Outlook Data File Password dialog box, type the password, and then click OK.

Check out Export or backup email, contacts, and calendar to an Outlook .pst file for the steps for Outlook 2010.

Part 4 - Give access of former employee's email to another user

To give access of the email messages, calendar, tasks, and contacts of the former employee to another employee, import the information to another employee's Outlook inbox.

  1. Click File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

    This starts the Import and Export Wizard.

  2. Choose Import from another program or file, and then click Next.

    Import and Export Wizard

  3. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst), and click Next.

  4. Browse to the .pst file you want to import.

  5. Under Options, choose how you want to deal with duplicates

  6. Click Next.

  7. If a password was assigned to the Outlook Data File (.pst), enter the password, and then click OK.

  8. Set the options for importing items. The default settings usually don’t need to be changed.

  9. Click Finish.

Tip    If you want to import or restore only a few items from an Outlook Data File (.pst), you can open the Outlook Data File, and then, in the navigation pane, click and drag the items from Outlook Data File folders to your existing Outlook folders.

Check out Import email, contacts, and calendar from an Outlook .pst file for the steps for Outlook 2010.

See Also

Remove a former employee from Office 365

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