Restore a deleted Office 365 Group

Contributors: Diane Faigel
Last updated 23 August, 2017

I forgot the username or password for the account I use with Office.

If you're a user who wants to restore an Office 365 group, ask the person in your business who has admin permissions to do these steps for you. In a large business, this is the internal help desk / technical support.

If you've deleted an Office 365 group, by default it's retained for 30 days. The group, which we refer to as "soft-deleted" during that 30 days, can be restored by using PowerShell.

You can also permanently delete a soft-deleted group if you can't wait the 30 days for the retention period to expire for the content to be permanently deleted.

IMPORTANT: If you use Remove-MsolGroup in PowerShell to delete a group, this will delete the group permanently. When using PowerShell to delete groups, it's best practice to use Remove-AzureADMSGroup to soft-delete the O365 group. That way you can get it back if needed.

Install the preview version of the Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell

IMPORTANT: The procedures in this article require the PREVIEW version Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell, specifically, the AzureADPreview module, version 2.0.0.137 or later.

As a best practice, we recommend always staying current: uninstall the old AzureADPreview version and get the latest one before you run PowerShell commands.

  1. Open Windows PowerShell as an administrator:

    1. In your search bar, type Windows PowerShell.

    2. Right-click on Windows PowerShell and select Run as Administrator.

      Open PowerShell as "Run as administrator."

    The Windows PowerShell window will pop open. The prompt C:\Windows\system32 means you opened it as an administrator.

    What PowerShell looks like when you first open it.

  2. To uninstall a previous version of AzureADPreview, run this command:

    Uninstall-Module AzureADPreview
  3. To install the latest version of AzureADPreview, run this command:

    Install-Module AzureADPreview

    At the message about an untrusted repository, type Y. It will take a minute or so for the new module to install.

Restore a deleted group

You must have Office 365 global admin or organization management permissions.

  1. Did you install the AzureADPreview module, as instructed in the above section "Install the preview version of the Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell"? Not having the most current preview version is the #1 reason these steps don't work for people.

  2. If you haven't already, open a Windows PowerShell window on your computer (it doesn't matter if it's a normal Windows PowerShell window, or one you opened by selecting Run as administrator).

  3. Run the following commands. Press Enter after each command.

    Import-Module AzureADPreview
    Connect-AzureAD

    In the Sign in to your Account screen that opens, enter your Office 365 admin account and password to connect you to your service, and click Sign in.

    Enter your Office 365 credentials
  4. Run this command to display all soft-deleted Office 365 groups in your organization that are still within the 30 day retention period:

    Get-AzureADMSDeletedGroup
  5. Take note of the object ID of the group, or groups, you want to restore. If you don't see the group you're looking for on this list then it has likely been purged permanently.

    Caution: If a new group has been created with the same alias or SMTP address as your deleted group, you will have to delete that new group before you'll be able to restore your deleted group.

  6. To restore that group run this command:

    Restore-AzureADMSDeletedDirectoryObject –Id <objectId>
  7. This process usually takes just a few minutes but in a few rare cases it can take as long as 24 hours to completely restore. To verify that the group has been successfully restored, run this command in PowerShell:

    Get-AzureADGroup –ObjectId <objectId>

Once the restore has successfully completed, the group should reappear on the navigation pane in Outlook and Outlook on the web and all restored content, including SharePoint and Planner, should be available to the group members again.

Group content that can be restored includes:

  • Azure Active Directory (AD) Office 365 Groups object, properties and members

  • Group SMTP address

  • Exchange Online shared inbox and calendar

  • SharePoint Online team site and files

  • OneNote notebook

  • Planner

Additionally if you have a connected Microsoft Team or Office 365 Connected Yammer group, those can be restored as well.

Permanently delete a group

Sometimes you may want to permanently purge a group without waiting the 30 days for the soft-delete to expire. To do that start PowerShell and run this command to get the object ID of the group

Get-AzureADMSDeletedGroup

Take note of the object ID of the group, or groups, you want to permanently delete.

Caution: Purging the group removes the group and its data forever. 

To purge the group run this command in PowerShell

Remove-AzureADMSDeletedDirectoryObject –Id <objectId>

To confirm that the group has been successfully purged, run the Get-AzureADMSDeletedGroup cmdlet again to confirm that the group no longer appears on the list of soft-deleted groups. In some cases it may take as long as 24 hours for the group and all of its data to be permanently deleted.

Got questions about Office 365 Groups?

Visit the Microsoft Tech Community to post questions and participate in conversations about Microsoft Office 365 Groups.

Related articles

Manage Office 365 Groups with PowerShell

Delete groups using the Remove-UnifiedGroup cmdlet

Manage your group-connected team site settings

Delete a group in Outlook

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