Global admin: Delete a user

If you are a global administrator you can delete the employee, forward their email, remove their license, and choose what to do with their OneDrive content using the new guided experience.

Note: Because of the permissions required to complete this multi-task procedure in just a couple of steps, you have to be a global admin. If you are a User management admin, see Delete a user from your organization.

Things to consider...

Before you begin, you should have a plan for what do to with the user's email and Onedrive content. And you should know in advance if you want to keep or remove the user's product licenses.

Product licenses

You can remove the license from the user and remove it from your subscriptions to stop paying for that license. If you select this option, the license will be removed automatically from your subscriptions.

Or you can keep the license and Assign licenses to users in Office 365 for business.

However, if you bought your licenses through a Partner or volume licensing you can't remove the license. If you are paying for an annual plan or if you are in the middle of a billing cycle, you won't be able to remove the license from your subscription until your commitment is completed.

OneDrive content

If the user saved their files to OneDrive, you can give another users access to these files.

You'll need to move the files you want to keep within the retention period that is set for OneDrive files. By default, the retention period is 30 days. If you don't move the files within the retention period after deleting the user, the OneDrive content will be permanently deleted. To increase the number of days that you retain OneDrive files for deleted accounts, see Set the OneDrive retention for deleted users.

Warning: If the deleted user used a personal computer to download files from SharePoint and OneDrive, there's no way for you to wipe those files they stored on their computer. They will continue to have access to any files that were synced from OneDrive.


Giving another user access to the deleted user's email will convert the deleted user's mailbox to a shared mailbox. The new mailbox owner can then access the mailbox and monitor for new email. You'll also have the following options:

  • Change the display name - We recommend changing the display name so that it will be easy to identify the shared mailbox in the Active users list.

  • Turn on automatic replies - We've already written a polite automatic reply for you. You can send a different automatic replies to people within your organization and people from outside your organization.

  • Clean up aliases - Aliases are additional email addresses for users. Some organizations don't use them, so if you don't have any you don't need to do anything else here. If the user does have aliases, we recommend removing them so that you can re-use those email addresses. Otherwise, you can't re-use those email addresses until the retention period for email has passed. By default, the retention period is 30 days. To increase the number of days that you retain email data for deleted accounts, see .Configure Deleted Items retention and Recoverable Items quotas.

Get started

Since the guided experience walks through the delete user process, here are the steps to get started.

  1. Sign in to Office 365.

  2. Go to Users > Active users.

  3. Select the user you want to deleted, and in the flyout panel, select Delete user.

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