SOLVED

Handling User Accounts Once a Person Leaves the Company

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Occasional Contributor

This is a simplified version of our current process when an employee leaves the company.

  • Convert mailbox to a shared mailbox.
  • Invite members to shared mailbox.
  • Confirm they have access to the shared mailbox.
  • Remove Office license from the shared mailbox.

We never deleted the user from the Active Users tab in the admin console. It was never an issue until now that we are using Teams. Now, those accounts without licenses appear when inviting members to teams.

 

For example, inviting John Smith users will see John Doe (deleted) and John Smith  as they start to type John's name. It appears the only way to remedy this situation is to delete the account in the list of active users.

 

Can someone please confirm I understand this correctly?

  • After reading Microsoft's article Convert a user mailbox to a shared mailbox, the user account is nothing more than a pointer to the shared mailbox.
  • When you delete the user account the shared mailbox with the data remains.
  • The shared mailbox with the data will remain until you decide to delete it.
  • Although the data in the shared mailbox remains, it will no longer be able to accept incoming messages or send auto responses.

Thank you!

7 Replies
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Hi @David Razorsek 

 

We follow a similar process for most of our clients.

 

For your points - yes you are mostly correct.

 

1) Broadly speaking, yes. A shared mailbox doesn't need a licence, or the original AD/user account to exist anymore. The user will be deleted off, but the shared mailbox data will remain untouched. A shared mailbox cannot be logged into directly (I.e. it doesn't have a username/password) but can otherwise be administered and used the same as a user mailbox. You can also open up the mailbox in OWA provided you have the appropriate permissions and use the 'Open another mailbox' options

2) Yes

3) Yes

4) Shared mailbox can receive new email (unless you have a transport rule to stop it) like any other mailbox. You can also have a auto-response set up either through the 365 portal or setting on via OWA. You can also send from the shared mailbox if you wish. 

 

Hope this helps,

 

Thanks.

Mark

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@HidMov From the article I linked to there is a statement;

"If the mailbox is smaller than 50GB, you can remove the license from the user, and stop paying for it. Don't delete the user's old mailbox. The shared mailbox needs it there as an anchor."

 

We did some experimenting recently. We deleted an old user's account and found that once we did that you could no longer send email to that account, however the shared mailbox and the data in it remained. We want to make sure this is the expected result and that we are not missing something that will come back to bite us later.

 

Our concern is that we don't want something to happen "30 days later" like the shared account is removed by the system because we were unaware of some odd rule.

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Hi @David Razorsek 

 

I was entirely mistaken - I've just checked some of our clients and our own documentation and we've not deleted the original user account, but instead disabled it, so my original advice was incorrect - a timely reminder to myself to double check before posting :) Apologies for the poor advice from myself.

 

I've just tested this on my tenant with an old account - it's still receiving email though the account has been disabled, and I get an NDR saying the user doesn't exist. I'll keep the user deleted and suspect that in 30 days the mailbox will disappear for good. The documentation and what you've already seen is expected behaviour. 

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Hi @David Razorsek,

 

Here you have the process for a former employee, in addition of other steps.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/admin/add-users/remove-former-employee?view=o365-worldwid... 

 

Best regards,

Nuno Árias Silva

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@Nuno Silva Thanks. That link pretty much walks you through the process we are doing now. The new interface automates a lot of what we once did manually. Unfortunately the link did not answer if my  original assumptions are correct.

 

  • The user account is nothing more than a pointer to the shared mailbox.
  • When you delete the user account the shared mailbox with the data remains.
  • The shared mailbox with the data will remain until you decide to delete it.
  • Although the data in the shared mailbox remains, it will no longer be able to accept incoming messages or send auto responses.
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Best Response confirmed by David Razorsek (Occasional Contributor)
Solution

I can confirm the answer to my own question.

The user account is a pointer to the shared mailbox. If you delete the account the shared account will also be deleted in 30 days. You will lose all emails in that shared account.

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STEPS TO CONVERT REGULAR MAILBOX TO SHARED MAILBOX
Log in to your Office 365 account.
In the Office 365 admin center, choose the Active users option.
Choose the user mailbox which you want to convert to the shared mailbox.
Then, click Convert to a shared mailbox to convert your regular mailbox to a shared one.
This is how can you convert user mailbox to shared mailbox.