O365 Groups and its related content (Plan, Files, etc.) when Group Owner leaves the organization?

Occasional Contributor

Can someone please let me know if the content gets deleted when a user who is a group owner leaves the company or his O365 license gets unaissigned? Will the data be deleted? Or will it stay forever? Thank you in advance!!

24 Replies
When the Office 365 groups owner leaves the company the group remains in the tenant. You should ask your Office 365 admin to add a new Group admin to the orphaned group. Another tip might be to always assign more than one group admin to a group.
We have been discussing this same topic on another thread...content gets not deleted when a user leaves the group no matter if he/she is an owner or not...obviously the situation where he/she is the only owner has to been treated as described by Martina
Hi Martina,

Currently I know that there is no full soft-delete function tied into groups which is a big roadblock to deployment in some environments however if it's possible to recover say just the OneDrive/SharePoint portion of the group currently today?

There is no way to recover SharePoint data once the group has been deleted.  If you want to recover files for groups without owners you will need to add a user as an owner of the group to access/move/copy the files.  


Here is a script from the Office 365 for IT Pro book to find out which groups do not have owners:

# Find out which groups do not have owners
$groups = Get-UnifiedGroup
ForEach ($G in $Groups) {     
    If ($G.ManagedBy -Ne $Null)      
        $GoodGroups = $GoodGroups + 1     
         Write-Host "Warning! The" $G.DisplayName "has no owners"          
         $BadGroups = $BadGroups + 1      
    }Write-Host $GoodGroups "groups are OK but" $BadGroups "groups lack owners"


Nice Script Drew!

Make sure its uploaded to the PowerShell repository! https://www.powershellgallery.com

Thank you all for your responses. This is very helpful!

Nice I will try to get it out there.  I have been tracking all of my O365 Groups scripts on GitHub currently.



That repo has gone straight onto my "Useful Links" page in my notebook. Great work. the Reason I like the PowerShell Gallery is because you're able to source scripts and modules from directly in PowerShell. It's pretty cool actually.

Funny... this script looks very similar (if not identical) to the script described in Chapter 9 of "Office 365 for IT Pros", where it was originally published in late May 2016. I think I posted the code to the old Yammer-based Office 365 network too in response to a script written by Eric Zenz of Microsoft, which took a different approach to solving the problem. All of this happened around the time that Dale and I were chatting about his session to the SPTechCon in Boston in June. That session is available online at http://www.slideshare.net/dmadelung/office365-groups-from-the-ground-up-sptechcon-boston (29 June). It is a nice deck that others might be interested in seeing. I've no great objection to people sharing scripts, but I do think that the original work should be acknowledged.


Example from Office 365 for IT ProsExample from Office 365 for IT Pros


Oh excellent. Thanks for linking that slidedeck Tony. I haven't got to Chapter 9 of "Office 365 for IT Pros" yet. Keep meaning to pick it up again but stuff keeps getting in the way.


I don't know how you all do it. Doing your day to day what seems like neverending projects and work whilst finding time to write meaningful articles and keep up to date with all the latest and greatest information and also upskilling.




Be sure that you get the latest update (it's available now on the site dated 5 October) because Chapter 9 received a work-over after Ignite. It is now 72 pages of (mostly) goodness about all aspects of Office 365 Groups.


Keeping up is relatively simple. Spend some time every day to track what's happening and then write it down. Then think about it. Iterate...

I absolutely got that super helpful script from the old Yammer network and I fully apologize for not giving credit where it was due.  I have not gone through the O365 for IT Pros book but I did actually include a link and info to it in my latest presentation about O365 groups.

No worries. To be safe and to make sure that you are never accused of plagiarism, it's always a good idea to acknowledge the source of information. That way you are always clear!

It will be interesting to see how this is approached when Yammer + Office 365 groups work together.


The equivalent user experience in Yammer can allow a user to self-nominate themselves as admin if it becomes orphaned. That approach may work well for social-style Office 365 groups, but may not be so appropriate to others. However it keeps the administrative effort required to a minimum.


Another consideration for scripts to detect "orphaned" groups is that sometimes an account is disabled but not immediately removed. It's reasonably common practice for the account to be kept around for a short period of time before being removed from the tenant. 

We can solve issues for Office 365 Groups because it supports PowerShell... Now Yammer... that's a completely different matter!

from the roadmap soft-delete of groups is close. If you need a separate backup of your SharePoint files within the group you can help yourself by using the Microsoft Graph API. This is what we did and this helped us a lot in the past!

I wish I could be as hopeful about the arrival of soft-delete. We have been asking for it since November 2014. It has been promised many times, most recently "by the end of 2016" as per Microsoft sessions at Ignite, and here we are in February 2017.


Soft-delete will come, it's just coming a lot longer than I thought it would ever take...

what I understood from the architectural perspective if you connect Yammer group to Office 365 group you'll get the behaviour of the O365 group. http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/roadmap#I-72468

Yes, apart from the fact that the conversations are held in Yammer rather than in the Exchange group mailbox. This is actually an important point, because it means that conversations are then "hidden" from the point of compliance searches. Content searches are able to look through group mailboxes and document libraries, but they do not support Yammer. This is one good reason why any company working in a regulated industry will have a problem with Yammer Groups, even if they use Office 365 Groups to manage their membership.


There are some other differences too, but storage of conversations is the big one.