User Activity based Expiration Policy for Office 365 groups is now in Private Preview!

Published 07-18-2019 04:55 AM 26.5K Views

Update: This feature has new updates. Please see the blog for details.


O365 Groups power collaboration across Office 365 

Collaboration is a key ingredient for the success of any organization. Office 365 groups, of the most used collaboration features in Microsoft 365 today, power the collaboration features across apps, including Outlook, Teams, Yammer, and SharePoint. Employees can create groups quickly and start collaborating with co-workers by sharing group documents, emails, and calendars.


The twin problems of Groups Life cycle Management 

As the number of Office 365 groups increases, an organization needs to strike a balance between cleaning up unused groups and ensuring any valuable groups do not get deleted unintentionally, causing data loss. Many of you have shared feedback about these challenges in groups lifecycle management.


You say, we listen and act

We heard your feedback, and we've made some changes! We are excited to announce the new version of expiration policy which ensures any group being actively used continues to be available, circumventing expiration. This feature makes life easier for users, including admins, group owners and members, by automating the expiration and renewal process by tracking groups for user activity across different apps, like Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, tied to the group.


The new expiration policy puts group life cycle management on autopilot 

The current Expiration policy allows you to set an expiration time frame for selected or all Office 365 groups . After the defined group lifetime, owners are asked to renew them if they are still needed. With this newly added intelligence, groups which are being actively used will be automagically renewed. This preempts the need for any manual action on the part of the group owners. This is based on user activity in groups across Office 365 apps like Outlook, SharePoint and Teams.


Example:  At Contoso, the administrator has configured the Group lifetime to be 180 days. Megan is the owner of the Contoso Marketing O365 Group, with Enrico and Alex as its members. Her group is set to expire the following month. If an owner or a member performs actions like uploading a document in SharePoint, visiting Teams channel or sending an email to the group in Outlook, the group is automatically renewed for another 180 days, and she does not get any expiry notifications.

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Manual Controls: Group owners will continue to have the manual “delete”, “renew” option for granular control.


Soft Delete: Like before, groups which aren't renewed (either automatically based on activity or manually) will be soft deleted. Groups in “Soft-delete” state can still be restored within 30 days, after which the content is deleted permanently.


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User actions for group auto-renewal: The following user actions will lead to automatic renewal of groups

  • SharePoint – View, Edit, Download, Move, Share, Upload Files
  • Outlook – Join group, Read/write group message from group space, Like a message (OWA)
  • Teams – Visit a Teams channels

We will continue to update this list to fine tune group auto-renewal experience.


Auditing and reporting: Administrators can get a list of auto-renewed groups from audit logs on the azure portal.

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Here are some quick steps to get you started.


Getting started

Office 365 groups expiration policy can be configured from the Azure Active Directory portal, as well as programmatically via Azure Active Directory PowerShell. Please note you need an Azure AD Premium license. Below is a quick tutorial on how to get started with the functionality in the new Azure portal experience.


1. Create Expiration Policy: Sign into the Azure portal, select Azure Active Directory, go to the Groups tab and select Expiration under Settings. (More details here) .Image 4.png


2. Set Group Life cycle: Specify the group lifetime in days and select which groups you want the expiration settings to apply to.

Group owners will receive a renewal notification 30 days before the expiration date, and from that notification they can renew their group with a single click!


If there is no user activity in the group (and the owners don't manually renew their group) within the required time frame, their group will expire. Upon expiry it will stay in a “soft deleted” state for 30 days. Owners of deleted groups will receive a notification letting them know their group has been deleted and giving them the opportunity to restore their group within 30 days after its deletion date. The Group will be permanently deleted after 30 days.


3. Auto-renewal based on user activity: No explicit action is required to enable activity-based auto-renewal. If an the expiration policy is set for Office 365 groups, auto-renewal will be enabled by default.

Learn more about how you can restore you group to recover all its content, including SharePoint, Planner, and Outlook - how to restore deleted Office 365 groups.


Note: The new version of Office 365 groups expiration feature is available in private preview today for select Azure AD Premium customers. Please reach out to your TAMs/CSMs regarding enrollment in private preview.


Let us know what you think!

We would love to hear your feedback! If you have any suggestions for us, questions, or issues to report, please leave a comment below. We're always looking for ways to improve.


User Voice: Add security groups to Office 365 groups



Best regards,


Salil Kakkar                                                               Yuan Karppanen

Program Manager                                                    Program Manager

Office 365 Groups                                                    Azure Active Directory

twitter-3.png  @salil_kakkar









Not applicable

This one is a nice feature indeed.

Respected Contributor

How can I get some more information about getting one of my customers involved with this private preview program?

Regular Contributor

Is there a indicator that the private preview is enabled in a tenant? Message Center, email, etc? It is definitely a great new feature and will be very useful.

Super Contributor

This is a great feature, but maybe to soon to announce when it is in private preview still.


Glad to hear it. This is how it should be. Thanks!

Occasional Contributor

@Oleg K But announcing it now gives interested parties early options for being involved - before finalising how it actually works, etc. Would you prefer to wait for public preview when the exact specifics and workflows are further locked in place?

Super Contributor

I prefer to be able to get my hands on it, than just hear about it :) And public preview is enough to get things changed.

Occasional Contributor

Fair call @Oleg K. Perhaps there's some other reason for having a private preview first. Or you could always apply for involvement.

Super Contributor

I think private preview is now a standard practice in  MS. But they usually only announce when it goes public out of private preview. And even then it could take months and months before the GA. This creates a fatigue. They excite people too soon, then drag with the release and annoy those who waits (or even plans) on a feature.

Respected Contributor

@Oleg K send an email to the address and ask to be included.


Don't know whether it's a wrong screenshot in the section Auditing and reporting, but the screenshot to demonstrate an auto-renewed group in Azure auditing shows hard deleted groups. Is an auto renewal really marked with the activity Hard Delete Group?

Senior Member

And here I thought the Expiration Policy was always based on user Activity and not just a fixed number of days.

So yes, this is definitely needed for everybody asap

Occasional Contributor

@Salil_Kakkar Out of interest, what would be the expected (or planned) behavior when combined with a team that is already archived, or is archived before the expiration date?





Senior Member

Will we be able to exclude groups from expiration? Or can we use powershell to add and remove groups from the "Select" groups?

Frequent Visitor
Thanks for this, improvement was definitely required for the auto-expiry feature. A question if I may? I note in the example, it mentions 'sending an email to the group in Outlook', and also in the diagram 'Alex sends a group email in Outlook', but in the 'User actions for group renewal' section, this action isn't listed. My question: does sending an email to the group register as activity to keep the group from being expired? Thanks, Marcus.

@Marcus_Buchanan please note Read/write group message from within group space counts as valid (auto-renewal) activity. However, just sending a message to a group does not count towards auto-renewal. This is because there are certain subscription use-cases (email subscription for groups, Teams subscription to feeds/notifications etc.) for which we got feedback that users would not want to auto-renew the group. Hope this helps.

Occasional Visitor

@Salil_Kakkar  are you able to share timelines for when auto-renewal will be available? Thanks!

New Contributor

This looks really nice! BUT


how do you intend to monitor the "etc." Apps? Like MS Stream? Like Planner? Like PowerBI?

Those Apps come together with a Group created from within Teams. It could be that SharePoint, Teams or Outlook would not be used by users after some while, but they contine to work in Planner, in Stream, in PowerBi Workspace. The user activity is then there. How do you Monitor this, without deleting the Group and the valueable data in it?

Senior Member

Looks like a great feature! Question: how does this relate to retention policies on documents/items? If the group has not had activity within the determined time, but some group documents fall under a longer retention period, what happens then? I would think that, consistent with the logic of retention policies, that specific policies (on a document, library, etc.) overrule generic policies (like expiration of the group as a whole). Am I right in this assumption?

New Contributor

Great first steps. Please consider my other post, too.



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