Aug 08 2017 02:30 AM
Aug 08 2017 02:30 AM
Just after some clarification, hopefully from someone that has gone through the process.
Example, a staff member leaves the company and their account has it's O365 license removed as part of the leaver process. Then for some reason they come back to the company. When a license applied back to their old account everything should be active again. My question is does any data get deleted at the license removal stage or is it preserved to 30 days? assuming the staff member came back within 30 days would they see any data loss (SPO, ODB, mail etc) or will it appear as it was.
Aug 08 2017 02:49 AM
It's 30 days according to this and as long as the respective licence is restored within that timeframe, the data should remain intact:
"When you remove the license, all that user's data is held for 30 days. You can access the data, or restore the account if the user comes back. After 30 days, all the user's data (except for documents stored on SharePoint Online) is deleted permanently from Office 365 and can't be recovered."
Aug 08 2017 02:56 AM
Thank for the info Cain, I've seen that and not that I am suspecious of MS documentation but it would be good to hear if someone has gone through the process......not that I am paranoid or anything! :)
Aug 08 2017 03:06 AM
No problem, I have certainly seen this in the past, licences removed sometimes accidentally and then restored days later and the data was intact.
Aug 08 2017 03:37 AM
Aug 08 2017 05:48 AM
If you think someone will return, you should put their account on hold before you remove the license. As long as the hold remains in place, the data will stay inside Office 365 as the workloads do not remove information when a hold exists. The Exchange mailbox will be an "inactive mailbox" during this time. This approach is often used by companies to keep information for extended periods while they figure out a) if they need any of the data owned by a "leaver" account or b) if someone should take over the old resources.
Aug 08 2017 05:54 AM
We disable an account for 30 days after an employee leaves. Only then do we remove any licenses.
This also gives extra time for staff to ask for items out of their mailbox or OneDrive.
Sep 13 2018 08:35 PM
By saying "put their account on hold before you remove the license", what operation we should do exactly? There's no such operation called "put ... on hold", right?
Sep 13 2018 09:49 PM
In my tests i have seen old mailbox being preserved a month or so after a license removal for an old users. But when i tried to create a fresh AD user synced it, assigned a license, sent a few emails to it, then removed the license, in that case mailbox disappeared very quickly and assigning a license again resulted in a fresh mailbox. It was a year or so ago. I advice to do testing no matter what docs are saying. We also keep license assigned for a few weeks after the leave.
Sep 14 2018 01:40 AM
A mailbox is put on hold by applying a legal or in-place hold to the mailbox. You can do this with an Exchange hold or an Office 365 hold. Either works.
Sep 14 2018 04:10 AM
I have found litigation in-place hold option (either via EAC or in Office 365 admin center > Mail settings). So, if i apply such hold and remove a license it still should be there? Actually in my case we only need for the automatic reply to work for 2 weeks after leave. Wonder if it will work during such hold and if license is removed.
Sep 14 2018 07:15 AM
If you apply a hold (litigation or retention) to a mailbox and remove the license from the account, Exchange will then try to remove the mailbox because it's now unlicensed. It will discover that a hold is in place and will therefore make the mailbox inactive. If you remove the hold, the mailbox will be removed. The autoreply won't work for an inactive mailbox (it is inactive), AFAIK.
Sep 20 2018 08:26 AM
Thanks Tony! May I confirm if this feature applies to O365 E1? Or it requires higher level E3/5?
Sep 20 2018 08:40 AMSolution
Well, you've got to be able to place a hold on a mailbox before it can become inactive, so that means E3 or better.
Sep 20 2018 08:43 AM
Jul 17 2019 07:28 AM
@Tony Redmond In my experience this isn't what happens. If a mailbox is placed on lit-hold then the license is removed, after 30 days the mailbox remains in an active state and does not become inactive. In this scenario, the mailbox only becomes inactive if the remove-mailbox cmd is run or in the case of a synced user, remove-remotemailbox. Unfortunately both commands remove the AD/AAD account and the user cannot be reinstated. The question is, what limitations does this apply on the mailbox if it has no license assigned, lit-hold enabled but is still an active mailbox i.e. not flagged inactive?
Jul 17 2019 07:47 AM
Some more details.
You have a mailbox with litigation hold enabled.
You remove the license from the mailbox. The mailbox now becomes a candidate to be an inactive mailbox once its account is removed from Office 365.
Because the account is now unlicensed, Office 365 gives the tenant a 30-day grace period to license it. During this time, the mailbox is active and can receive email.
When the 30-day period elapses, background processes kick in and will find the unlicensed mailbox. At this point, the mailbox is either permanently removed or moved to an inactive state, depending on if holds exist.
You can force the process along by explicitly removing mailboxes or accounts. The grace period exists to allow tenants to recover from admin errors.
Once the mailbox is inactive, it can be recovered or restored.
Jul 17 2019 07:56 AM
Jul 17 2019 08:18 AM
@robshin If the mailbox is inactive, it can be restored or recovered.
Re. Assuming lit-hold is enabled, If you do not remove the account, but remove the license, then after 30 days the mailbox is not flagged as inactive and remains in its current state.
Eventually EXO will detect the lack of license and move the mailbox to an inactive state to respect the hold. The 30 days period is not exact as the background processes run when service load permits. It might be 30 days; then again it might be longer.