How to Deal with Terminated Users in OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business, Microsoft

If a user leaves the company and their account is deleted, and/or their license is withdrawn, what happens with the business data in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

We’ve discussed how to deal with terminated users in Office 365 in a previous post. But when SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business are the source and destination, it can present a new set of obstacles. What migration methods exist that can handle such a scenario?

First, here’s an illustration that maps out the scenario:

storage,SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business


For all team sites in SharePoint Online (Office 365) the company has a storage of 10 GB + 500 MB for each user for free. Additional storage may be purchased. In OneDrive for Business, each user with a license has 1 TB storage, and later on this year unlimited storage. The illustration shows, that User A is a member of the Team Sites “Marketing” and “Support”. Additionally user A also has shared folders and files with User B and C, but he is the owner.

The company does not have to pay for the the storage of OneDrive for Business. It is becoming increasingly popular to switch content to OneDrive without ultimately considering the consequences. You may also may establish a Team site inside your OneDrive for Business — this is a separate site collection.

In our example, User A leaves the company. The administrator deletes User A in the Active Directory and/or withdraw the Office 365 license.

User Deleted, Behavior in SharePoint Online , Behavior in OneDrive for Business

There is no problem with the two team sites, because User A no longer exists. But in Office 365, there will be an automatic process initiated called “My Site Cleanup timer job.” Microsoft has more details on this at KB 3042522.

The short version:

A work or school account is deleted from the Microsoft Office 365 admin center or is removed through Active Directory synchronization.

The account deletion is synchronized to SharePoint Online.

The My Site Cleanup timer job runs, and the user profile is marked for deletion. The profile will be preserved in the database in a deleted state for 30 days. This coincides with the time that’s allocated to restore a deleted user account from the Azure Active Directory recycle bin.

If the Manager field is populated for the deleted account, the manager will receive an email message that states that the site will be removed in 30 days and that access to the site is granted to the manager.

If the Manager field isn’t populated for the user account and a secondary owner was configured in Setup My Sites under the User Profile section of the SharePoint admin center, the secondary owner contact will receive an email message that states that the site will be removed in 30 days and that access to the site is granted to the user. The email will be as follows:

The My Site of xxxxxx is scheduled for deletion in 30 days. As their manager, you are now the temporary owner of their site. This temporary ownership gives you access to the site to copy any business-related information you might need. To access the site use this URL: 

After 27 days, a second email message will be sent to the manager or secondary owner that states that the site will be deleted in three days.

After three days, the profile for the deleted account is deleted from the user profile service.

Users of OneDrive for Business know that it is not possible to move data to another user, especially with the web browser. The admin must sync the data of the User A to his local machine (down) and then to the new User X (up). But you have to additionally look for the rights of the documents. This does not work. But luckily there is a solution.

Migration of Onedrive for Business to OneDrive for Business

The MigrationWiz solution from BitTitan may migrate OneDrive for Business Data from any user in Office 365 to another user in Office 365, such as in our example from User A to User X. MigrationWiz is capable of handling this scenario, in addition to several other more complicated and uncommon project types.

Learn more about how MigrationWiz handles migrating OneDrive data by reading the following article in our Knowledge Base:

Microsoft OneDrive for Business to Microsoft OneDrive for Business Migration Guide

If you decide to migrate, you should read all sections carefully.

In “How do I purchase licenses” it should be noted that this is a document migration, and the document license type authorize 10GB per license of data, per user, and up to 10 passes.

After you have migrated the data to the new user (X) and assigned him/her the rights to work in the “Marketing” and “Support” team sites, it looks like:OneDrive for Business after the migration

(Please note: MigrationWiz does not move data off the source server and onto the destination – the data will only be copied.)


Currently, manual migrations are too costly — especially when multiple users leave the company, which indeed occurs but more common in large companies. The current limitations of the sync clients (Groove.exe) make it almost impossible to synchronize large amounts of data. A migration via MigrationWiz, the automated data migration solution, enables you to save time, money, and resources on projects of any size, and allows quick access to your data during and after each migration.

To learn more about MigrationWiz, visit BitTitan’s website.

If you have any questions you’d like answered, reach out today! Our BitTitan experts are here for you anytime.


We have a library of on-demand webinars on a variety of migration topics.


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