Get access to and back up a former user's data


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When an employee leaves your organization, you probably want to access their data (documents and emails) and either review it, back it up, or transfer ownership to a new employee.

Access a former user's OneDrive documents

If you remove a user's license but don't delete the account, you retain access to the content in the user's OneDrive site. If you delete their account you have 30 days to access a former user’s OneDrive data. If you don't restore a user account within 30 days their OneDrive content is deleted. Before you delete the account, you should move the content from their OneDrive to another location.

To preserve a former user's OneDrive for Business documents you first access their OneDrive site and then move the files.

  1. In the admin center, go to the Users > Active users page.

  2. Select a user.

  3. In the right pane, choose OneDrive. Under Get access to files, choose Create link to files.

  4. Click the link to open the file location and download and copy the files to your own OneDrive for Business, or a common location. You can also share the link with another user to download the files.


    You can move up to 500 MB of files and folders at a time. When you use Move to with documents that have version history, only the latest version is moved. To move earlier versions, you need to restore and move each one.

Revoke admin access to a user’s OneDrive site

As global admin you have access to the content in a user’s OneDrive site, but you may want to remove your access to a user’s documents. By default, the OneDrive Site Collection Administrator is the owner of the OneDrive account. The following steps describe how to remove a Site Collection Admin from a user’s OneDrive site.

  1. Sign in to the admin center as a global admin or SharePoint admin.

    If you get a message that you don't have permission to access the admin center, then you don't have administrator permissions in your organization.

  2. In the left pane, choose Admin centers > SharePoint.

  3. In the left pane, choose User Profiles.

  4. Under People, choose Manage User Profiles.

  5. Enter the user's name and select Find.

  6. Right-click the user, then select Manage site collection owners.

  7. Remove the person who no longer needs access to the user's data, then select OK.

Learn more about how to add or remove site collection admins in the new SharePoint admin center, or in the classic SharePoint admin center.

Access the Outlook data of a former user

To save the email messages, calendar, tasks, and contacts of the former employee, export the information to an Outlook Data File (.pst).

  1. Add the former employee's email to your Outlook (If you reset the user's password, you can set it to something only you know.)

  2. In Outlook, choose File.

    This is what the ribbon looks like in Outlook 2016.

  3. Choose Open & Export > Import/Export.

    Import/Export command in the Backstage view

  4. Click Export to a file, and then click Next.

    Export to a file option in the Import and Export Wizard

  5. Click Outlook Data File (.pst), and then click Next.

  6. Select the account you want to export by clicking the name or email address, such as Mailbox - Anne Weiler or If you want to export everything in your account, including mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes, make sure the Include subfolders check box is selected.


    You can export one account at a time. If you want to export multiple accounts, after one account is exported, repeat these steps.

    Export Outlook Data File dialog box with top folder selected and Include subfolders checked

  7. Click Next.

  8. Click Browse to select where to save the Outlook Data File (.pst). Type a file name , and then click OK to continue.


    If you've used export before, the previous folder location and file name appear. Type a different file name before clicking OK.

  9. If you are exporting to an existing Outlook Data File (.pst), under Options, specify what to do when exporting items that already exist in the file.

  10. Click Finish.

Outlook begins the export immediately unless a new Outlook Data File (.pst) is created or a password-protected file is used.

  • If you're creating an Outlook Data File (.pst), an optional password can help protect the file. When the Create Outlook Data File dialog box appears, type the password in the Password and Verify Password boxes, and then click OK. In the Outlook Data File Password dialog box, type the password , and then click OK.

  • If you're exporting to an existing Outlook Data File (.pst) that is password protected, in the Outlook Data File Password dialog box, type the password , and then click OK.

See how to Export or backup email, contacts, and calendar to an Outlook .pst file in Outlook 2010.

Give another user access to a former user's email

To give access to the email messages, calendar, tasks, and contacts of the former employee to another employee, import the information to another employee's Outlook inbox.

  1. In Outlook, choose File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

    This starts the Import and Export Wizard.

  2. Choose Import from another program or file, and then click Next.

    Import and Export Wizard

  3. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst), and click Next.

  4. Browse to the .pst file you want to import.

  5. Under Options, choose how you want to deal with duplicates

  6. Click Next.

  7. If a password was assigned to the Outlook Data File (.pst), enter the password, and then click OK.

  8. Set the options for importing items. The default settings usually don't need to be changed.

  9. Click Finish.


If you want to import or restore only a few items from an Outlook Data File (.pst), you can open the Outlook Data File. Then, in the navigation pane, click and drag the items from Outlook Data File folders to your existing Outlook folders.

Remove a former employee from Office 365

Add and remove admins on a OneDrive account

Manage site collection administrators

OneDrive retention and deletion