Step 7 - Delete a former employee's user account

After you've saved and accessed all the former employee's user data, you can delete the former employee's account.


Don't delete the account if you've set up email forwarding or converted it to a shared mailbox. Both need the account to anchor the forwarding or shared mailbox.

  1. In the admin center, go to the Users > Active users page.
  2. Select the name of the employee that you want to delete.
  3. Under the user's name, select Delete user. Choose the options you want for this user, and then select Delete user. If you've already given another user access to this user's email and OneDrive, you don't have to do it again here.

When you delete a user, the account becomes inactive for approximately 30 days. You've until then to restore the account before it's permanently deleted.

Watch: Delete a former employee's user account

If you found this video helpful, check out the complete training series for small businesses and those new to Microsoft 365.

Does your organization use Active Directory?

If your organization synchronizes user accounts to Microsoft 365 from a local Active Directory environment, you must delete and restore those user accounts in your local Active Directory service. You can't delete or restore them in Microsoft 365.

To learn how to delete and restore user account in Active Directory, see Delete a User Account.

If you're using Azure Active Directory, see the Remove-MgUser PowerShell cmdlet.

What you need to know about terminating an employee's email session

Here's information about how to get an employee out of email (Exchange).

What you can do How you do it
Terminate a session (such as Outlook on the web, Outlook, Exchange active sync, etc.) and force to open a new session Reset password
Terminate a session and block access to future sessions (for all protocols) Disable the account. For example, in the Exchange admin center or using PowerShell:

Set-Mailbox -AccountDisabled:$true

Terminate the session for a particular protocol (such as ActiveSync) Disable the protocol. For example, in the Exchange admin center or using PowerShell:

Set-CASMailbox -ActiveSyncEnabled:$false

The above operations can be done in three places:

If you terminate the session here How long it takes
In the Exchange admin center or using PowerShell Expected delay is within 30 min
In the Azure Active Directory admin center Expected delay is 60 min
In an on-premises environment Expected delay is 3 hours or more

How to get fastest response for account termination

Fastest: Use the Exchange admin center (use PowerShell) or Azure Active Directory admin center. In an on-premises environment, it can take several hours to sync the change through Azure AD Connect.

Fastest for a user with presence on-premises and in the Exchange Datacenter: Terminate the session using Azure Active Directory admin center/Exchange admin center AND make the change in the on-premises environment as well. Otherwise, the change in Azure Active Directory admin center/Exchange admin center will be overwritten by Azure AD Connect.

Restore a user (article)

Reset passwords (article)