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.

Note: 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.