In most organizations, you will have the employees leave at some point.  In most cases, you will you probably want to access and protect their data. Data such as documents and emails and then transfer ownership to a manager or new employee.  Performing a dump of the users home directories and contents of a hard drive is common practice, like that of exporting their PST from Outlook or even directly out of Office 365’s compliance center.  Often overlooked is the contents of the users OneDrive.

OneDrive for Business may have been used to not only store and share documents but an archive space for the employee.  Please note that OneDrive offers the user the ability to keep its contents synced with the user’s computer or just in-cloud.  So the traditional method of backing up the computer may not always apply in this area.

I suggest taking the following steps to gain access and download the contents:

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your admin account – Account having administrative privileges
  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center.
  3. Go to Active users and select the user.
  4. Expand OneDrive Settings in the user details pane, and then click Access files.
  5. Copy the files to your own OneDrive for Business or a common location.

Note:

  • If you only remove a user’s license but don’t delete the account, the content in the user’s OneDrive will remain accessible to you even after 30 days by default
  • Before you delete the account, you should move the content of their OneDrive to another location that’s easy for you to access. If you already deleted their account, you have 30 days to restore it.

If the account license has been removed, then the following steps can be used:

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your admin account – Account having administrative privileges
  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center.
  3. Goto SharePoint
  4. In the SharePoint admin center, Select ‘user profiles’
  5. Select manage user profiles
  6. Enter former user’s account name under find. – Note: you may have to switch from Active Profiles to Profiles Missing from Import

  7. Choose the account and click the small (almost not seen) black arrow and select Manage site collection owners to add your admin account site collection administrators
  8. Once added as a site collection owner you can choose manage the personal site to access the setting page of that user’s OneDrive for business site settings
  9. Next, change the URL “setting.aspx” at the end of the url to “onedrive.aspx”

You should now be in the users One Drive Folder to view contents.