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View When You Deleted an Office 365 Group

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Introduction

The ability for soft-delete and restore of an Office 365 Group has recently been released. I put together some information about that in my previous post here. Before this restoration was possible, when you deleted an Office 365 Group it was fully gone. Now we have the ability to view Groups that have been deleted and restore them using PowerShell.

The ability to restore was a great but there was a small gap for me when the cmdlets were first rolled out:

  • You have 30 days to restore an Office 365 Group but you didn’t know when an Office 365 Group was deleted. 

This would make building any logic around things like notifications or reporting a challenge as we could not tell which Groups were about to expire. 

This has been resolved by Microsoft and we now have the ability to see the Deleted Date and Time of an Office 365 Group for the 30 days it is retained using PowerShell. 


What you need to know

  • You can only view the deletion date via PowerShell
  • You can only view the deletion date of Groups that are in the pending permanent delete state that stays around for 30 days

Prerequisites:

  • Azure AD PowerShell V2 – Preview 
    • The release of the cmdlets that support Office 365 Group recovery are now available only in the preview cmdlets. 
    • I am writing this using version 2.0.0.110

Viewing when an Office 365 Group was deleted

1 – Connect to Azure AD via PowerShell (ensure you connect to Preview)

2 – Review the Office 365 Groups that have been deleted and when they were deleted

This will sort the Groups by their DeletedDateTime

You are now good to go build something fancy like:

  • Build a report for admins to notify them weekly what Groups are being permanently deleted
  • Build a single page app to surface deleted Groups and allow users to recover them using an Azure Function

Recovering a Deleted Office 365 Group via PowerShell

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Introduction

Ever since Office 365 Groups were released which feels like many moons ago now, when it was deleted, it was unrecoverable.  So if you either on purpose or accidentally deleted an Office 365 Group you lost all your data.  You lost your SharePoint site, Planner data, Outlook mailbox…all of it.  There was a checkbox that you had to check in most places letting you know that deletion was permanent.  What began happening though with the proliferation of Groups throughout Office 365 there was a ton of ways and places to delete a Group.  Last time I tried counting there was at least 16 different ways to delete a Group.  That is a ton of places for UI to be just different enough and someone to make a mistake.  This was also a large concern for regulated or very security aware environments.  The ability to discover and recover critical data can be mandatory in these environments.  That means the lack of ability to restore Groups could be a single bottle neck to stop usage of such a helpful technology. 

Thankfully our wait is now no more and we can recover a deleted Office 365 Group.  The message that this was rolling out appeared in Message Centers today and the Office 365 Roadmap has already been updated that this has been launched. 

Here is the announcement on the Tech Community site and the supporting Microsoft Documentation


NOTE: I am writing this right around the launch date of this feature and will try to keep this post updated if anything changes

What you need to know

  • Currently you can only recover them via PowerShell with GUI coming later
  • You have 30 days from the deletion of the Group to recover it, if not it will be permanently deleted
  • You cannot restore a group if a group with the same SMTP address or alias now exists (that new group would have to be deleted first)
  • It could take up to 24 hours to restore in rare cases
  • You can permanently delete a Group within the 30 days 
  • Content that currently gets restored includes:
    • AD Groups Object including properties and members
    • SMTP address
    • Exchange mailbox & calendar
    • SharePoint Online site
    • OneNote notebook hosted on the SPO site
    • Planner
    •  Additionally if you have a connected Microsoft Team or Office 365 Connected Yammer group those can be restored as well

Prerequisites:

  • Azure AD PowerShell V2 – Preview 
    • The release of the cmdlets that support Office 365 Group recovery are now available only in the preview cmdlets. 
    • I am writing this using version 2.0.0.98 

Steps to recover a deleted Office 365 Group

In my example I have a Group called InterestGroup1 which was deleted and can no longer be seen:

1 – Connect to Azure AD via PowerShell (ensure you connect to Preview)

2 – Review the Office 365 Groups that have been deleted and can be recovered 

I included the list of properties in this for visibility to see everything returned in the recoverable Group object.  You only need Get-AzureADMSDeletedGroup,  ”  | select * ”  is not required. 

3 – Select the Group you want to recover and ensure that you selected a group

Replace “ENTER GROUP DISPLAY NAME HERE” with the appropriate name of the Group you want to recover.  I put this together so you just need to enter the Group Display Name instead of copying the GUID but entering just the ID is also valid in the next step.

4 – Recover your Group

You can run the command from step 2 above to review that your Group you are recovering is no longer in the Deleted Group list.

5 – Confirm you Group has been recovered

After some time it will start popping back up in the GUI.


Steps to permanently delete an Office 365 Group

You can also delete a Group that is in the pending 30 day deletion using this process.  This will delete everything and not be recoverable. 

1 – Follow steps 1 through 3 above to connect to Azure AD and get the group you want to recover in the $deletedgroup variable.  

Instead of using the Restore-AzureADMSDeletedDirectoryObject cmdlet use the Remove-AzureADMSDeletedDirectoryObject cmdlet and passing the Group ID.

2 – Review the Office 365 Group has been deleted