No soft-deleted mailbox after license removal in Office 365 Dedicated/ITAR (vNext)

Symptoms

When you try to perform a mailbox-restore operation to recover the contents of a deleted mailbox in Microsoft Office 365 Dedicated/ITAR (vNext), you can't find a soft-deleted mailbox for the account that was deprovisioned.

Cause

Currently, removing the license leaves the mailbox in a hard-deleted state. Therefore, the mailbox is not displayed as either Soft Deleted or Inactive. The following command is specific to removing the license in PowerShell:
Set-MSOLUserLicense -UserPrincipalName “<Account>” -RemoveLicenses 
This may leave the mailbox in a disabled state that prevents it from being displayed as either Soft Deleted or Inactive. In this situation, the following commands won’t find the mailbox:
Get-Mailbox <Account> -SoftDeletedMailbox
Get-Mailbox <Account> -IncludeInactive

Resolution

When the license is removed from a mailbox without following other deprovisioning steps, this may leave the mailbox in a hard-deleted state. In order to recover the mailbox, the user must relicense the Azure user object. That will reconnect the mailbox as long as it’s within 30 days from the disconnect date.

Screen shot of the assign license page

Customers may find that the Azure user object is missing because they may have deleted the associated Active Directory object on their side. If this is the case, they will find the user object in the Recycle Bin in the vNext Admin Portal. (The customer will be converted to a Cloud user instead of synchronized by Active Directory). The user object can be restored from the Recycle Bin and relicensed to reconnect the mailbox.

Screen shot of the deleted users page

As soon as the mailboxes are reconnected, they can be exported through the eDiscovery Export Tool.
Properties

Article ID: 3158794 - Last Review: Apr 25, 2016 - Revision: 1

Microsoft Business Productivity Online Dedicated, Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite Federal

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