Implementing Microsoft 365 group expiration policy in large companies

This post is dedicated to one specific subject: implementing Microsoft 365 groups lifecycle (expiration) policy in large Microsoft 365 environments.

But this post is also a part of a bigger problem – dealing with ownerless resources in Large Microsoft 365 environments. Please refer to the umbrella post.


You administer a large Microsoft 365 environment. Let say you have 100k users or more, 50K or more sites. Environment is not new, so after some years you have a lot of ownerless groups and sites (thousands probably), and a lot of inactive groups and sites (probably tens of thousands). You are getting more and more ownerless groups – hundreds each month. You are thinking of stopping bleeding and cleaning this up…

Implementing Microsoft 365 groups expiration policy

If you are thinking of activating in an existing environment – you would probably have a spike – all the old groups will be subject to policy. The ide is to avoid situation when a specific person – group owner will get dozens of email. It would be better if a person will receieve, let say one email per week.

Here is my 4 possible approaches to avoid this spike, distribute notifications evenly across the time and ease the pain:

By changing Group Lifetime

You would need to change the policy every, e.g. week, specifying different group lifetime in days period. Consider
– calculate number of days between the oldest group created an today, plus 35 days – it’ll be your first “group lifetime”
– activate the policy with this number of days in “group lifetime” – and within a week you will get notifications on the oldest group/groups
– after a week or two – change the “group lifetime” decreasing it by e.g. 30-60 days and reactivate the policy… and so on

You can easily calculate it all and choose your pace depending on how many groups you have to renew, how much time you need to clean-up. You got the idea.

Downside – in the email notification it will be said “otherwise the group will be deleted on …”, but once you start joggling with dates – this will not be true probably.

By renewing groups as admin


By sending customized e-mails to users


By sending users to the groups page


2 thoughts on “Implementing Microsoft 365 group expiration policy in large companies

  1. Pingback: Microsoft 365 group expiration policy ⋆ Vladilen

  2. Pingback: Dealing with Ownerless Groups in large Microsoft 365 environments ⋆ Vladilen

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