18 January 2021

Microsoft mail about expiring group

Group Experiration Renewal Mail
Example of email

It’s possible that you receive an email from Microsoft that mentions an expiring group.

Such an email will be sent from msonlineservicesteam@microsoftonline.com. The subject of the email will be “Action Required: Renew [group name] by [date]”.

This email is completely as expected. It’s safe and it’s not spam.

Click HERE to check how the email will look like. In the actual email the text between the square brackets will be replaced by the real data.

What is meant with a “group”?

The term “group” is derived from “Microsoft 365 groups”. Technically this is a service that enables Office 365 users to make use of the various Office 365 components like Teams, SharePoint and Exchange Online (email). The service is connecting the components with each other and is taking care that the users have the correct authorizations on the various components. For this reason a so called “group” is created under the hood when for example a team is created in Microsoft Teams.

Why do I receive this email?

Microsoft is sending these emails as a result of a recently changed Office 365 setting. In 90% of the cases you receive this email because you’re a team owner in Microsoft Teams. The group name that is mentioned in the email is probably recognizable as team name.

If you don’t recognize the group name as team name then you should be able to recognize the name as one of the following things:

  • The name of a group you created in Outlook in the past or of which you are (co-)owner.
  • The name of a plan you created in Planner in the past or of which you are (co-)owner.
  • The name of a group you created in Stream in the past or of which you are (co-)owner.

What do I have to do with this email?

If the team (or one of the other mentioned objects above) must be retained then one of the owners should click on the Renew group button.

What will happen if I do nothing with this email?

The owners have 30 days to execute this action. If the owners do not respond during this period then after this period all of the data (like the team in Microsoft Teams) will be deleted, including all documents within.

Owners will be notified two more times. The first time is after 15 days and the second time is after 29 days. If meanwhile no further action is taken then the group is deleted automatically on day 30.

A deleted group (including the team in Microsoft Teams and all documents) can be restored during a period of 30 days after deletion by ITS. If the group is not restored during this period then everything is deleted permanently.

At the bottom of the email you’re also able to delete the group directly by yourself.

Can I expect more emails like this in the future?

Yes, that’s possible. From now on an email like this will be sent if for example a team is not used anymore for a year. If you are an owner of such a team you can expect an email like this again.