Having some trouble with an existing sharepoint 2010 user. I've reached the point where I just want to delete the user, however this is also failing.

Within powershell, I can successfully "get" the user:

$user = Get-SPUser  -Web <sharepoint_url> -Identity "domain\user"
...displays UserLogin, DisplayName...

However, if I try to remove them:

remove-spuser -Web <sharepoint_url> "domain\user"
Are you sure you want to perform this action?
Performing operation "Remove-SPUser" on Target "domain\user".
[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [S] Suspend  [?] Help (default is "Y"):
Remove-SPUser: Item does not exist.
The page you selected contains an item that does not exist.  It may have been deleted by another user.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can remove this user? Any help appreciated.

Reason for trying to delete the user

If the user is selected in the People Picker, the user is always ignored. eg. if I select this user and 4 others for a People column in a List, the other 4 users will be added but this user is just skipped. I'm not a sharepoint expert (clearly), but another SharePoint administrator has looked at the issue for several days and has no idea what the problem is, so I decided perhaps simply deleting the user and trying to create them again may fix the issue.

4 Answers 4



Remove-SPUser -Identity $user -Web http://webUrl

  • Great idea. Unfortunately, still the same error. In both cases, I get the "are you sure..." confirmation, but it fails with "Item does not exist" once I confirm. Jun 20, 2016 at 3:54

This problem might occur if you're dealing with different scopes for your SPWeb object. The get-spuser cmdlet generates one SPWeb object from the url you provide it, and the remove-spuser cmdlet generates another one.

You can try using the same SPWeb object by generating your SPWeb separately before retrieving the SPUser object, like so:

$web = Get-SPWeb <sharepoint_url>
$user = get-spuser -web $web -identity "domain\User"
remove-spuser -web $web -identity $user

Alternatively, you can let the remove-spuser cmdlet generate both the SPUser and the SPWeb object from the parameters you provide:

remove-spuser -identity "domain\User" -web <sharepoint_url>

Finally, another option is to pipe the results of one cmdlet to another:

get-spweb <sharepoint_url> | remove-spuser "domain\User"

The common thread in each case is that you're always dealing with exactly one SPWeb object instead of getting a new SPWeb with each cmdlet's execution.

  • Thanks Thriggle. I've tried all 3 options, but still getting the same problem for all. (I did however change "remove-spweb" to "remove-spuser" in the 3rd line of your first suggestion.) Jun 21, 2016 at 1:10
  • Darn! I'm not sure what else would be generating that error. Thanks for pointing that typo out; I've updated the code in my answer.
    – Thriggle
    Jun 21, 2016 at 14:14

This is pretty universal error message, something prevent you to do that... So, is there any running workflow assigned for that account/user? Does your user still exist inside SC user information list? (https://portal/SC/_catalogs/users/detail.aspx ). You tagged this question with SharePoint ENT tag, so you are probably using MySites. Does your user still have a personal site assigned and My Site Cleanup Time job is running?

And if I can ask, why you need to delete it? You have multiple items for one name (domain change or name change can be done with Move-SPUser cmdlet which replaces stsadm -o migrateuser) or he/she leves the company and no longer exist in AD?

  • Thanks Molik. I added reason for trying to delete the user in original question. Jun 21, 2016 at 22:32
  • The user is NOT in the /_catalogs/users/detail.aspx list. Jun 21, 2016 at 22:44
  • The My Site Cleanup Timer job runs every hour. It is not currently running and the History shows it is finishing successfully. Jun 21, 2016 at 23:03
  • This is an education environment and the user is a student with mostly "read only" permissions. There would be no workflows for the user. Jun 21, 2016 at 23:41
  • OK than, if it has read permissions only, will not be on user info list at all... (still better than found you have it multiple times), well last question from my side (to exclude few obvious possibilities), can you remove any other (demo/test/training user) account than this one?
    – Molik
    Jun 22, 2016 at 8:32

I had the same issue in Sharepoint 2010 Foundation. I managed to remove the user after having manually added it to site collection administrators, then manually removed it from there.

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