I'm a SP Admin with a basic understanding of how AD and Sharepoint interact. I've had a request from management "...to remove former employee names from Sharepoint". While I've taken care of the SP permissions aspect of this, names are still found on e.g. shared documents. They might just want to remove these 'share exceptions' and there's no need to keep this info, since the employees have left the firm, they can't access these files anyway.

What effect would deleting the AD user profiles have on Sharepoint?

  • Would it remove the 'share exceptions'?
  • What about adverse effects - would files lose their meta-data (Created By, Modified By).
  • What would happen to people/group fields (e.g. task 'Assigned To' fields) - would the employee name remain here?

I found a similar post here, which suggests that deleting the AD profile wouldn't have adverse effects on document and list meta-data. It's more my lack of understanding of the programming elements in this answer that make me cautious (Trevor's a well-known contributor on this site).

Update - picture

Item level permissions / Limited Access

A picture is worth a thousand words - to explain what my awkward term 'share exceptions' means - perhaps 'file level permissions' would be a better term.

  • what's a "share exception"? Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 12:54
  • It is a permission that does not follow the rule for a given document library - a user can use the 'Share With' feature to share an individual document with another user. SP then creates a file level exception to allow the user to access the document that has been shared with them. Over time there can be a great deal of exceptions (to me it is indicative that these files might be better stored in a different doc library and the permissions can be tailored to suit requirements.
    – Tally
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


Deleting the user account from Active Directory or User Profile from the UPSA in SharePoint will have no adverse impact on metadata. Anything 'Created by' or 'Modified by' or otherwise containing that person's name will remain intact (the exception being if they are represented in a People Picker field in metadata -- if you edit the item, you will be forced to change it).

You can also delete them from the User Information List which you can get to by navigating to https://siteUrl/_layouts/people.aspx?MembershipGroupId=0, finding their username, and removing it from the site collection. This will have no impact on metadata for items in the site but will remove them from the User Information List.


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