I've got a Sharepoint Online subsite that has libraries that function basically entirely on unique permissions because its heavily used by external users the permission structure is not exactly standard.

The issue we keep running into is that someone will go to remove a user permission and accidentally click on Delete Unique Permissions. This deletes all of the unique permissions. So if they managed to click on it at the subsite level we lose all of the library permission settings. Through my conversations with Microsoft there isn't an easy way to recover permission settings. It would be nice to remove the ability to click that button for this particular subsite.

2 Answers 2


As the permission page is an application page, i do not think you can edit a permission settings page in SharePoint Online.

The workaround i can think of is create a PowerShell script to re-grant permissions to users who have been affected by the mistake. If there is no big change on the hierarchy, it will be a bit easier for you to recover.

  • Thanks jerry, this was something I was working on already to create a backup with PS and then restore if it happens again. Was hoping that there was a way to prevent it before it came to that. Oh well.
    – heuplek
    Sep 26, 2019 at 15:04
  • @heuplek Unfortunately i think this will be the only doable workaround. Or simple change the user who handle this task. If the reply is helpful, you can mark it as answer. Thank you.
    – Jerry_MSFT
    Sep 30, 2019 at 8:06

It sounds like you need to adjust the number of people in the Full Control and Manage Hierarchy groups - see this Microsoft link for an overview.

Examine which users are in these groups at present, ask yourself would the manage to do their jobs if they had Edit or Contribute permissions instead?

Once you have completed this review and reduced the number of people in the Full Control or Manage Hierarchy groups there will be fewer people accidentally clicking on the wrong button while leaning over their mouse to pick up their coffee and biscuits...

  • Yes, we've reviewed this in the past. It has led to only have one user in that group now. They have received training on adding and deleting permissions. It did not stop them from recently making this mistake which is why I'm looking for a hard stop option. I've seen suggestions of graying out/disabling that button when users in a list are selected which makes sense to me as the button isn't relevant to specific user permissions.
    – heuplek
    Sep 25, 2019 at 16:50
  • Is the one user in the group the person who deleted the unique permissions? It could be time to swap to someone else! Anyway, Jerry mentions powershell, which made me think you get 'take a back-up' of permissions using powershell too, if that would be helpful. At least you'd have a snapshot of permissions on that day "who could access what on date x".
    – Tally
    Sep 26, 2019 at 8:01
  • Thanks Tally, I was going that direction already just wanted to see if there was a way to prevent it all together.
    – heuplek
    Sep 26, 2019 at 15:05

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