Recovering MS Forms after the owner leaves the organization

One request for help landed on my lap today, and it’s an interesting one.


A user in the organization created several forms. Some of them have been used successfully, and important data was collected.

Unfortunately, the user left the organization, but ownership of those forms has not been transferred to a group. Furthermore, the admin was in a rush to not only disable to user account, but after backing up the mailbox and other profile data, the account was removed.

Later in the day, it has been determined that the departing user was the owner of those forms. While the forms are still accessible, there is no access to the data collected.


Turns out that, based on the documentation, the forms are saved for 30 days. The ones that are still enabled can still be accessed and submissions can still be processed on them.

In order to access the collected data, those forms can be transferred to a group.

First off, the requirements:

  • You must be a global admin with a Forms license assigned
  • You are still within the 30-day window since the account was deleted

In order to process a transfer of ownership, you must go to the following URL:[useremailaddress]

You can see here all the forms owned by the deleted user.

Select each form you want to transfer, and on the “More form actions” select the option to Move the form. Choose a new group owner.

Verify that the form, along with the recorded answers is now available with a user profile part of the group.

As a governance practice, you should ask users to Move existing forms to a group before making them available to the public and collecting data.

I found a few questions on the forums about the default forms behavior on user deletion, so I hope this helps shed some light on the topic.

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