The primary difference between deactivating a user and deleting user is that deactivating a user means that the user can still be reactivated in the user menu:
Whereas a user that is deleted is permanently removed and there is no way to restore that user. The primary areas where the delete/deactivate actions relating to the user are impacted are in the following areas:
All content that is in shared folders remain.
Private folders remain for deactivated users but deleted users have their Private folders sent to Trash. However, the content from the deleted private folder can be restored from trash:
The files are restored to the path "/Shared/Files from Deleted Users":
The rules for deactivating or deleting a user with regard to links is explained in the My Links FAQ.
When a user is deleted, the admins will also receive an email "User Deprovisioning Report"
The admin will have the option to delete the links permanently. The buttons are operable for a week, but an admin can always go to the Link Summary Report later to manually delete those links or through the Public API.
Groups & Roles
Deactivated users remain as members or owners of the groups that they are assigned to. Note that there is currently no indication that the user is deactivated in the menu. Those users can still be removed from the group but cannot be re-added.
Deleted users are permanently removed, and therefore are removed from the groups as owners or members.
Deactivated users still show under folder permissions but the user will be shown as "deactivated":
As shown in the above example, the deactivated user may be removed from folders where they exist, but they may not be re-added with permissions until they are reactivated. The users that are deactivated will not appear in any search boxes.
If a user is deleted they are completely removed from permissions.
If an assignor user is deactivated and then subsequently re-activated, all the same notifications and emails that would be sent at the time or for a due date will be sent. Since there is no way to currently restore a deleted user subsequent task notifications are sent. In "My Tasks", for any tasks where the assignor is deleted/deactivated the user will still show the assignor name but will have "(deleted)" or "(deactivated)" next to the name.
If the assignee user is deleted or deactivated, the assignor will get an email notification indicating that the assignee for the task has been deleted. Until the assignee is replaced, none of the other notifications will be sent (i.e. due date) because the task is dead if there is no assignee. Under "My Tasks", the task will be available for viewing but the assignee will now be listed as "(deleted)" or "(deactivated)". In addition, in the file preview, the task widget will show the user as being "(deleted)" or "(deactivated)".
When the first admin user of the workgroup is deleted, deactivated, downgraded or changed, the primary contact of the domain will be automatically updated to the next first admin user.
Any users that are deactivated or deleted will not count toward the user count for billing purposes.