Disable Azure AD Directory Sync without AD Connect

I had a situation recently where I wanted to shuffle my labs around as I’ve changed jobs and also got access to a new Azure subscription as part of my MVP award. I decided to bite the bullet and just start again as it had been a while since I changed my lab around and in the words or Satya Nadella it was time to Hit Refresh.

The only thing I wanted to take over was my domain name in Azure AD. But in this case as it’s a lab I seem to have mislaid the server I was using for Azure AD synchronisation during one of my many ‘playing around’ sessions. That, it seems, is a bit of a problem. In order to delete the domain name from my Azure AD I need to make sure there’s nothing reliant on it. I’d already switched my primary domain around so it was no longer my ‘vanity’ domain. But, in my case the users were synchronised from an AD using Azure AD Connect and I didn’t have any access to that AD Connect to ‘un-synchronise’ them.

Custom domain names


You can see here that if I select the domain and try and delete it…


I actually get thrown a warning as described and the Delete button is greyed out Sad smile


You can click on each warning and it will highlight the user accounts and groups that you have using that domain.

User References

User accounts and groups


Now, as is often the case with Microsoft, all is not what it seems and you can do more in PowerShell than you can in the console. We have the capability to force a disable on directory synchronisation through the MSOnline PowerShell module. So here goes…

First you need to import the PowerShell module for MSOnline.

Import-Module MSOnline

Import the PowerShell module for MSOnline

Now you need to connect to the Microsoft Online service.


Sign in

Now complete the authentication challenge. You will need to use an account with global admin in the directory.

Now you’re connected in through PowerShell you can make a check on the current directory synchronisation status.


Change the directory synchronisation to false.

Now you can change the directory synchronisation to false.

Set-MsolDirSyncEnabled –EnableDirSync $false

As this is a change, you will be prompted to confirm.


You should now see an emphatic lack of errors whilst the command succeeds.


If you like, you can now re-run the check and prove that the change was made.



Yes, of course there’s always a catch. This change may take UPTO 72 HOURS to take effect depending on the number of objects you have in your subscription. Keep checking back. In my lab I only have a handful of user accounts so it was actually done in minutes as opposed to hours.

That’s me done. If you want to see how to reclaim the custom domain as I did then check out this follow up post.


About the Author:

Hi, I’m Peter Egerton. I put this blog together as a central place to accumulate my posts from the various places that I write tech blogs and a collection of the tips, errors and general IT ramblings I come across in my daily work life. Some of these blog posts are from my posts on WMUG, some from the Microsoft TechNet UK blog, employer blogs and finally HybridCloud.Social. All of the content is original so if you see if not on one of these sites then it’s copied, please let me know via twitter or blog comment.


Egerton, P (2018). Disable Azure AD Directory Sync without AD Connect. Available at: https://morethanpatches.com/2018/07/02/disable-azure-ad-directory-sync-without-ad-connect/ [Accessed: 18 October 2018]

Share this on...

Rate this Post: