Manage former employees and their data

When an employee leaves your company, you can change that user’s status from active to archived. This assigns the user an Archived User (AU) license. You can maintain users’ data more securely, while preventing them from accessing Google Workspace services.

How AU licensing works

To archive a user, you need an AU license available.

The license type corresponds to your Google Workspace edition. For example, if you have Enterprise Plus, you buy Enterprise Plus – Archived User licenses. AU licenses are available for these editions:

  • Enterprise Plus
  • Enterprise Standard
  • Business Plus
  • G Suite Business

When you archive a user, their active Google Workspace license becomes available to assign to another user. It can take up to 24 hours before you can assign the active license to a different user.

If you transition your Google Workspace subscription, you also need to transition your AU subscription to match before you can archive more users. If you already have archived users, their AU licenses automatically transition to your new AU subscription. Learn how to Transition your Archived User subscription.

How archiving and unarchiving affect a user

When you archive a user, Google safely maintains the user’s Google Workspace services data and makes it available in Google Vault. The data is protected according to Vault retention rules and holds, and you can search and export it. Learn more.

The user’s data (from core services such as Gmail and Drive, and non-core services such as Google Classroom) is available to other users in the organization.

An archived user:

  • Can’t sign in to their Google Account, on any system. This includes Google Workspace services, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Drive.
  • Doesn’t appear in the Global Address List. In user directory listings, the user appears with archived status. Learn about the Global Address List.

A user’s archived status appears in user reports, making it easy to monitor, manage, and eventually delete archived users.

When you unarchive a user, the Google Workspace edition that matches their AU license is applied. If no active license is available, the unarchiving process fails and the user remains archived with their AU license.

After you unarchive a user, the user automatically regains access to all their previous data.

How archiving and unarchiving work

You can archive users manually or by using the Directory API archived field. If no AU licenses are available, an error message appears when you try to archive a user.

You can archive both active and suspended users. If you unarchive a user, they return to their previous state.

An archived user can be deleted or unarchived, but not suspended in the Admin console.

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