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Archive former employee accounts

Supported editions for this feature: Business Starter, Business Standard, and Business Plus; Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus. Compare your edition

When an employee leaves your company, you can archive that user account to securely retain their data and prevent them from accessing Google Workspace services. Archiving a user account changes their state to archived and assigns them an Archived User license.

What happens to an archived user’s account & data?

When you archive a user account, Google safely maintains the user’s Google Workspace services data. If the user has a Google Vault license or a license from an Archived User subscription that contains Vault, then the user's data is protected according to Vault retention rules and holds and you can search and export the data. Learn more

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

If the user has a license to an add-on subscription, such as Vault or Google Voice, the user keeps the license after you archive them. If the user no longer needs the add-on subscription, you can remove the license after archiving the user account. Learn more about removing licenses.

You can archive both active and suspended users. When you archive a user account, their active Google Workspace license becomes available to reassign to another user within 24 hours.

After a user is archived

After you archive a user, they:

  • Can’t sign in to their managed Google Account, on any system. This includes Google Workspace services, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Drive.
  • Don’t appear in the Global Address List. In user directory listings, the user appears with the archived status. Go to View the status of a user account.
  • Can be deleted or unarchived, but not suspended in the Admin console.
  • Display the archived status in user reports, making it easy to monitor, manage, and eventually delete archived users.
  • Can’t receive new email and calendar invitations as they are blocked when sent to the archived user’s account.

How unarchiving works

When you unarchive a user account, they return to their previous status and regain access to all their previous data.

To unarchive a user, you need an available license that matches their Google Workspace edition. If no active license is available, the unarchiving process fails and the user remains archived with their Archived User license.

After you unarchive a user account, you need to manually assign them a license for Google Workspace.

Before you begin: Buy Archived User subscription

To archive a user, you need an Archived User subscription. The process depends on your Google Workspace edition:

  • Business Starter and Business Standard—Follow the steps to archive a user in Archive or unarchive an individual user account (later on this page). If prompted, click Buy archived user subscription and follow the prompts. If you don't see this option, you can't yet buy an Archived User subscription in your Admin console. You can try again later.
  • Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus—Buy an Archived User subscription in your Google Admin console. For the steps, go to Add a paid subscription to your account.

Alternatively, for all editions, you can contact a Google Sales representative or a Google Cloud partner.

Archive or unarchive an individual user account

You can archive or unarchive a single user account on the Users page or on that individual user’s page.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Directoryand thenUsers.
  3. In the Users list, find the user. If you need help, go to Find a user account.
  4. Point to the user account to archive or unarchive.
  5. If you want to archive a user, click More options and select the correct option for your Google Workspace edition:
    • Business Starter and Business Standard—Select Delete user. On the next screen, click Archive user.
    • Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus—Select Archive user.
  6. If you want to unarchive a user, click Unarchive user.
  7. Click Done to confirm.

Archive or unarchive users in bulk

You can archive or unarchive users in bulk using a CSV file or the Admin SDK APIs.

To archive or unarchive multiple users using a CSV file:

  1. Follow the directions in Add several users at once.
  2. In the downloaded CSV template, in the New Status [Upload Only] column, enter Archived to archive a user, or Active to unarchive a user.

To archive or unarchive multiple users using the Admin SDK APIs:

  1. Follow the directions in Method: users.update.
  2. Set the archived boolean variable to True or False for each user as appropriate.

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