Vault license FAQ

FAQ for G Suite administrators

Are licenses assigned to all users in the domain by default?
  • If you do not have Vault now: If you decide to purchase Vault online or through a reseller, licenses are not assigned by default.
  • If you already have Vault: If you purchased Vault online or through a reseller before partial-domain licensing rolled out, licenses will continue to be assigned automatically by default.

You can follow the steps in Assign Vault licenses to change from full-domain to partial-domain licensing (or vice versa).

My domain had Vault enabled before partial-domain licensing rolled out, so all my users have a Vault license. Can I license only a subset of users?

Anyone who had a license before the rollout of partial-domain licensing will still have a license. To unlicense a user, see the next FAQ, "How do I unlicense a user?"

How do I unlicense a user?

When a previously licensed user is unlicensed, note the following:

  • The user will no longer be searchable in Vault.
  • Any holds on the user's data will be removed.
  • Vault retention policies will no longer apply to the user's data.
  • Any data deleted by the user will be purged from Google's systems.

Before unlicensing, the G Suite administrator should talk to the organization's Vault administrators, Vault investigators, or the legal or compliance team to confirm that the user no longer needs a license.

To unassign a license, go to Manage licenses and ensure that the Auto-assign the following license... box is unchecked. Then go to the Assigned users tab, check the boxes next to users' names, and click Unassign. The Admin console will display an alert reminding you of the impact of unlicensing.

I want to license a user, but there are no users in the Unassigned users tab. What should I do?

Go to the Manage licenses tab. If the Auto-assign the following license box is checked, all users are assigned a license automatically. Go to the Assigned users tab to verify that the user has a license already.

Remember that this box must be unchecked to assign a subset of users. After this box is unchecked, all future users added to the domain will show up in the Unassigned licenses tab.

Is there a way to license users in bulk?

In the Manage licenses tab, you can upload a CSV file that contains a list of user email addresses to assign licenses in bulk. There is no way to unlicense in bulk.

Remember that you can assign licenses to all the users in an organizational unit (OU) at one time. Note that the OU will not update licenses automatically when users are added to or removed from the OU at a later time.

After I assign licenses by OU, are users who are added to that OU later automatically assigned licenses?

No. You must assign licenses to users who have been added (either manually or by CSV upload) to an OU later. If you move users with licenses out of the unit, they keep their licenses.

Does a user who has Vault privileges—for example, to create retention rules or perform any other tasks in the Vault interface—need a Vault license?

No. A user who performs tasks in the Vault interface needs to be assigned Vault privileges in the Admin console. The user needs a license only if his or her data is subject to retention policies, holds, searches, or other Vault functionalities.

FAQ for Vault administrators

Is it possible for the data of unlicensed users to appear in Vault?

If a message is sent between an unlicensed user and a licensed user, the message may appear in a search of the licensed user.

From the Vault interface (, how can I see if a user has a Vault license?

If you try to hold, search, export, or preview a user's data, the Vault interface will display an alert if the user does not have a license. You can then ask your G Suite administrator to assign a license to the user.

How will I know if a user goes from licensed to unlicensed?

We strongly recommend that you and your G Suite administrator communicate often about Vault licensing changes so that you know when a user goes from licensed to unlicensed.

  • In a matter, a user is displayed in red with a strikethrough if the user no longer has a license. Without a license, the user is no longer on hold.
  • If a licensed user was in a saved search but that user is now unlicensed, the Vault interface will display a message when you try to search on that user subsequently. The message alerts you that the user is unlicensed.
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