Vault search FAQ

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How does Vault handle time zones and daylight saving time?

You can specify a time zone when searching for data, and Vault uses it to determine the boundaries of dates for displaying and exporting results.

Important: Search might produce unexpected results in some time zones. Learn more.

Because of the way messages are stored and accessed on Google servers, the send time of Gmail and Groups messages are rounded to the nearest hour. Thus a message sent, for example, at 11:30 PM on December 31 would be included in Vault a search that begins on January 1. This rounding doesn't affect your searches in Drive.

If your search includes dates, the search boundaries are as follows:

  Gmail and Groups Drive
Start 11:30:00 PM 
(the previous day)
12:00:00 AM
End 12:29:59 AM
(the next day)
11:59:59 PM

If you don't choose a time zone for your search, Vault uses the time zone reported by your computer.

Daylight saving time

You may need to adjust the time zone to accommodate daylight saving time changes. For example, if you're searching for files created by a user in New York:

  • Choose GMT-5 for all files created from December 1 to January 31 (standard time is in effect).

  • Choose GMT-4 for all files created from June 1 to July 31 (daylight saving time is in effect).

An incorrect time zone can lead to incorrect search results

The time zone you choose can change search results. For example, if you're searching for messages from an employee in France (GMT+1), but your search uses the Pacific Time Zone (GMT-8), your effective search range from 4:00 PM on the day before your start date to 3:59 PM on your end date.

Depending on the needs of your organization and any legal requirements that must be satisfied by your search, you may want to consider:

  • performing multiple searches if the data being searched was generated by users located in multiple time zones.
  • using the time zone where the organization's headquarters is located if the person doing the search is located in a different time zone.
  • using the time zone specified in a court order or other legal document related to the search.
  • the time of year and whether you need to adjust the time zone to accommodate daylight saving time.

These are just examples used to illustrate how time zone can affect search output. Your organization must define its own search strategies to account for the impact of time zone and daylight saving time on search results.

Why do some Vault searches result in errors?

Occasionally a search will generate errors:

  • Vault can't search an account while its data is being synchronized. This is a temporary issue, and the data should be available in approximately 10 minutes. If accounts remain unavailable, contact us for assistance.
  • Vault can't return search results when a wildcard search operator matches 100 or more words in a user's account. If this happens, refine your search terms to make the search more specific. For example, if subj:foo* produces too many matches, you might try searching for subj:food* (to find "food") and subj:foot* (to find "foot" and "football").
How does the count feature work?

Use the count feature to assess the scope of a query before you submit a Gmail search. Enter your search terms and click Count. After completing a count, Vault shows you:

  • the number of accounts searched
  • the amount of time required to complete the search
  • the number of messages that match your query,
  • the number of accounts that have matching messages.
    Note:  Messages can be counted twice. For example, if sends a message to, Vault counts that message twice because it exists in both mailboxes. When a user sends a message to someone outside the domain, that message is counted only once.

You can download a CSV file that includes account and message totals for your query. This file includes:

  • the date and time
  • the query that generated the count
  • the number of accounts searched
  • the number of accounts that couldn't be searched
  • the number of accounts with matching messages
  • the email address and name for each account with matches
  • the number of matching messages from each account
Can I use Vault to search for chat messages?

Vault fully supports classic Hangouts chats that take place after April 8, 2015. You can retain, hold, search, and export chats that occur within classic Hangouts with history turned on.

For chats that occurred before this date:

  • only on-the-record chats can be searched, exported, and placed on hold
  • retention policies are not properly applied to classic Hangouts messages

Vault also fully supports Google Chat.

Can admins require chats to be "on the record" so they're retained by Vault?
  • Classic Hangouts: Administrators can control whether history is on or off. Vault can retain all classic Hangouts chats that take place after April 8, 2015 with history on.
  • Google Talk: Administrators can only require chats to be "off the record" and can disable chat history.
What happens to a Vault user that has exceeded the G Suite storage limit?

There is no impact to Vault when when this happens. However, a user who has exceeded the storage limit can no longer send or receive new email messages and may experience general account degradation.

Can I restore messages retained by Vault back to Gmail?

For data that was deleted fewer than 25 days ago, we recommend that you use the Google admin console to restore a user’s Google Drive or Gmail data.

How can I exclude automatically-saved or discarded drafts in a Vault search?

To exclude automatically-saved drafts, add the following operator to your search terms: -label:^r_ad

To exclude discarded drafts, add the following operator to your search terms: -(label:^deleted AND label:drafts)

Can I search a specific organizational unit?

Yes. When you search, select Organizational Unit, and then select the organizational unit you want to search. You can't select the top organizational unit and you can't add individual user accounts to an organizational unit-based search. You can also specify a date range and search terms.

How can I exclude messages that have been quarantined?

Add the following operator to your search terms-label:^admin_quarantine.

Learn more about admin quarantine.

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