Place Drive on hold

Use holds to preserve data indefinitely to meet legal or preservation obligations.

If a user who's subject to a hold deletes data, it's removed from the user's view, but the data is preserved in Vault. As long as the hold is in place, you can search and export that data.

Note: When a G Suite administrator deletes a user's account in the Admin console, the user's data is no longer available in Vault and can’t be restored. If you want to hold or retain a user's data, the user must have both G Suite and Vault licenses. Learn more about Vault licenses.

For more information about holds, see the holds FAQ.

Important information about Drive and holds

Files on hold are visible to users

When you create a hold, files covered by the hold will remain visible to the user, even if a retention rule should have removed the files from that user's view.

Coverage varies depending on how you configure the hold
  • A hold on Drive applies to files owned by and directly shared with the users or organizations covered by the hold. This includes files in a shared drive that are directly shared with a user, regardless of whether the user is a member of that shared drive.
  • If you apply a hold to shared drives, it also applies to shared drives where held users are members.
  • You can't place a shared drive on hold. Instead you must place its members on hold and check the Include Shared Drives box.
How does a shared drive affect a hold?
Files in a shared drive aren't preserved by a hold if:
  • a shared drive member:
    • moves a file out of a shared drive, and that member isn't on hold.
    • removes a member that's currently on hold from the shared drive, and there are no other shared drive members on hold.
  • no shared drive member is on hold.


Place Drive on hold

  1. Create or open the matter that will contain the hold.
  2. Click Create Hold.
  3. Enter a unique name for the hold. 
  4. Choose the type of hold: Drive.
  5. Use the drop-down list to apply the hold to either individual accounts or to an entire organizational unit:
    • Accounts—enter one or more email addresses for the accounts that are subject to this hold.
    • Organization—Choose an organizational unit from the drop-down list.
    • Check the Include files from associated shared drives box to include shared drive content accessible by the users subject to this hold, in addition to their own Drive content. 
  6. Click Save to create the hold.

Modify an existing hold on Drive

You can change some of the criteria of a hold. However, you can't change the data type.

  1. Open the matter that contains the hold.
  2. Click the hold, then click Edit Hold.
  3. Modify any of the following criteria:
    • Accounts—Add or remove accounts or organizational units. You cannot add accounts to a hold that covers an organizational unit, nor can you add organizational units to a hold that covers individual accounts. Additionally, If you remove all users, you're prompted to delete the hold. 
    • Include files from associated shared drives–Change this setting as desired to include or exclude files in shared drives.
  4. Click Save.
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