Place Drive, Meet, and Sites data on hold

As part of your Google Workspace data eDiscovery projects, you can use holds to preserve items in Drive indefinitely to meet legal or preservation obligations. You can apply a hold to individual accounts or all accounts in an organizational unit, and optionally include shared drives. Google Meet recordings and associated logs are included in Drive holds, as are sites created in new Google Sites. Holds override retention rules, so data on hold is protected from your normal data governance rules that might purge it otherwise.

If your Google Workspace administrator removes a user's Vault-supporting license, Vault holds no longer protect the user's data from deletion. Data marked for deletion can be immediately purged and can't be restored. Learn more about Preserving data for users.

Important information about Drive and holds

Before you set holds, we recommend you read Get started with holds in Google Vault and review the Supported data types for Drive, Meet, and Sites.

Expand all  |  Collapse all

What data can be held


  • Most files in users’ Drives and shared drives

Not covered:

  • Folders and Drive shortcuts
  • Linked files
  • External files shared with your users
  • Sites created in classic Sites

For details, see Supported services and data types (sections for Drive, Meet, and Sites).

Deleted items on hold are always visible in Vault, but not visible to users

When a file that's on hold is deleted by a user or a retention rule, the user can't access the file anymore but the file isn't purged. As a Vault admin with appropriate privileges, you can still search for, preview, and export the file using Vault.

Coverage varies depending on how you configure the hold
  • A hold on Drive applies to items owned by and directly shared with the users or organizations covered by the hold. This includes items in a shared drive that are directly shared with a user, regardless of whether the user is a member of that shared drive. This doesn't include folders or Drive shortcuts.
  • 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.

When a shared drive is deleted, files in the deleted shared drive are subject to the following holds scenarios:

  • If a user is a member of the deleted shared drive as an individual (not a member through a group) and is subject to a hold, then all files in the shared drive are preserved until the hold is removed. After the hold on the user is removed, and if the files aren't subject to another hold or retention rule, they are deleted.

  • If a user isn't a member of the deleted shared drive but has access to a file in the shared drive as an individual (not as a member of a group) and that user is subject to a hold, then only that file is preserved until the hold on the user is removed. Files that don't match a retention rule or hold are deleted.


Place a hold on Drive, Meet, and Sites files

  1. Sign in to
  2. Click Matters.
  3. If the matter already exists, click it to open it. Otherwise, create a matter:
    1. Click Create.
    2. Enter a name for the matter and, optionally, a description.
    3. Click Create.
  4. Click HoldsCreate.
  5. Enter a unique name for the hold.
  6. Click Choose serviceand thenDrive.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Select the scope of the hold:
    • Specific accounts—Enter one or more account or group email addresses.
    • Organizational unit—Select an organizational unit.

    Note: We strongly recommend that you don’t select the top organizational unit. You won’t be able to delete any Google Workspace accounts from your organization. Learn more

  9. Choose if you want the hold to include items in shared drives and then click Continue.
  10. Click Create.

Edit a hold on Drive, Meet, and Sites files

You can change some hold parameters, but you can't change the service (Drive to another service) or the scope type (such as accounts to an organizational unit).

  1. Sign in to
  2. Click Matters and then the matter that contains the hold.
  3. To change the accounts or organizational units that are covered by the hold:
    1. Click Scope.
    2. Add or remove accounts or change the organizational unit.

      Note: You can't add accounts to a hold that covers an organizational unit, and you can't add organizational units to a hold that covers specific accounts.

      If you remove all accounts, you're prompted to delete the hold.

    3. Click Continue.
  4. To change if the hold applies to shared drives, click ScopeInclude items in shared drives.
  5. Click Save.

Was this helpful?

How can we improve it?
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu