Place Google Groups on hold

As part of your Google Workspace data eDiscovery projects, you can use holds to preserve messages in Groups indefinitely to meet legal or preservation obligations. You can apply a hold to specific groups or all groups in your organization. Holds override retention rules, so data on hold is protected from your normal data governance rules that might purge it otherwise.

If a user who's subject to a hold deletes messages, they're removed from the user's view, but the messages are still available to Vault. As long as the hold is in place, you can search and export all messages.

If your Google Workspace administrator deletes a user's account in the Admin console, the user's data is no longer available in Vault and cannot be restored. If you want to hold or retain a user's data, the user must have both Google Workspace and Vault licenses. Learn more about Preserving data for users.

For more information about holds, see the holds FAQ.

Important information about Groups and holds

Messages in Groups are available to Vault only when archiving is turned on

Vault can hold messages in groups that have archiving turned on. However, group owners can turn archiving on or off for their groups. If a group owner turns archiving off, the messages from that group aren't available to Vault in Groups, but are available in user Gmail mailboxes.

Messages in Groups are deleted when the group is deleted
When a group is deleted, messages in the group are also deleted, similar to what happens when you delete a user's account. Messages in Groups are deleted even when the deleted group was subject to a hold or retention rule. However, messages in Gmail that accounts receive through a subscription to a group aren't deleted and are subject to Gmail retention rules and holds.
Messages on hold are always visible to Vault users with access privileges

When a message that's on hold is deleted by a user or a retention rule, the user can't see the message any more. However, a Vault user with appropriate privileges can search for and view the message in Vault. The Vault user can also export the message using Vault.

Place a hold on messages in Groups

These steps are for new Vault (vault.google.com). Go to steps for classic Vault

  1. Sign in to vault.google.com.
  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 then Groups.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Select the scope of the hold:
    • Specific groups—Enter one or more group email addresses.
    • All groups—Messages in all groups are placed on hold.
  9. Click Continue.
  10. (Optional) Set the conditions for the hold:
    • Sent date—Enter dates to limit the hold to messages sent within the start and end dates.
      • To hold messages sent on or after a specific date, enter only a start date.
      • To hold message sent on or before a specific date, enter only an end date.
      • To hold messages no matter when they were sent, don't enter a start or end date.
    • Terms—Enter search terms and operators to apply the hold to only messages that match the terms.
  11. Click Create.

Edit a hold on Groups messages

These steps are for new Vault (vault.google.com). Go to steps for classic Vault

You can change some hold parameters, but you can't change the service (Groups to another service) or the scope type (such as specific groups to all groups).

  1. Sign in to vault.google.com.
  2. Click Matters and then the matter that contains the hold.
  3. For holds that apply to specific groups, you can change the groups that are covered by the hold:
    1. Click Scope.
    2. Add or remove groups. If you remove all groups, you're prompted to delete the hold.
    3. Click Continue.
  4. To change the sent date range or terms, click Conditions.
    • Sent date—Expand or restrict the range of dates subject to hold.
    • Terms—Add or remove search terms and operators to change which messages are subject to the hold.
  5. Click Save.

Use classic Vault

Click below to open steps for classic Vault (ediscovery.google.com). Go to steps for new Vault

Set holds for Groups in ediscovery.google.com

Place messages in Groups 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: Groups.
  5. Use the drop-down list to apply the hold to either individual accounts or to an entire organizational unit:
    • Group accounts—enter one or more groups to place on hold.
    • All groups—apply the hold to all groups in the domain. 
  6. Set the conditions for the hold:
    • Sent date—You can use a range of dates to hold messages. If you enter a date only in the first field, all messages on or after that date are held. If you enter a date only in the second field, all messages before or on that date are are held. Leave this field blank to apply the hold to all messages.
    • Terms—You can use search terms and operators to specify message contents to be held.
  7. Click Save to create the hold.

Modify an existing hold on Groups

You can change some of the criteria of an existing 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. For holds that apply to individual groups, you can add or remove groups. You can't modify groups for holds that apply to all groups in the domain.
  4. Modify any of the following:
    • Sent date—Expand or restrict the range of dates subject to hold.
    • Terms—Add or remove search terms and operators to change which messages are subject to this hold.
  5. Click Save.
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