Place Google Chat and classic Hangouts messages 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 by Vault. As long as the hold is in place, you can search and export that data.

If your G Suite 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 G Suite and Vault licenses. Learn more about Preserving data for users.

For more information about holds, see the holds FAQ.

Important information about Chat and classic Hangouts holds

Retention rules and holds apply to DMs only when history is on

Retention rules and holds always apply to rooms. However, they apply to DMs only when history is turned on. A G Suite admin can control whether history is on or off, or they can allow users to decide.

A hold preserves conversations in rooms only if a held user sent a message

A hold on a user account includes message threads in rooms in which that user sent at least one message. Conversations in a room where the user wasn't an active participant aren't included in the hold, even though that user might have viewed messages.

Direct messages (DMs) sent to a user on hold are included in the hold even if the user doesn't reply.

You can't place an entire room on hold

Rooms in Chat can't be restricted to an individual organizational unit, meaning anyone in your organization can be invited to any room. Vault won't hold messages sent by room participants who aren't covered by a hold.
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 anymore. 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 Chat and classic Hangouts 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: Chat.
  5. Use the down arrow 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.
  6. (Optional) Check the box to include conversations from rooms. 
  7. Click Save to create the hold.

Modify an existing Chat and classic Hangouts hold

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. If you remove all users, you're prompted to delete the hold. 
    • Also include conversations in rooms—Change this setting as desired to include or exclude conversations in rooms.
  4. Click Save.


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