How to manage legal holds

Legal Holds is a feature available to Dropbox Advanced and Enterprise teams that have purchased Extended Version History with legal holds. Placing a legal hold on a team member allows team admins to view and export all the content that’s been created or modified by that member.

Members affected by a legal hold will not be notified of the hold and will still maintain their permissions to create, edit, and delete files.

Note: This feature is currently in beta and only available to some Dropbox Advanced and Enterprise teams.

Team admins can:

Note: User management and support admins can’t create or manage legal holds.

Create a legal hold

To create a legal hold:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com with your admin account.
  2. Click Admin console.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click Data governance.
  5. Click Legal holds.
  6. Click New hold.
  7. Fill out the name and details of the hold, then click Continue.
  8. Enter the name or email of the member or members you want to place a hold on, then click Continue.
  9. Select a start and end date for the hold.
    • You can set the start date up to 10 years in the past or today, but not in the future
    • You can set the end date in the past, today, in the future, or check Don’t set an end date
  10. Click Activate.

Note: A legal hold is considered active until a team admin releases the hold, even if the end date has passed. After the end date, new file versions will no longer be copied, but the existing copies will be available until you release the hold.

What types of files can I put on hold?

When you create a legal hold, copies of all files a member has created or edited during the start and end date period will be available to export with the exception of:

  • Paper docs
  • Cloud docs stored on third-parties
  • Files the member only previewed
  • Files the member has access to but hasn’t edited
  • Files that were created and modified before the user joined the team

Who can I place on legal hold?

You can place holds on active, invited, and suspended members of your team, including holds on other team admins and yourself.

You can’t place holds on deleted members, entire groups, or entire teams. However, you can delete a member while they are on hold.

View a legal hold

You can view any active or released legal hold at any time. To view a legal hold:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com with your admin account.
  2. Click Admin console.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click Data governance.
  5. Click Legal holds.
  6. Toggle between the Active and Released tabs to view all of your team’s legal holds.

Edit a legal hold

You can edit the name and details of a hold or add or remove members; however, you can’t edit the dates of the hold. To edit a legal hold:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com with your admin account.
  2. Click Admin console.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click Data governance.
  5. Click Legal holds.
  6. Click the checkbox that appears when you hover over the name of the legal hold you’d like to edit.
  7. Click Edit hold.
  8. Edit the name or details of the hold.
  9. Click Continue.
  10. Add or remove members from the hold.
  11. Click Continue.
  12. Review your changes.
  13. Click Save.

Release a legal hold

To release a legal hold:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com with your admin account.
  2. Click Admin console.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click Data governance.
  5. Click Legal holds.
  6. Click the checkbox that appears when you hover over the name of the legal hold you’d like to release.
  7. Click Release hold.

Export a legal hold

To see which files are being held without fully exporting the hold, you can export the hold summary .CSV file.

You can export legal holds to any folder in your Dropbox account. The export contains every file version that members created and edited during the dates that the hold was placed on.

To export a legal hold:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com with your admin account.
  2. Click Admin console.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click Data governance.
  5. Click Legal holds.
  6. Click the checkbox that appears when you hover over the name of the legal hold you’d like to release.
  7. Click Export hold.
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