Google Vault exports MBOX files

Google Vault


Google Vault enables an organization to retain, hold, search, and export the organization's mail and chat messages. You can also search and export the organization's files in Google Drive.

Google Vault is often in place for government agencies, schools, law firms, healthcare providers, financial services firms, nonprofits and for organizations in other regulated industries. 

Sharing Google Vault Results

When an external party requests data from Google Vault, Vault Administrators can run a Search for the appropriate content and then export the results

Google Vault provides the data in .mbox files. What's mbox? In short, the Mbox file is the most common format for storing email messages on a hard drive. 

How can you view Mbox files? 

There are several options. If you're on a Mac (macOS) it couldn't be easier. Simply open Apple Mail, visit the File menu and select Import. 


What if you're on a Windows computer? There are several options. 

Option 1: Thunderbird. Thunderbird is an email client, similar to Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, from the creators of the Firefox browser. You can find Thunderbird here. Once Thunderbird is installed, you'll also need an Add-on called 'ImportExportTools'. Once installed the Add-on will provide an option to 'Import directly one or more mbox files'. 

Option 2: Convert to PST and open in Outlook. PST is Microsoft's proprietary file format used for Microsoft Outlook. There are many options for converting .mbox files to the .pst format. Our go to application is Aid4Mail Professional. Once the .mbox files are downloaded from Google Vault (or Google Takeout), Aid4Mail can be used to convert them to .pst files. 


A .pst file must be opened in Outlook. Start Outlook and visit the File menu, you should see the 'Open' option. The specific look and feel of the menu varies by Outlook version. Note, Outlook for Mac does not use the .pst file format and you should use Apple Mail to view .mbox files, no file conversion required! 


Where are my Google Vault settings? 

Vault Administrators can find Vault at 

Many organizations have policies specific to retention period. "Keep messages indefinitely" is the most common configuration. Retention may not be enabled, it's best to confirm your Google Vault configuration.