Data Protection Centre/Slack/How to Archive a Slack Channel: A Complete Guide


In this article

  • Introduction
  • How does archiving in Slack work?
  • Why shouldn’t you use archiving as a backup solution

How to Archive a Slack Channel: A Complete Guide

21 Apr 2022
5 min read

1. Introduction

Slack is one of the most popular workspaces and team-messaging applications with over 750,000 organizations subscribing to the app for active, day-to-day business conversations. Slack makes it possible to archive inactive channels as a means of preserving the message history along with the files shared. Because data archiving and backup are often perceived to be analogous, IT administrators use archiving as a backup solution which poses an elevated risk of data loss. 
This article explores how one can archive their Slack data and why it is not wise to use archiving as a Slack backup alternative. 

2. How does archiving in Slack work

In Slack, members can archive channels that are no longer in use to focus on the active channels while preserving the message history within Slack. When a channel is archived, it is closed to new activity but the message history, including the files shared in the channel, is retained and searchable. Users can find the archived channels in the channel browser.  The messages in the archived channel will also still show up in a search. 

Note: A #general channel cannot be archived or deleted.

2.1. How to archive a Slack channel

To archive a Slack channel, follow the steps below:
  • Step 1: From your Slack homepage, click on the channel you would like to archive.

  • Step 2: Click on the channel name on the conversation header.

  • Step 3: Click on Settings and select Archive channel for everyone.

Slack settings
  • Step 4: Click on Archive Channel to confirm.

Slack Archive channel

Note: By default, all users of a Slack workspace can archive, unarchive, and delete a Slack channel. However, workspace owners and admins can restrict this activity. If you can’t see these options, contact your workspace admin or owner.

2.2. How to find archived channels in your workspace

  • Step 1: From the sidebar of your Slack workspace, click on the three dots icon and select Browse Channels.

Slack browse channel
  • Step 2: Search the name of the archived channel you want to view. You can also select the filter option Archived channels to view the archived channels only.

Archove filter
  • Step 3: From the list, select the channel you want to view, unarchive, or delete.

3. Why shouldn’t you use archiving as a backup solution?

Even though archiving and backup involve making a copy of the business data for future use, they are used for completely different purposes. While a backup solution is meant to protect the data that is currently in use at an organization by continuously taking second copies and securing them, archiving is for space management, compliance, and long-term retention. An archive is intended to be used as a repository for data that needs to be kept for a long period of time. 

3.1. Archiving vs. Backup

Contains historical data stored for investigation or legal purposes
Protects an organization’s data by continuously taking second copies and securing them
The files stored in the archive are generally no longer in use
and not needed frequently
The data stored in backup is a copy of the current and active operational data in use by a business
Can only preserve the final version of messages and files
Automatically backs up point -in -time snapshots of all critical business data
Does not restore data
Designed to quickly restore the data exactly the way it was
Access is often controlled by admins
Built for administrators and end users to quickly find the lost data and restore it

3.2. Why shouldn’t you use archiving as backup solution for Slack?

  • Any member of a Slack workspace can archive, unarchive, or delete a channel by default making the risk of data loss high.

  • Archiving a Slack channel does not relocate data to a more secure storage location. Archiving in Slack only hides the channel from the sidebar and is still accessible to the users.

  • There is no second copy of your organizational data if you use archiving as a backup solution for your Slack business data. It will lead to data loss during Slack outages.

  • When you archive a public channel, all the members are removed from the channel and cannot be retrieved. 

3.3. Backup Slack data using SysCloud

Since Slack’s native data retention features are not designed for the purpose of backup and restore, it is not wise to depend only on them for your data backup. Third-party backup tools like SysCloud are designed to offer a reliable backup solution for Slack data. With SysCloud, administrators can effortlessly back up and restore Slack channels, conversations, threads, and messages in addition to exporting all Slack data as .csv files and files in their original format. Admins can easily restore data from any point-in-time backup snapshots and restore deleted messages to a different channel.

3.3.1. Why should you backup your Slack data using SysCloud?

  • Automated Slack backups and automatically resolves API errors.

  • Export threads, channels, direct messages, or even the entire workspace in JSON format.

  • Restore threads in a channel, direct messages, and channels with a single click.

  • Search for content inside conversations, files, channels, and user groups using keywords, across all your workspaces.

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In this article

  • Introduction
  • How does archiving in Slack work?
  • Why shouldn’t you use archiving as a backup solution

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