Accessing Direct Messages from Disabled Users in Slack

Slack is awesome. I love it. You love it. Everyone loves it. If you don’t love it than that is probably because you haven’t heard about it. So.. go hear about it. Yep – now you love it too. You’re welcome.

One of the cool things about Slack is that it archives all of your conversations. So you can refer to (and search through) previous conversations you’ve had. This morning I was going to do just that, look up an old conversation I had with a previous team member. However, I couldn’t find his name anywhere via the normal slack interface. Because I couldn’t find his name I figured that he must’ve been deleted and my conversations were lost forever… :sad_panda:

But – don’t despair! As it turns out, you can’t actually delete a user in Slack. You can, however, disable a user. And the cool thing about disabled users is that you can still access the messages you’ve sent to them.

Accessing the messages is simple. First go to your Team Directory page in Slack. The url for that is something like http://yourteam.slack.com/team. Now find the greyed out Disabled Accounts section. Click on it. Next to each of the users you will see a […] menu. Open that menu and select Open Message Archives.

Boom sauce. You can now view your archived direct messages from previous members of your team.

Another Option:
Access Archived Messages via Search

It is also possible to access messages from a disabled user using the Slack search functionality. In order to do this you can simply enter from:@userName (where username is the name of the user you are looking for) in the Slack search bar. The search results should actually show you messages from the disabled user.

Note: Keep in mind. If you are using Free Slack then you are limited to 10k messages. It’s possible that the messages you wish to find are beyond the 10k limit.

Update:

Trevor Norris has let me know that there are have been some small changes to the Slack interface. He says:

Seems there’s been a small update to Slack. The three dots on the right no longer have “View Archives” as an option. Instead click on their name and there should see the “View Archives” button under their profile picture.

6 thoughts on “Accessing Direct Messages from Disabled Users in Slack”

  1. Huge help for directing me here. Seems there’s been a small update to Slack. The three dots on the right no longer have “View Archives” as an option. Instead click on their name and there should see the “View Archives” button under their profile picture.

    1. Not sure if it was updated yet again, but clicking on their name takes me to a profile page that just says they are deactivated.

      1. On that profile page you should see a “View Archives” button underneath their profile image. Click that to see the messages. It’s plausible that there is a Slack Admin setting to restrict this functionality but I don’t think so.

        Another option. In the Slack Search bar enter “from:@disabledUser” where “disabledUser” is replaced with the username you are looking for. The search results should show you messages from the disabled account.

        Note: If you are using Free Slack then you are limited to 10k messages. It’s possible that the archived messages you are looking for are outside of the 10k range.

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