How to deactivate a user programmatically (java, rest, sql)?

I have lots of users that I need to deactivate. Is there an API of some kind to do this? Using the UI will take to long.

I've tried setting the Active field to 0 directly in the cwd_user table, but JIRA ignores this (though when done via the JIRA UI this column is changed to 0).

Using JIRA version is with a local user directory

7 answers

1 accepted

7 votes
Accepted answer

If you don't want to shut down JIRA you can get the Script Runner plugin and use this script to deactivate users.

import com.atlassian.crowd.embedded.api.User
import com.atlassian.crowd.embedded.impl.ImmutableUser
import com.atlassian.jira.bc.user.UserService
import com.atlassian.jira.component.ComponentAccessor
import com.atlassian.jira.user.util.UserManager

UserManager userManager = ComponentAccessor.getUserManager()
UserService userService = ComponentAccessor.getComponent(UserService.class)
User updateUser
UserService.UpdateUserValidationResult updateUserValidationResult

errors = ''
userManager.getUsers().findAll{user -> == 'username'}.each { user ->
    updateUser = ImmutableUser.newUser(user).active(false).toUser()
    updateUserValidationResult = userService.validateUpdateUser(updateUser)
    if (updateUserValidationResult.isValid()) {
    } else {
        errors += "Update of ${} failed: ${updateUserValidationResult.getErrorCollection().getErrors().entrySet().join(',')}\n"
return errors

You have to adapt the findAll{} part to find the users you want to deactivate.


Nice. We are deactivating the users as part of an upgrade, so shutting down is not a problem. But I'll keep this in mind in the future.


Is there any way to do this by the crowd client alone? I've got a crowd client written and can search for all the required users that way. I just can't find out how to deactivate a user with the crowd.service.client.CrowdClient class. I've tried to user client.updateUser but it takes a crowd.model.user.User and not an ImmutableUser.toUser().

Hi Henning, This is a great script and I have used it to delete a few users and it works! Is there anyway I can import a CSV file with usernames and have the script read that file and perform this on the findAll to make the users inactive? We have a list of terminated users from HR and we can't categorize them based on Jira attributes. If you have any ideas let me know. Thanks so much! Rich

Sure, just add a list of usernames to the beginning of the script like this def usernamelist = [ 'auser', 'buser' 'cuser' ] And than change the findAll{} part of the script to .findAll{user -> usernamelist.contains(} Now test on a test system :-) Henning

Updated version for JIRA 7 below.

Updated for version 7:

import com.atlassian.jira.component.ComponentAccessor
import com.atlassian.jira.bc.JiraServiceContextImpl
import com.atlassian.crowd.embedded.impl.ImmutableUser
import com.atlassian.jira.user.DelegatingApplicationUser
import com.atlassian.jira.bc.user.UserService
def currentUser = ComponentAccessor.getJiraAuthenticationContext().getLoggedInUser()
def jiraServiceContext = new JiraServiceContextImpl(currentUser)
def userSearchService = ComponentAccessor.getComponent(UserSearchService.class)
def userService = ComponentAccessor.getComponent(UserService.class)
def appUser = userSearchService.getUserByName(jiraServiceContext, 'test')
def errors = ''
if (appUser != null) {
    ImmutableUser.Builder builder = ImmutableUser.newUser(appUser.getDirectoryUser());
    //builder.displayName('New display name')
    def updateUser = new DelegatingApplicationUser(appUser.getId(), appUser.getKey(), builder.toUser());
    def updateUserValidationResult = userService.validateUpdateUser(updateUser)
    if (updateUserValidationResult.isValid()) {
    } else {
        errors += "Update of ${} failed: ${updateUserValidationResult.getErrorCollection().getErrors().entrySet().join(',')}\n"

we need to do any modification in the above script. to delete users

JIRA Command Line Interface has a new enhancement for updateUser that provides this - you will need to look at JCLI-352 for details until 3.2.0 is released. Example:
jira --action updateUser --userId xxxx --deactivate

This doesn't seem to work in our cloud instance {code} [root@uk-ctoolbox-1 ~]# /usr/bin/java -jar /usr/local/jira_cli/lib/jira-cli-4.5.0-SNAPSHOT.jar --server --user tsweeney --password 'XXXXXXXX' --project CoreGrid -a updateUser --userId aali --deactivate Client error: Activate and deactivate cannot be set for Cloud. [root@uk-ctoolbox-1 ~]# {code}

Finally got the SQL approach to work. Lucas' answer triggered an idea. I had to shutdown JIRA to get it to pick up the change. It's caching user information each time a user is examined in the admin UI.

The SQL is simple:

update cwd_user set active = 0 where <your filter here>;

Thanks for both answers

Hi Chiz,

Many user modifications via database doesn't work on the fly. You can disable them via database as well but I sugest you to shutdown JIRA (and perform a database backup) before modifying the data under cwd_user table.

Best regards,
Lucas Timm

1 vote
Tim Evans Atlassian Team Jul 13, 2015

Hi All,

Please note that direct database modification is not supported by Atlassian per our Support Offerings.

  • From the Support Offerings: "Atlassian does not support customers performing direct data manipulation of application databases via queries such as INSERT, UPDATE or DELETE, as they can easily lead to data integrity problems. If Atlassian encounters manipulation or customisations at this level, we may ask customers to restore data from their last known working state, or to engage an Expert to help recover their instance to a supportable state. If you are confident your UPDATE or INSERT is safe and your change management system is reliable, refer to the specific product's database documentation."

The ability to bulk deactivate users has been requested as a new feature, see JRA-30708

  • You are encouraged to add a vote and/or comment as the votes and comments are used by our team to determine the impact of issues and feature requests.


Tim | Atlassian

Sorry Tim....customers don't have time to wait for 5 years for such small changes. JRA-30708 was opened in Nov 2012. 

Good for Jira... 

Any similar suggestions for Confluence? 6.5.4

Have to free up about 400 inactive user licenses...

Appreciate any suggestions.



With ScriptRunner for Confluence this is similar possible.


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