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Need to clean up old abandoned issues.

We stopped using Jira for a while and it became kind of stagnant. There's a renewed interest so we're coming back but now I need to clear out a bunch of old and unneeded issues. Several hundred.

What's the best way to approach this? 

2 answers

Hi @Michael Arndt 

It depends what you want to do with them.

You could:

  • Move: Place all the stagnant issues into one project. Then, give the project its own permission scheme and give no-one the permission "Browse Projects" - effectively hiding the issues from all users.
  • Close: If the issues are stagnant but still need to be visible, you could ensure the resolution screen is in the workflow transition to "Done" - then, create a new resolution of "Incomplete" or "Archaic" and set it against these issues.
  • Delete: You could either search for all the issues then use "Bulk Change" to delete them all. Or if these are entire projects of issues, just delete the projects themselves.

The right choice depends on your circumstance.

Personally, I don't delete data - just in case it needs to be revitalised or referred to later. If you need to make the data invisible, I'd use the "Move" option - then you could always modify the permission scheme to make issues visible again if you need them.

Let us know if you need help implementing one of these options :)


I guess my question was more about how to identify old issues and process them en masse. For instance, can I run a report for any issue with no activity in the last 90 days and just change them to done?

Is there a way to do this and avoid having to do this one issue at a time?

Hi @Michael Arndt 

Yes - so this is where you'd use Bulk Change.

You will need:

  • Global Permission: Make Bulk Changes
  • Project Permission: Transition Issues - and possibly, Resolve Issues / Close Issues. Or if this is Next-Gen, at least the role - required per project an issue is within


Then, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Filters on the main navigation bar, and select Advanced Search
  2. Switch to JQL if you're on Basic Search using the hyperlink
  3. Search for your issues - such as: updated < -90d and resolution is EMPTY ORDER BY updated DESC
  4. Next, select the breadcrumbs (3-dots icon) in upper-right - and select "Bulk Change XX Issues"
  5. On Step 1, select the issues. To select all, click the checkbox in the title row
  6. On Step 2, choose an operation - in this instance, Transition Issues
  7. On Step 3, choose the relevant transitions to make for each group of issues
  8. You will then be asked to make modifications to fields required during closure - such as Resolution. If there are no transition screens though this will be blank, so just choose to continue
  9. On Step 4, press "Confirm" to take the action

You might need to repeat this process more than once if you don't have open workflows (i.e transition all statuses to all other statuses), to transition issues multiple times through to Done.

You can keep the same search though as in (3) - as this removes issues which have already been resolved. Or if you'd like to re-close issues with a new resolution, utilise: updated < -90d ORDER BY updated DESC.


A few other things which might be useful:

  • Resolution: Ensure you're setting a resolution within your workflows. If these are Classic Projects, you might want to consider adding a new resolution to decipher "Done" from "Incomplete"
  • Global Permissions: To access these, go to Jira Settings > System > Global Permissions - and then ensure your user group has "Make Bulk Changes"
  • Project Permissions: For Classic Projects, to access these, go to Jira Settings > Issues > Permission Schemes. You can click "Permissions" to edit each scheme as needed


Let us know if this works for you!

If you need any further help - let us know and we'll be happy to help!


0 votes

Hi @Michael Arndt

To identify these issues you can run this JQL query (e.g. Filters -> Advanced issue search issues):

updated < -90d ORDER BY updated DESC

, and then (...) ->Bulk change; select everything; next; Transition; select the status to where to migrate the issues; confirm!

Hope it helps,

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