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Exceeding the license limit (user count exceeded)


What happens when/if I exceed my license limit?

PaperCut NG is licensed on the number of user accounts hosted in the PaperCut database (the number of users listed in the User List under the Users section). If this limit is exceeded:

For 5 users free license:

When you’re using the 5 user free license, the admin console will request an updated license and will prevent use.

You will need to either purchase a license with additional users, or reduce your user count in PaperCut (using the information below).

For other licenses:

The admin console will warn that an additional license is required and needs to be updated within the next 40-days. The warning message will display on every admin login during this period. You can also set up the application to automatically email you if/when the license is exceeded (see the Options → Notifications section of the admin interface).

After the warning time is up, and if the user count has not been reduced, the system will prevent selected administration tasks and will “lock you out” of the admin interface:

  • Printing and tracking will continue as normal and you will not lose any data.
  • You will not be able to access many of the configuration pages and reporting options in the admin interface. However (see next two points)…
  • You will be able to access the Options → User/Group Sync section to modify user sync settings (click on Options, and then click on User/Group sync - even if you think it won’t let you!)
  • You will be able to access the About tab in the admin interface.
  • From version 22.0.11, you will be able to access the Users tab in the admin interface (in order to delete users if necessary).
  • If you have purchased the Advanced Print Enablement Pack for use with Print Deploy, it will now show as unlicensed until you reduce the number of users in your PaperCut instance or purchase a new PaperCut NG license with the correct number of users.

You will need to either purchase a license with additional users, or reduce your user count in PaperCut (using the information below).

How did I exceed my limit?

There are a couple of things to check when working out why you may have gone over your licensed limit.

Note that both of these reference the Options → User/Group Sync tab - you will be able to access this tab - even when locked out of the console. Additionally, since 22.0.11, you will be able to access the Users tab, to allow you to remove users if required.

  • The sync process only adds users: The Sync process configured under Options → User/Group Sync will perform a sync nightly that adds any new users to the PaperCut users list. If you remove a user from your sync source, the user will not automatically be removed from PaperCut. If you want to delete the users that you’ve removed from the sync source (e.g. AD, LDAP etc) then take a look at Deleting Users from PaperCut - remember… backup before deleting!

  • On-demand user creation: Take a look under Options → User/Group Sync → On Demand User Creation - if that is switched to ‘Create the user’, then if a user who doesn’t exist in your sync source prints a job, that user will get created automatically in PaperCut. Follow the same Deleting Users from PaperCut instructions to delete any users that you don’t want included in the user count.

I’ve exceeded my license limit, and I am now locked out - what can I do?

There are two options for resolving the license exceeded issue:

  • Add Users to your license using our online order system if you’re using PaperCut NG, or you can contact your Reseller or Authorized Solution Center if you’re using PaperCut MF.

  • Reduce the number of users listed in the system as detailed below. Note that you will still have access to the Options → User/Group Sync tab (even if it looks like you’re not able to access it, if you click it, it should let you in!). You will also have access to the ‘About’ tab which will allow you to see the ‘Licensed Users’ section to see how many users you are licensed for, and how many are actually in the system.

Reducing the number of user accounts in PaperCut

There are several methods for reducing the number of users in PaperCut, depending on how users are created in your system. We highly recommend taking a backup of your system prior to deleting users - just in case!

Note that from version 22.0.11, you can now access the Users tab, even when locked out of the other admin interface pages. This will allow you to view your user list, and remove users if required.

If you’re using AD/LDAP or some other User Directory source sync

PaperCut works by “mirroring” the user list in your network domain. To remove users in PaperCut:

  1. In your user directory (outside of PaperCut) delete inactive or unused user accounts from your sync source (e.g. in Active Directory or Google Workspace etc). Check out our manual pages on User and Group syncing for more information.
  2. In the PaperCut Admin interface, head into Options→User/Group sync (even if it looks like you are not able to get to that tab, it will let you into that one tab).
  3. Use the Test settings button to perform a test sync - and scroll up in the output to review the section previewing the deletion, e.g. A real operation would add 0 user(s) and if the “delete users” option was selected, would delete 20 user(s). If this matches the number you’re expecting then continue.
  4. Check the box Delete users that do not exist in the selected source and then use the Synchronize Now button.

PaperCut also has the option to not import disabled Active Directory users, as well as allowing you to select specific individual groups in your sync source to import only the groups that you need.

Manually removing users through the interface (with 22.0.11 or later)

With 22.0.11 or later, you can now access the Users tab, even when you’re locked out of the other administration interface tabs. To delete a user, head into Users > [select a user] > Actions > Delete user to delete any users who are no longer required in your user list.

Manually removing users by using Server Commands

If you have a list of users that need to be removed from the system, it is possible to remove these users in PaperCut NG/MF using a script running a server-command. Here is an example Windows batch file:

file: delete-old-users.bat

cd c:\Program Files\PaperCut NG\server\bin\win

server-command delete-existing-user chris

server-command delete-existing-user matt

server-command delete-existing-user tom

server-command delete-existing-user christine


  • If you are using User and Group syncing, you will need to remove those users from the sync source group too - otherwise PaperCut will re-import those users and re-create them again overnight. Check your sync source settings and any group configurations under Options → User/Group Sync → Sync source (or Secondary sync source) in the admin interface.
  • If you haven’t already, check the On-demand user creation settings under Options → User/Group Sync → On Demand User Creation in the admin interface. Make sure that you don’t have that set to Create the user if you don’t want it to automatically create users in the User List. See the On-demand users section of the manual for more information.

If you have system accounts or other user accounts that should be excluded

Some accounts may not be used by real users. They may exist for other reasons such as:

  • Used by special applications such as databases or web servers
  • “Template” accounts used by system administrators
  • “Virtual” accounts used to represent “resources” in applications such as Microsoft Outlook.

In this situation we recommend using Import users from selected groups to import only the groups that you need. In this case you’ll need to follow the steps above to delete any accounts which have already been created in PaperCut NG/MF.

I’ve fixed my license issue, but I’m still locked out of the admin interface - why?

If you have recently resolved the issues with the license, you may need to restart the Application Server service in order to force another license check.

Video walkthrough of the exceeded license scenarios

A video on how to delete users is available here. See below for the video times of different topics:

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 1:13 Purchasing a new license with additional users
  • 2:10 Setting up a license limit notification
  • 2:47 Typical scenarios where customers go over their licensed limit and solutions
  • 5:04 Deleting users manually using a server command

What if I can’t reduce the number of users in my Sync Source?

If for technical reasons, the number of users can not be reduced using option 2, you may Apply for a License Exception. Organization’s who are issued an exception must agree to run a report once a year to verify that the active user count remains below the license limit. Active user count is defined as the number of users that print at least once a year.

Is there any technical limit on the number of users?

PaperCut has no design limit. The maximum number of users is a function of hardware and system capacity - a constantly moving target as computers get faster. Our largest customer has over 350,000 users in the database.

What if I am in a small office and have 5 users or less printing?

If you are in a small office and only have five users or less printing you can follow these steps:

  1. Open a command prompt.

  2. Change to the PaperCut directory using cd c:\Program Files\PaperCut NG\server\bin\win

  3. Type server-command delete-existing-user <username>

  4. Repeat as necessary.

Then on the PaperCut administration console, on the Options tab, under User/group Sync, un-check the check box from Import new users and update details overnight. This will stop PaperCut from re-importing the accounts you just deleted, so you will only need to delete the accounts once. If you need to add new users at a later time you will want to manually add new users on the Users Tab of the Admin console.

Alternatively, with version 22.0.11 or later, you can now access the Users tab, even when you’re locked out of the other administration interface tabs. To delete a user, head into Users > [select a user] > Actions > Delete user to delete any users who are no longer required in your user list.

Categories: FAQ , User Management

Keywords: reducing user count , license exceeded , license exceeded , user import , expire , invalid license , users exceeded , delete users , bulk user deletion , additional users , too many users


Last updated July 5, 2023