Retrieve Deleted User Print Data

“Help! I’m a PaperCut Administrator and I need to retrieve print history for a deleted PaperCut user. Is there any way to get this information?”

In today’s world of information, data can be the most useful tool in an administrator’s arsenal. Often, organizations want to know how to retrieve print history for a deleted PaperCut user. Does PaperCut hold on to print data after user deletion? If so, how does one retrieve this data?

At PaperCut, we believe this information should be accessible, and we have compiled some advice on how best to retrieve it.

What happens to a user’s print history after deletion

After deletion, the user disappears from the user list and you are no longer able to filter by that user account under the ‘Reports’ tab. This condition is expected behavior.

Deleting a user from Papercut marks the user as ‘deleted’ in the user table, but their job history still exists in other tables. If you try to run a report with a user filter, Papercut will look at it’s ‘user’ table to determine what users are available and will not see the deleted users!

Note: If a user has exercised their right to be forgotten, their print history will still be in the database but there will be no way to associate the jobs back to them as their username will be permanently redacted.

The persistence of job history in other tables means that all of the data we are looking for exists, but we need to be a little creative in how we access it! Here are a few things we can try:

Run a report for a specific period

The easiest way to retrieve historical data for a deleted user would be to run a report for all users for the period you wish to learn about, and then filtering the report by the user you want data on using Excel or Google Sheets. To run a report for a specific period, go to the Reports tab and choose a report to suit your needs. Be sure to choose to export as a CSV (Excel) and to leave the user filter option blank.

Your report may look something like this:

This report would return usage for all users in the month of june

You can open the report’s export file in Excel (or Google Sheets) to see usage for all users (deleted or active) in the time frame that was specified in the last step. From there, all we need is to create a filter in Excel to only display results for the user in question!

Restore from a backup on to a test server

By default, Papercut runs a weekly backup of it’s database. You may also be performing more regular backups depending on your environment. If you have access to a backup from a period when the user was still active, you can upload the database to an isolated instance of Papercut and run reports as if the user was still active.

Here are the steps:

  1. Install Papercut on a separate server/computer than your primary Papercut installation
  2. Restore from a backup
  3. Run reports on the database as you would if the user was active!

This may be a preferable option in situations where a backup is available and the data requirement is more specific than a certain period.

Run a custom query

You have the option to create a custom database query that retrieves user information on old users. This method is a somewhat advanced option and is only available to organizations that have upsized to an external database. For more information, take a look at this link:

Additional information on possible queries can be found here:

Still have questions?

Let us know! We love chatting about what’s going on under the hood. Feel free to leave a comment below or visit our Support Portal for further assistance.


Categories: How-to Articles, Reporting