I am writing an IT technical report and raising an issue in it, generally using a passive voice. I am struggling to find a phrase that is concise, does not have an alternative or confusing meaning yet is still valid (British) English.

The phrase I have is:

"Unused objects not deconfigured, disabled and assigned to unused groups"

Though 'deconfigured' appears often on the Internet in a variety of technical documents by renowned firms it doesn't appear in the OED or any other authoritative source so I am hesitant to use it. I see 'deconfiguring' something as the act of removing configured settings or attributes from the object. This does not place it in the same default state as an object that has not yet been configured

A possible alternative could be:

"Unused objects not configuration reset, disabled and assigned to unused groups"

Though that just sounds awkward and making it sound less awkward always seems to end with it becoming too long and convoluted.

The alternative could be:

"Unused objects not reset, disabled and assigned to unused groups"

Which sounds better, though resetting one of these objects has a different meaning to changing its configuration and I think that would be confusing for the reader.

Is it best to just use 'deconfigured' in this context (despite its absence from the dictionary, as my reader will probably understand it) or are there any alternatives that can be suggested?

  • It is perfectly valid (if properly used) in certain technical contexts. Your first sentence is idiomatic (if a little ambiguous). Your second sentence is not very idiomatic.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 19, 2017 at 12:34
  • Might be me, but the first phrase appears to miss a verb. And given the 4 negations, the best solution is probably to throw out the whole sentence and replace it by a paragraph stating what you actually intend.
    – MSalters
    Sep 19, 2017 at 13:01
  • It is a title for an issue that I am raising so a paragraph was not possible. Sorry for the ambiguity 'object', 'disabled' and 'group' were replacements for specialist networking technical terms but I simplified it for here. Thanks for the comments
    – Stu W
    Sep 19, 2017 at 13:04
  • In this case I'd argue that deconfigured would be covered under jargon, and would be perfectly acceptable in an IT technical manual.
    – SGR
    Sep 19, 2017 at 13:27
  • Might I point out that whatever deconfigured means, Unused objects not deconfigured, disabled and assigned to unused groups strikes me as a lot more than a little ambiguous. Sep 20, 2017 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


I would say that "Unused objects not having configuration deleted, disabled and assigned to unused groups" but I have also seen Decommissioned used in the sense of having the configuration, (usually applied during commissioning), removed.

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