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Is there a way to mass disable (status) of all products within the Magento admin dashboard without using SQL or being able to access the back end of the system? We have over 4000 products and it would be very resource intensive to do so.

Also, if I do that, are you still able to place orders against those products? I only want to disable them for the front end customer interface BUT not the admin side and still place orders against those products.

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Magento offers a bulk update option for products.
Go to Catalog->products.
Filter the grid to find the products you need to disable, select all the products (not sure it will work for 4k products, maybe do them in batches of 1k).
Then select from the top right dropdown "Update Attributes" and submit.
In the next screen you should see a list of attributes to change.
If you still want to be able to order the products you should change their visibility to "Not individually".

Rebuild your indexes and you should be done.

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