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I have a landline and want to keep it. But I want to inactivate/close off one jack while keeping the others alive? Is that possible?

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    In what way do you want to "inactivate" or "close off" a jack? Do you simply want to make the hole in the wall disappear? Is it a flush mount jack as shown in this answer, or is it a surface mount jack? More details a needed. Please edit to answer these questions and provide a picture of the jack in question.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 13:17

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It depends on the wiring scheme. While typical Ethernet twisted pair networking is always in a star configuration, ordinary voice phone service (POTS) can be in a star configuration (all jacks wired to a central location) or it can be in a daisy-chain configuration (central location to jack 1, jack 1 to jack 2, jack 2 to jack 3, etc.) or a mix.

Take a look at the jack you want to remove. If there is a single cable with 2 wires from the cable connected to the jack, you can safely cut it. If there are two cables, each with 2 wires connected to the jack then you can't cut it without affecting another jack elsewhere in your house.

Assuming this is a jack insert in a single-gang faceplate, like this (pictures from Amazon):

jack inserted in faceplate
Click to embiggen

as opposed to an actual faceplate with integral jack, like this:

faceplate with integral jack

then I would pop the jack out of the faceplate without detaching or cutting any wires. Leave it in the box (if there is a box) or hanging inside the wall (if there is no box) and install a blank faceplate. You'll know it is there if you ever decide you want to use it again, but it won't be an attractive nuisance ("Hey, why doesn't this jack work?").

If your old jack was (a) screw connectors instead of punch down and (b) used as a splice between two cables, you can remove the wires from the screws, use IDC connects like these from Amazon:

Klein IDC

to splice the wires, and then replace the jack/faceplate with a blank plate.

If the old jack is in a surface mount box then there is no "clean" replacement like a blank faceplate, so you can cut the wires but usually not remove the box cleanly without having to patch/paint.

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  • Had to love the old phone wiring...
    – JACK
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 12:54
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    If it's the 2nd type of face plate, cut the wires as close to the attachment point as possible (removing the minimum amount of wire possible), then see if any other jacks no longer work. If there are one or more that don't, simply twist and (small) wire nut together all the wires in the wall, matching color to color.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 13:19
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    @FreeMan. Wire nutting phone wires together is not as reliable as using gel filled crimp splices, which seal out moisture and prevent corrosion. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 13:46
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    Fair enough, @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 14:36
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    THANKS -- this is all super helpful. I did open the jack and see that there is only one cable, and it has two wires. So does that mean I have a star-(rather than daisy-chain) configuration that allows me to cap them off and close off that jack, while still keeping the rest of my landline phone jacks working? I'm nervous about losing my landline... Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 4:35

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