The joys of troubleshooting the SP2010 User Profile Service….

It is a sad fact of life that the hours we have lost trying to fathom why the ‘User Profile Synchronization Service’ is stuck on starting are lost forever! And with that in mind, I’m going to swerve that subject altogether.

But what tools can you use to troubleshoot your User Profile imports, once you’re smoking a cigar having seen the word ‘started’ against the Synchronization Service?

From my experience, no initial import is the same, particularly if you’re connecting to Active Directory and have created a number of custom filters and exclusions. Just recently, I witnessed two SharePoint 2010 Farms, configured identically, synchronising against the same AD Organizational Unit structure only for the end number of profiles to be different. I’m only talking a handful of users out of several thousand, but still the inconsistency was there. And even after starting with another clean User Profile canvass across both Farms, the initial ‘Full Import’ generated different results.

It has to be said that if you run subsequent ‘Full Imports’ following your initial synch job, eventually you should see the same results, although this can be time consuming…..not to mention the light on your cigar will have gone out by now!

Anyhow, I’ve have found two very useful tools/blogs which go beyond what you can achieve within Central Admin when troubleshooting UPS.

The first allows you to export all of your profiles out of SharePoint and into Excel – which is a great way of determining which profiles have not been grabbed:!/2012/02/sharepoint-2010-user-profile-export-to.html

The second contains some very useful SQL views which provide a great alternative to the restricted API. Always remember to avoid creating any views against a Production SharePoint content database, otherwise your call for help to Microsoft with fall on deaf ears!

As always, refer to Spencer Harbar’s comprehensive blog ( for an in-depth look into everything UPS


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