SharePoint 2010 User Profile Sync Observations

The past few days I have had the pleasure of working with User Profile Sync in SharePoint 2010 and my observations follow.

1. It’s shit! – Although Microsoft have improved this feature of SharePoint with a series of CU’s, it is the most complicated part of SharePoint 2010 to setup, or at least the trickiest to troubleshoot.

2. It doesn’t like proxy servers – I struggled to get the UPS to start successfully for a full day. The log in ULS viewer was getting to “ILM Configuration: The ExportMiisEncryptionKey process completed successfully” before restarting the provision process. It turned out it was our automatic proxy configuration script that was causing the problems. To fix this I followed the steps below.

1. Hold Shift and Right-click Internet Explorer
2. Click Run as different user
3. Enter the credentials for your Farm account
4. G to Tools > Internet Options > Connections > LAN Settings and either disable the “Automatically Detect Settings” check box or add an exception for your SharePoint server
5. Reboot Server

3. User Profile Picture Import could be more seamless – OOTB SharePoint will import user profile pictures from AD. Unfortunately not many of the guides on the internet mention the fact that the import doesn’t create the required thumbnails automatically. This is a problem as the images in AD are stored as a blob and the “Picture” field in UPA is expecting a URL to the image. To fix this, run the following PS command (I had to login as the farm admin).

Update-SPProfilePhotoStore -CreateThumbnailsForImportedPhotos 1 -MySiteHostLocation http://mysitesurl

If you get a Null Reference exception when attempting to run this command, then you don’t have the permission to do so. This Technet article explains the permissions requirements for updating user profiles, along with a few other things.

All in all, this is a great product until it goes wrong, then it is an absolute beast!

I know all of this information is already available online, but the more times it is published the less time it will take for people to find it in Google 🙂