MOSS User Profile Info - How the information flows

Posted on 7/8/2007 @ 12:10 AM in #SharePoint by | Feedback | 25465 views

Let me start with a diagram -

Okay, now for the explanation.

As you can see, there are various moving peices in how the user profile information flows within MOSS. Here are the salient points -

  1. A subset of such information sits inside the content db for the given website/sitecollection.
  2. WSS sites make the best possible effort to populate UserInfo when the first encounter a given user (i.e. say when the user is first added to the site).
  3. Actual user profile info sits inside the shared service provider db.
  4. SSPDB is kept up to date with profile information via an incremental profile import job that you have to setup (see instructions here (AD/ADAM/LDAP) and here (BDC)).
  5. The SSP synchs down profile information to individual content DBs based on a timer job that runs every hour (see instructions on how to shorten this time cycle).
  6. If actual SSP based user profile information is missing, then the content db "diet-userprofile-info" masquerades as user profile :).
  7. If actual SSP based user profile information is available, then this SSP user profile information overrides the MySettings edits.
  8. Individual users can manage their information in the UserInfo table via the MySettings link, which is userdisp.aspx?ID={userid}, or useredit.aspx?ID={userid}. Again, note that this info will get overridden every hour by what sits in the SSP. There are ways to prevent this overriding.
  9. Administrators can manage other users profile info via the same link, appropriate rights can be delegated to the end users to allow managing other users info. But if you are using MySites/Profiles, then you shoudl manage profiles via the SSP/MySite.
  10. If a MySite exists, the user can & should manage their profile information via their MySite.
  11. If a MySite exists, then administrators can & should manage profile information via the SSP profile DB, or MySettings for the user being edited.

Sound off but keep it civil:

Older comments..

On 11/16/2007 12:56:00 AM Nebelstreif said ..
Under which conditions is the useredit.aspx restricted to just editing the Account field?

What makes the Add Picture control differ for different users on EditProfile.aspx: i.e. when some see a URL field and some see buttons to Add/Change Picture to My Site?

What users are left out when browsing the All Site Users in standard Detail/List views and can be seen when creating a custom view for the same list?

Thanks in advance,


On 1/17/2008 11:49:32 AM Tony Black said ..
Great write up on user profile

On 9/23/2008 12:09:08 PM Nick said ..

Great article, very helpful. The diagram is missing though I'm afraid, any cahnce you could email it to me??



On 9/28/2008 8:03:39 PM Craig said ..
Hi Sahil,

you might want to re-think some of those double-ended arrows, as some of them are only one way, in particular, nothing syncs back to AD/ADAM/LDAP, it's a one way pull and will overwrite any changes that users make to their profiles.

Otherwise an interesting diagram.



On 9/28/2008 9:23:26 PM Sahil Malik said ..
Hey Craig - Yeah that is correct. Thanks for pointing out.


On 11/9/2008 4:39:07 PM Josh said ..
Hi Sahil, I am trying to get User profile data like Name, City, State etc and display on a site. Is there a out of the box webpart that I can use? How can I do if you have some other ideas.

Thanks in Advance,


On 2/23/2009 10:20:53 AM Dale said ..
Thanks for the chart and the info it was helpful

On 4/2/2009 11:04:24 AM Mike said ..
the e-mail address of all the users has changed domain values.

In MOSS 2007 they e-mail address still point to the old ones.

How can I have them all reflect the new ones.

If I delete all users from the content db and/or profiles, would they get refreshed automatically?

if not what is the best method of making this change.

We do not use MYSites.


On 4/15/2009 4:13:16 PM Ram said ..
Hello Mallik, I also have the same problem as Mike. Our company is bought by another company so now we have two accounts for each user in SharePoint. I have used stsadm migrateuser command to migrate all the permissions of the users from one domain account to another domain account, but the display name for some site is being dispalyed in old way Lastname, Firstname but in our new domain the display name should be firstname lastname.... how can I update all the content dbs so that display name updates correctly?


On 4/21/2009 8:39:37 AM keson said ..

I am fighting over a year with such behavior:

1) we installed WSS 3.0 site using SQL membership provider (a DB which stores username, e-mail and password).

2) we created dozens of users and edited their profiles in SharePoint with _layouts/useredit.aspx - I was able to edit image, title, name, possition etc.

3) all of a sudden a year and half ago, when I open the _layouts/useredit.aspx for any user, I only see the account name which I can not edit but no other fields...

So now we have obsolete records, positions, titles in the database and I am UNABLE to edit them and I look like an idion (which I probably am), but I do not see an option to edit those old and new records... :(

Please, help me with this issue.

P.S. I recreated this behaviour on multiple sites... first few montjs no problem and then again no more edit options...

On 8/26/2009 6:47:24 AM Priyanka sharma said ..
Hi sahil, gud info . I just wanted to know if we can Account name attribute of sharepoint to some other attribute of AD. Right now, what is happening , Account name is mapped to <specific to connection> which gives domain\username which gets displayed when user logs in to site.

is it possible that we map account name to an attribute of AD which gives full name of the user so that he can see his name after login.

Or if we can anyway change the display name of logged in user coming from AD.

On 10/26/2009 6:06:38 PM BijNep said ..
I am trying to populate Infopath form using userProfileService web service. I can display Name and emil etc, but State, City and Zip code is not existing in that web service.

My question is there a way - I can retrieve State, City and Zip code from the user profile by using UserProfileservice web service?

Is there any OOB web services that I can use to populate those three fields (State, City and Zip code ) that exist in Active Directory.

Thanks in Advace


On 2/22/2010 4:39:45 PM Kethireddy said ..
Hi Sahil,

Thanks for the above info: I am in a situation where the back-end is Oracle and is BDC is perfect for this?

If the data has to change Dynamically between Moss site and Oracle data base, What I have to do?

Thanks in advance

On 2/26/2010 7:42:26 PM Jose M. Tamez said ..
Hey Sahil, I am pulling images from a picture library in my MOSS2007 installation for public MySites. Along with these pictures sits additional information that HR can edit but in particular, the link site column I am using to point to each user's public MySite. With over 1000 users, I don't want to have to update manually. There should be a way to pull the public MySite link into the site column. Or, is there another way of doing this? I know there's a way to do this but not sure the best way to do it. Please help!

PA: Great Post! Very Helpful!