SharePoint People & Groups not updating

We recently discovered a problem with user information in the “People and Groups” view of a SharePoint web application not updating. While a user’s MySite was accurately updated with a photograph, an “About me” section, and profile information, the same user in a web application People and Groups view was not updated. This updating is typically handled via the Quick Profile Synchronization timer job.

To test the problem, we tried altering a user’s photograph and “About me” text and waited an hour for the timer job to fire. Nothing changed. It appeared that the timer job did not have access to update the view, and nothing was logged to the Event or ULS logs about the problem. Here is how we fixed it:

Open Central Administration, then browse to Application Management/Content Databases and select the web application which is experiencing the problem. Ensure all of the content databases are in the “Started” state; if a database is in the “Stopped” state, the timer job will be blocked from updating the database. As you can see in the screen capture below, several of our databases were in the “Stopped” state:

The next step was to temporarily set the Quick Profile Synchronization timer job to run every 2 minutes from its default of every 59 minutes. This timer job synchronizes user information in content databases from user profile data.  Reducing this setting allowed us see that profile synchronization was working without having to wait 59 minutes for the next run.  The command to change the timing is:  stsadm -o sync -synctiming m:2

We then ran the “preparetomove” stsadm command on the database that was not being updated properly. This command temporarily stops the profile and membership synchronization service from running against the database. The syntax for this command is:

stsadm -o preparetomove -contentdb  servernameinstance:content_db_name -site http://your_site_url

After that command completes successfully, detach the database using Central Admin/Content Databases/Manage Content Database Settings. Be sure to write down the name and server location of the database.  After successfully removing the database, reattach it to the web application using the same process, but in reverse.

Once the database is attached, run the “preparetomove” command again, but with the “–undo” flag this time to undo the “preparetomove” operation:

stsadm -o preparetomove -contentdb  servernameinstance:content_db_name -undo -site http://your_site_url

After the command completes successfully, run the following stsadm command to clear all synchronization information: stsadm –o sync –deleteolddatabases 0

After that, simply wait two minutes for the timer job to fire.  Profile information should start syncing up in the People and Groups view.  Here is the view before making the change:

And here is the “after” view; note the updated photograph and “About me” entries that were successfully synchronized:

Remember to reset the Quick Profile Synchronization timer job to run at the default 59 minutes: stsadm -o sync -synctiming m:59