I've got the User Profile service setup in SharePoint 2010 to sync user profiles with Active Directory. It is working and pulls down changes from AD.

What I would like to do is allow users to change their profile picture through their my site and then have the new picture file be pushed into the thumbnailPhoto or jpegPhoto properties in their AD profile.

I've found many websites that show how to map the SharePoint property to an AD property and how to set it up to Export those changes.

None of them have worked so far.

I think the problem has to do with SharePoint's property being a URL and AD's being binary...

So, is this even possible? And, if so, does anyone know how to get this to work?

Another option I've thought about is adding a new text property to AD to store the URL and then it can be accessed in a central location, but my concern is using other office products like Outlook that use the thumbnailPhoto.

2 Answers 2


Have you already set up synchronization from AD and got that working?

You need to

  1. upload images to AD. I use PowerShell for this
    $photo = [byte[]](Get-Content C:\abc.jpg -Encoding byte)
    Set-ADUser myUser -Replace @{thumbnailPhoto=$photo}
  2. setup mapping in User Profile to thumbnailPhoto
  3. run Update-SPProfilePhotoStore -MySiteHostLocation http://my -CreateThumbnailsForImportedPhotos $true to create thumbnails on my site host (technet link to cmdlet)

When this is working, set permissions on AD to get the export process working: you need to set the AD mapping to export and grant Create Child Objects and Write permission on the OU (see TechNet article) and set mapping in User Profile property to Export and then do a FULL resync.

If you have problems with this process, open FIM client: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\14.0\Synchronization Service\UIShell\miisclient.exe And check out why synchronization fail

  • Yeah, I have the AD sync working. The TechNet article is one that I had went through previously to set AD permissions. The only things I did not do were steps 1 and 3. Do the profile pictures need to exist in AD before this will work? I had tried setting my account's thumbnail in AD and then running a full sync and that did not work, but like I said, I didn't run step 3. I will give it a try. Thanks!
    – Dragn1821
    May 27, 2011 at 13:17
  • Remember to let us know how it worked out May 27, 2011 at 14:39
  • I just went through this and after completing these steps, so that the update ran was to run the User Profile Service Application Proxy - User Profile to SharePoint Full Synchronization then we saw all the updates. tThanks this was vexing our IT group for awhile.
    – MichaelF
    Jul 27, 2012 at 14:23

According to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff607547.aspx The Update-SPProfilePhotoStore cmdlet should be used only after an upgrade from Office SharePoint Server 2007 has completed

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