I'm somewhat confused with the way SharePoint 2013 handles user profiles. In past versions, we could regularly pull down updates from Active Directory, yet still make corrections & updates to a user's information in SP as needed. With 2013, that ability to update the SharePoint side seems to have disappeared, unless our farm is configured incorrectly or something.

SharePoint 2013 Enterprise, three WFE servers and two Application boxes. The User Profile Service is running on the primary application server. We're currently using the "SharePoint Profile Synchronization", but I've also tried the "Active Directory Import" option with no change. User information such as job titles, phone number, etc. will pull into SharePoint correctly about 90% of the time, but sometimes it just refuses to bring that information over for some reason.

If I edit a user in the site's User Information List, all I see is their account name and it's read-only. If I click on the user's name, it takes me to his/her My Site. If I go into the User Profile Service on the server and edit the user's profile there, I can enter the missing information but it never shows up on the site collection's user list.

What I need is the ability to import from Active Directory, but then update as needed at the site collection/user list level.

What is the proper configuration to make SharePoint 2013 work this way?

Build version is currently 15.0.4849.1000 (August 2016 CU).

1 Answer 1


It doesn't work that way. And your changes in the UIL would be overwritten by the UPSA timer jobs that propagate values from the UPSA to each UIL in the farm.

Instead, you should look at why the information isn't propagating correctly. For example, if the values are correct in the UPSA but not in the UIL, use something like stsadm -o sync -listolddatabases 0 and if you see anything older than a few hours, use stsadm -o sync -deleteolddatabases 0 which will delete the sweep sync info. The next time the UPSA -> UIL timer job runs, it should update the values in the UIL, unless there is another serious issue.

  • That does seem to have fixed my issue. I take it, though, that any manual updates will just have to be done at the AD or UPSA level. Thank you.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 18:10
  • That's correct. If you have UPSA sync enabled, AD will overwrite any values in the UPSA which are synced, so those would have to be updated within AD. Otherwise you can update attributes in the UPSA which are not synced.
    – user6024
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 18:11

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