I am trying to run a timer job in SharePoint 2010 that ultimately will call into the BCS to retrieve info from an Oracle database. My timer service is running as a domain user, so I expected this (when running through the timer job)

var timer_identity = System.Threading.Thread.CurrentPrincipal.Identity;

to represent the WindowsIdentity of that domain user. Instead, it's a GenericIdentity with no name, and as a result my attempts to access the database through BCS and the secure store service end up failing.

Why is my identity not what I think it should be? And what's the best way to get this code to run as a specific domain-based service account?

1 Answer 1


You don't have any running context in timer jobs so you have to set the identity yourself.

var timer_identity_user = new WindowsPrincipal(WindowsIdentity.GetCurrent());
System.Threading.Thread.CurrentPrincipal = timer_identity_user;

Here is a quick console program to demonstrate

using System;
using System.Security.Principal;

namespace TestIdentity
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            var ti = System.Threading.Thread.CurrentPrincipal.Identity; 
            Console.WriteLine("ti name = {0}",ti.Name); // blank
            var tiw = new WindowsPrincipal(WindowsIdentity.GetCurrent());
            System.Threading.Thread.CurrentPrincipal = tiw;
            var tiNext = System.Threading.Thread.CurrentPrincipal.Identity;
            Console.WriteLine("tiNext name = {0}", tiNext.Name); // Correct


Info on WindowsPrincipal and IPrincipal if you want to use a specific account.

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