I have a user, let's say XYZ in AD. I have classic-authentication web application. My user has set only first name and login name to XYZ. In SharePoint he is displayed as XYZ.

When I update his profile in AD with last name, and full name and display name will also change, will sharepoint be aware of that and will start to show this user as FirstName LastName? Or there special steps I have to perform to make this work.

We don't have User Profile Sync Service App.

1 Answer 1


The content database for the web application has a table with all the user information that only gets populated once the user actually authenticates on the site, so the User Profile Service doesn't actually control the display name as far as the site collection is concerned. So the details in that table don't often get updated, or they do but the process is highly convoluted as to how this actually happens.

You'll probably have to use these powershell commands:

$user = Get-SPUser -web http://portal -Identity domain\username
Set-SPUser -Identity $user -DisplayName "New Display Name"


  • The UPA does control display names across the entire farm, just indirectly. It pulls the display name from Active Directory and stores it in the Profile database. Once there, there are two timer jobs that run -- SharePoint Quick sync and SharePoint Full sync. These jobs update the User Information List automatically in each content database, there by updating the Display name. If this function isn't working on one or more site collections, you can run stsadm -o sync deletecontendatabases 0 and then re-run the SharePoint Full sync timer job.
    – user6024
    Oct 13, 2012 at 17:43
  • Thanks for the clarification Trevor - yes I've had to run the sync deletecontentdatabases on occasion
    – pigeon
    Oct 14, 2012 at 1:43

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