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How I found the User Information List…

How I found the User Information List…

User Information List

Here’s a little background information on the User Information List (UIL).  This is a hidden list within SharePoint 2010 that stores information about a user having some metadata.  When a new user logs in for the first time, the users information is added to the UIL.  I had a problem with this list having outdated information in it which caused me major headaches for a while.  Here’s how I came across it.

We use Active Directory as our login authentication.  Every evening we have the User Profile Synchronization (UPS) process run to check for new users and any information that has been changed.  This then updates the list of users to our SharePoint site.  In addition to this, we have some new fields that we added to the user profile which we use to display specific content and reports dependent upon this data.  We have a small application that runs that will pull synchronize these fields through Active Directory as a separate process.

These work fine  and are not an issue at all with the User Information list.  Where I came across a problem, was when a users loin ID had changed.  As a general rule, Active Directory doesn’t like having the User Name changed.  It can be done, very easily in fact.  But other dependent systems tend to digitally frown upon this.  Unfortunately, there are situations where this is required.  Whether due to a misspelling, a marriage, a divorce or in our case, an office ID associated with the user to their ID.

If the person moved to another office, their ID would change too.  This wasn’t my policy, just something I had to work with.

So in the process of  changing the user name in Active Directory, the User Profile Sync will fire and update the User Profiles with any new users or changes to existing user accounts in SharePoint.  The new changes will NOT update the User Information List.  In my case this made user specific information to not display properly within our SharePoint site.

To access the User Information List, add the following to your SharePoint URL:


WARNING: Use these directions at your own risk.  It’s not generally recommended to modify the data in the User Information List unless it is absolutely necessary.  In my scenario, the user was unable to login and use the site.  The list is used for historical data as well and may cause unexpected issues.

To fix this issue, I had to perform the following steps:

  1. Confirm that the users login ID is correct in the User Profile.
  2. Confirm that the user login ID’s do NOT match from the correct User Profile ID and the User Information List.
  3. If they do NOT MATCH, Delete the user entry from the User Information List – If you do only this step, the user will be unable to access SharePoint at all.  Please do all the steps…
  4. Once removed, access your SharePoint’s Site Permissions page.
  5. Add the user to any group. (It doesn’t matter which one, you will be removing it shortly)
  6. Save the settings.
  7. You can confirm that your User Information List has been updated.  Their will be very limited data in the entry until they log in for the first time.
  8. Go back to the Site Permissions Page, access the group you added the user to and remove them.  The act of adding them to a group, forces an update to the User Information List.

The user is now prepared to use their new login id on your SharePoint site.

Please feel free to comment for clarifications or suggested content adjustment.


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