Matt-Engel Blog

When User Profile Synchronization Status Stays Idle

When User Profile Synchronization Status Stays Idle

I’ve started a new method to my fix-it portion of blogs, with a Short Fix / Long Fix method.  I’ll give you the quick and dirty steps to fix the problem in the Short Fix section, then if you need or want more detail, the Long Fix gives you all of the background of the problem and other troubleshooting steps that may assist in your fix as well.

Short Fix

You are likely to have this problem if you have a SharePoint configuration with an Application Server and one or more Front End Servers.

Check to see if User Profile Service is running on your Front End Servers.  For the Synchronization process to work properly, it should only be run from one server.

That’s it… Short and sweet.  If you want more detail, check out the Long Fix for images and other troubleshooting steps.  If the short fix didn’t answer your question, one of the troubleshooting steps below may help you out.

Long Fix

There are many, many and I mean MANY resources on the web for SharePoint 2010 and the User Profile Synchronization process.  I’m not going to repeat what many others have put out there that are excellent resources for this topic.  However, I’ll share with you a problem that I had that was a thorn in my side for quite a while.

*** SIDE NOTE *** If you notice the time in this log ( Stage History Cleanup ) as not being the correct time that you have the time service set to run, don’t be alarmed.  This is set to UTC/GMT time.  I don’t know why, but that’s the way Microsoft set it up…

I would notice that the Synchronization process would intermittently not run.  Even when I would try to manually run it, nothing would happen. When clicking on the Idle status, you can see when it last ran and a brief log of what transpired.

I found that it could end up not running for several days, then run again with no trouble.  I would check the logs and find no reference to any errors whatsoever.

There is an application that you have probably used before called the miisclient.  If you need help finding it again, here is where it is generally located: “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\14.0\Synchronization Service\UIShell\miisclient.exe”

I recommend creating an icon to this tool and leaving it on the SharePoint server desktop.  I use it very infrequently and quite frankly, I forget that it even exists.  If I have the tool on the desktop, it reminds me that it could probably help me fix my problem.

When running the miisclient, I would get no references to anything that I was trying to run the sync process.  Whether I was kicking it off manually, or letting the timer run it.  This didn’t help a lot, but it did give me something to start with.  It told me that the User Profile Service was just not firing properly.  It wasn’t getting far enough to even start the processes.

I checked to ensure the service was running… Of course…  And yes, it was…

Now, quick background note…   Our server setup has three servers.  An App server and two front end servers (Web1 and Web2).

This is the key to this issue…  The resolution to the problem was this…  User profile service was running on all three servers.  If you only want your app server running it, you have to turn the other two OFF.  It’s as simple as that…

  1. Go to Manage Services on Server
  2. If your App server is listed, check to ensure that User Profile Service is running
  3. Click the dropdown for the server and choose change server
  4. Select your other servers listed to ensure that User Profile Services is NOT running
  5. If they are running, stop them
  6. When they are all stopped EXCEPT for your App Server, Kick off the Profile Sync.  It should be working like normal.


This may have been a bit wordy to resolve a rather simple fix, but for as long as it took me to resolve and get the right answer, it’s sometimes better to see the whole picture.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought I found an answer to my problem when searching through Google and then find out that the problem is the same as mine.

Thanks for reading!  Let me know if this worked for you, OR if you found other ways to fix these problems I’m always open to new fixes!

Here are a few of the Best User Profile references on the web.



About the Author:

I have been in Information Technology Professional for 15 years and have settled into the realm of Microsoft SharePoint. I have been a SharePoint Administrator for an International Corporation based out of Michigan since 2011. My reasons for starting this site, much like anyone else who focuses on SharePoint, is to share what I have learned along my career path as an Administrator for a medium sized company. Most of what I have been jotting down for the past year are issues that I had come across while working with an inherited SharePoint 2010 environment. There are pitfalls that I will discuss along with some of the things that we had to develop on our own that SharePoint didn't quite do on its own. I hope you will find the content both helpful and entertaining. Cheers!

Add a Comment

CommentLuv badge