Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SharePoint deep dive exploration: looking into the SharePoint UserInfo table

A couple of months ago we encountered some issues after upgrading a SharePoint 2007 environment to SharePoint 2013 using a migration tool. One of the symptoms was that information about users was incorrectly displayed. This led us into the looking into how SharePoint stores user information inside its databases.

The user information which is being displayed in a created by or a modified by field in SharePoint it is not being directly retrieved from Active Directory but it is retrieved from an internal SharePoint table called the UserInfo table.

All users in Active Directory are not immediately added to this table. When a user is explicitly added to a site collection using security settings, it is added to the UserInfo table. Another way that user info is created in this table, is when a user  is granted access through an Active Directory group and the user visits the site for the first time.

Users which are deleted from  a site collection, will still be found in the UserInfo table but with a flag bDeleted set to True (1).  When the people picker queries the UserInfo table, it will not include user with bDeleted set to 1. The All people page ( /_layouts/people.aspx?Membershipgroupid=0) will also only list users where bDeleted equals 0. This also means that even when people leave your organization and their Active Directory account is disabled (or removed), the Created By and Modified By columns will still display the name of the user. The general recommendation is to leave this mechanism as it was designed but there are border case scenarios in which you want to delete users – if so you can take a look at Delete users and clean up user information list in SharePoint

There also are two different timer jobs which synchronize information from the User Profile Service Application to all site collections:
  • User Profile to SharePoint Quick Synchronization – runs default every 5 minutes – synchronizes information for users recently added to a site collection
  • User Profile to SharePoint Full Synchronization – runs default every hour -
(For a full list of all out of the box timer jobs in SharePoint Server 2013 check out SharePoint Server 2013 – Timer Job reference) These job will only synchronize users where the tp_IsActive Flag is true(1) in the UserInfo table. The reasons for this is performance since synchronizing all users would be quite resource intensive. tp_IsActive is set to true when a user first visits a site collection or when he is granted Contribute permissions explicitly on a site.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SharePoint Server 2013–Error on manage user properties page–your search encountered an error

Last week when I wanted to modify some user properties in a SharePoint Server 2013  - I got a very strange error “Your search encountered an error. If the problem persists, contact the portal site administrator”

I first checked search but I saw no errors in there – it seems that the error description is not really guiding you in the correct direction. The solution was starting the ForeFront Identity Manager Service (Run command>Services.msc) as outlined in this blogpost UserProfile Service, Managed properties are not available

Monday, September 15, 2014

BIWUG SharePoint Quiz 2014

BIWUG invites you to the second SharePoint Quiz: have a great evening while learning some interesting stuff!

The rules are similar to last year:
•Registration is required
•Choose your own team
•Up to 3 members for each team
•Share your team name using #biwug #SPQuizBE
•Unique and funny SharePoint related team name is a bonus
•Female members is a plus!
•40 questions, 4 rounds
•No cheating allowed
•Post a question on twitter with #SPQuizBE and boost your chances to get the highest score

Register for the BIWUG Quiz 2014

PS Don’t forget to check out our completely redesigned BIWUG website

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Office 365 urges you to stay up-to-date with Internet Explorer

A couple of weeks ago I first noticed a new warning message in Office 365 stating:
“Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. We will work to update and clarify our Office 365 system requirements soon and communicate this to you via Message Center.”

This is actually quite a bold statement from Microsoft, because you take a look at the August 2014 browser market share (http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php), the usage of previous versions of Internet Explorer is still quite high but Internet Explorer 11 only having a slightly higher market share than Internet Explorer 8 and 9.

If you take a look at the Office 365 System Requirements (also updated mid August) you will also notice the following statement:
Office 365 is designed to work with the following software:
  • The current or immediately previous version of Internet Explorer or Firefox, or the latest version of Chrome or Safari.
  • Any version of Microsoft Office in mainstream support.
For the moment this means that as Office 365 continues to evolve and new functionality is added you will encounter more and more issues with older versions of Internet Explorer such as version 8.0 and 9.0. I’m wondering whether this will not drive more users to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox instead of the latest version of Internet Explorer.