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User Profile Synchronization Service Stops


Your User Profile Synchronization Service doesn’t start. When trying to start the User Profile Synchronization Service service via Central Administration > System Settings > Manage Services on Server > User Profile Synchronization Service: /_admin/Server.aspx, it shows up in green as “starting…” but then stops (often after a really, really long wait).


There are a number of possible reasons…

Reason 1: You are using a “Named Instance” for your SharePoint SQL database

This is a known issue and is described in Hotfix KB983497: “If a user profile synchronization service uses a named SQL instance, the service no longer starts after you provision the service. For example, this issue ocurrs when you stop the service.” If unsure, check your Event log in Server Mangler > Diagnostics > Event Viewer and look under “critical” for this error: “Cannot connect to SQL Server. SharePoint_Alias not found. Additional error information from SQL Server is included below. Timeout expired.  The timeout period elapsed prior to completion of the operation or the server is not responding.” If this describes your situation, install the most recent cumulative update or install Hotfix KB983497

Reason 2: You tried installing the User Profile Synchronization Service using PowerShell

If so, don’t. Read How to Configure User Profile Service with Powershell (Hint: it concludes with marginal confidence that, as of early May 2011, you cannot).

Reason 3: You did not have the farm account in the local administrators group during the provisioning process

If this describes you, add the farm account to the local administrators group on both/all application servers. Once it’s in there…

  1. Restart the server, and try starting UPS again.
  2. If that does not work, delete the UPS instance, restart, re-provision it, and try starting the UPS Service Application again.
  3. If that does not work, just follow the instructions on this page from scratch.
  4. If that does not work, say “Mother may I,” “Simon Says,” and “There’s no place like home” (three times) and imagine yourself  with a pack of gum and a box of baseball cards in a hot summer playing baseball in a sandlot.

Let’s say you successfully provision it. What do you do with the farm account in the local administrator’s group? Remove it.


  1. RichardM says:

    I found point 1 worked for me – the UPS had been very stable for a few months for me (with Feb 2011 CU applied).

    Then it the UP sync service would stop each time a backup ran, and then it would stop the moment after I manually started it – without anything in Event Logs to say why.

    Restarting SPTImer service then restarting UPS services in SP CA worked.

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