Configure Profile Sync in SharePoint Server using Active Directory (AD) Import

Compared to previous versions of SharePoint, we now have more options in SharePoint Server 2016 to synchronize user profiles.

We still have the Active Directory import, but we also have Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) acting as an external provider which is only available in SharePoint 2016.
Both have obviously some advantages, but also some drawbacks. That’s why it’s very important to think through carefully, and plan what type of import your business needs.

For more information, have a look at the following links:

In this post, we will go through the Active Directory (AD) import method with SharePoint Server 2016.


Minimum requirements:

  • Be a member of the Farm Admin group
  • Account with synchronization permissions
  • User Profile Service Application already created
  • Users in Active Directory to synchronize



Create Active Directory connection

As mentioned in the above requirements, we need the User Profile Service Application (UPSA) to be up and running in order to create the AD connection.

  • Open Central Admin
  • Navigate to Manage Service Applications >> click on the User Profile SA
  • Under Synchronization >> click on “Configure Synchronization Connections
  • On the Synchronization Connection page >> click on “Create New connection

Fill the fields with your environment and/or business needs


AD Connection – part 1


  • Click on “Populate containers
  • Expand your domain
  • Select the OU’s to synchronize

AD Connection – part 2


Active Directory connection created! 🙂


AD Connection created




Start Full Profile Sync

Now that the AD Connection has been created, we need to start a Full Sync (1st run).

  • Navigate back to the User Profile SA >> click on it
  • [OPTIONAL] Click on “Configure Synchronization Settings” (to make sure it is set on “Use SharePoint Active Directory Import“) – If it is, click on Cancel
  • Click on “Start Profile synchronization” >> Select “Start Full Sync” (this is our 1st run!)
  • Click on “OK

Select Full Sync



Before the sync (profiles = 0)



After the sync (profiles number changed)




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