Have you noticed that in Windows not everything is as it seems? For example, Group Policy has nothing to do with groups? The displayname attribute for a user account does not control the name that is displayed?
Let’s tackle that last oxymoronic fact. First, let’s talk about what is the minimum to create a user account in Active Directory. The minimum naming information for a user account requires that you configure Full Name, Logon name, and Pre-2k Logon name (as per the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) user creation wizard), which the final resulting attributes can be seen in Figure 1.
Figure 1.Minimum Name related attributes for a newly created user account.
If you want to change the name that is showing up in the ADUC view, you can modify the attributes manually. It might seem as if displayname would alter the name as it is displayed, but that is not the case at all. Figure 2 shows you that the user object attribute for displayname is modified, but Figure 3 clearly shows you that the ADUC interface does not show this name.
Figure 2. displayname attribute changed for a user account.
Figure 3. ADUC does not display the user account displayname attribute.
If you want to manually update the user account name displayed in ADUC, you will find it hard to manually modify the cn and name attributes, as cn states it is a system attribute and the name attribute is grayed out. So, instead, you can click one time on the name in ADUC, then input the name you desire. Figure 4 shows you what this would look like.
Figure 4. Altering the displayed name in ADUC by clicking on the name one time.
After you hit Enter to agree, the Rename User dialog will show, which you can see in Figure 5.
Figure 5. Modifying the displayed name in ADUC will initiate the Rename User dialog.
(Note, you can also right-click on the displayed user name and select Rename.)
As you can see, the Full name attribute is what is being altered. If you try to go to the user account attributes to see the updated Full name entry, you will find it impossible to find Full name (or any variation of that name).
Instead, you will be looking for the cn and name, which is updated with the actions from above. Figure 6 illustrates these results.
Figure 6. cn and name are altered when you rename a user account.
Why is this important? Imagine you need to update the displayed name for 1000 users in ADUC. Imagine you only need to update the displayed name for a single user account.
Knowing which attributes control the certain “views” of the user account (or any object for that matter) can be helpful and reduce your troubleshooting time.
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