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Changing the display name of active directory users

Changing the display name of active directory users

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Some companies have requirements to change how their users display name show up in the active directory. We have a KB article [http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/250455] where this does work for the following versions of Exchange:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition

When a new user or contact object is created in Active Directory, the Full name field is always generated in FirstName LastName format. In turn, this field sets the Display Name field on creation, therefore, you end up with a FirstName LastName formatted global address list.

If you want, you can use an Active Directory editor such as Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI) Edit to modify the way in which the Display Name field is built. ADSI Edit not only changes the way this field is built, but also the Full Name field; therefore, users appear in the chosen format viewed within Active Directory Users and Computers.

We can change the way in which Display Name field or Full Name field are built by setting the value of the createDialog attribute of the CN=user-Display object under CN=DisplaySpecifiers, CN=409 object, where 409 is the Locale ID for U.S. English. If you are in a multi-lingual environment, you may need to make changes to the other codes.

For example, we can set the value of the createDialog attribute to %<sn>, %<givenName> to allow the Display Name and Full Name to be generated in the format of LastName, FirstName. For the detail information about how to do so, please click the link below to view the article at Microsoft TechNet:

Default display name modified: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998290.aspx

On Windows Server 2003 with Exchange Server 2007 installed, when we create new mailbox in Exchange Management Console we can choose to create the mailbox for a new user, which allows us to create a new Active Directory user account directly from Exchange Management Console.

While Active Directory user accounts created from Active Directory Users and Computers appear in the expected format for Display Name and Full Name, Active Directory user accounts created from Exchange Management Console are not affected by the value of the createDialog attribute. The Display Name and Full Name are always generated in the default FirstName LastName format no matter what value you set for the createDialog attribute.

Now when it comes to Exchange 2007 this will not work. This is a by design limitation because  the Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Management Console does not recognize the value of the createDialog attribute of objects that have a displaySpecifier class.

How to work around this problem

As a work around you can create your Active Directory user accounts using the Active Directory Users and Computers mmc instead of the Exchange Management Console. Then, when you want to create mailbox you can choose the "Existing user" option to generate mailbox for the user account.

Dave

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