SharePoint Active Directory Group Membership Sync Problem and Solution

Problem: SharePoint AD group membership permission changes are not reflecting immediately. Active directory group users get access denied in SharePoint!

In a SharePoint site where users are managed from AD security groups, newly added members to Active Directory security groups couldn’t access SharePoint sites immediately. But the next day, they are able to log in without any issues. Same way, users removed from an AD security group that is granted access to SharePoint sites, still able to access!

sharepoint 2010 ad group membership not updating

So, the catch here is: SharePoint AD group permissions not working as AD group permissions are not getting reflected in SharePoint immediately – So, they get access denied! For example, if you remove a user from the AD security group – the user is still able to access the site. If you add a new user to the AD security group membership, the user still receives access denied error message in SharePoint.

The root cause of SharePoint 2010 AD group membership not updating issue:
In SharePoint Web Applications configured to use Claims Based Authentication, When the user hits SharePoint sites, SharePoint checks the security token store cache for the user’s claims. If claims found in the cache, SharePoint uses it to authorize the user. If not, SharePoint queries for claims again from the AD.

Since, SharePoint has no clues on modified permissions on AD group, it periodically expires the claims token to sync with AD group permissions. By default, this sync happens once per 10 Hours!


Let’s use PowerShell to set the token lifetime and expiration schedules:

Add-PSSnapin microsoft.sharepoint.powershell -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

#Get Security Token Service Configuration
$STSConfig = Get-SPSecurityTokenServiceConfig

#Default value: 10 Hours
$STSConfig.WindowsTokenLifetime = (New-TimeSpan -minutes 2)

#Default value: 10 Minutes
$STSConfig.LogonTokenCacheExpirationWindow = (New-TimeSpan -minutes 1)

Important: If you set Token lifetime lesser than the token expiration window, You’ll start seeing a message “The context has expired and can no longer be used. Exception from HRESULT: 0x80090317”, So don’t do it!

SharePoint ad group new members gets access denied – permission problem in Classic Mode?
On classic mode authentication, This behavior is controlled by a property:token-timeout by default, its set to 24 hours! You can adjust it accordingly.

To check the current timeout value: stsadm -o getproperty -propertyname token-timeout

E.g. stsadm -o setproperty -pn token-timeout -pv 5

sharepoint active directory group membership sync interval

This fixes the SharePoint 2010 AD group membership not updating issue!

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack is a SharePoint Architect with Two decades of SharePoint Experience. He loves sharing his knowledge and experiences with the SharePoint community, through his real-world articles!

One thought on “SharePoint Active Directory Group Membership Sync Problem and Solution

  • August 16, 2020 at 12:06 PM

    This solution will continue to expire my access to SharePoint, isn’t it? After every minute the page will expire and I won’t have access to it.


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