Microsoft KB Archive/248443

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Personalization and Membership Doesn't Support Underscore Character in CNs

Article ID: 248443

Article Last Modified on 7/16/2004


  • Microsoft Site Server 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition

This article was previously published under Q248443


If you use the Membership Directory Manager (MDM) when you attempt to create a new member with an underscore character ( _ ), you may receive the following error message:

The object name you specified contains invalid characters. Please refer to the documentation for more details.

The Site Server documentation does not allow the use of an underscore (in addition to other characters) in the common name of members.


This restriction was implemented to support a limitation in Microsoft Access, which does not allow the underscore character as a value in indexed columns.


To workaround this issue, create your members by using scripts through Active User Object (AUO) or Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI) code.

For additional information on programmatically creating members, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Q192781 HOWTO: How to Programmatically Create Members in Site Server 3.0


The Site Server documentation and Microsoft Management Console (MMC) MDM snap-in restrict the user from using an underscore in a common name (cn). However, you can do this by using scripts, and the Site Server broker accounts have underscores in their names. The restriction stems from Microsoft Access and Jets inability to deal with an underscore in a query. This problem does not exist in SQL Server.

Although it is possible to programmatically create user attributes with an underscore in a Microsoft Access database, the underscore cannot be used with that Access database. Searches and queries (either user-defined or system level) do not work correctly, and therefore, Microsoft Access is not a supported environment for this functionality.

The Personalization and Membership configuration must use SQL Server as the back-end membership database, and Site Server 3.0 Service Pack 3 must be installed.

Keywords: kbprb kbpending KB248443