User Principal Name

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What Does User Principal Name Mean?

User Principal Name (UPN) is a term for a username in "email format" for use in Windows Active Directory. Here, the user’s personal username is separated from a domain name by the traditional "@" sign.

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Techopedia Explains User Principal Name

User Principal Name is used to authenticate users on the Windows OS. It can replace other aspects of usernames within a Windows profile. It can also be used to abbreviate some long domain name lists.

The UPN is also used to obtain the account of a user in the Active Directory, which can be queried using the Active Directory Service Interface. This is a type of library that provides an interface to different kinds of directories, such as the user account database used by Windows.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.