Standard Microsoft Active Directory Management Tools (Active Directory Users and Computers)

Microsoft Windows Server ships with a standard set of Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Snap-Ins that can be used to manage various aspects of Active Directory, including managing your OU hierarchy, implement your delegation model, and create, modify and manage the life-cycle of user accounts and security groups.


Active Directory Users and Computers

There are four MMC Snap-Ins that can help you manage various aspects of AD -

  1. Active Directory Users and Computers Snap-In - This MMC snap-in, also know as ADU&C is the main tool used to create and manage your Active Directory hierarchy, create and delete OUs and Containers, and create and manager user accounts, security groups and other IT resources.
  2.  Active Directory Domains and Trusts Snap-In - This snap-in is used to establish, configure and manage trust relationships between various domains and forests. You can use it to create short-cut trust relationships, external trust relationships, and cross-forest trust-relationships as well.
  3.  Active Directory Sites and Services Snap-In - This snap--in is used to define, configure and maintain Active Directory sites, subnets, site-to-subnet mappings and perform other tasks related to site and subnet management.
  4.  ADSIEdit.msc - This is a special and very handy snap-in that can be used to access and edit all attributes of all objects in Active Directory. It is particularly helpful if you wish to make modification to uncommon attributes, and or create a new object of any of the classes defined in the Schema.
If you're an IT administrator responsible for AD management, then you probably already know about the common set of administrative tools that ship with Windows Server, but nonetheless, thought of mentioning them here for anyone starting out in AD administration.

+ Pros: Free, Come with Windows, Can be used for AD management, Good for Basic Search and Reporting

- Cons: Very limited in their ability to generate advanced and/or custom management and security reports

# Download Point: To install these tools, you need to download and install the Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack, which I believe can be found here.

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