Give users the power to update personal information in Active Directory

Users can update their personal information in Active Directory with the Global Address Modify Tool in Exchange 2000 Server.

Brien M. Posey
In a medium to large organization, one of biggest, but most seldom thought of, challenges is keeping the user contact information in the Active Directory up to date. As you're no doubt aware, the Active Directory contains lots of information about each user and can be used as a reference tool. If you've implemented Exchange 2000 Server in your organization, then this information is also available via the global address list.

Although the user information found in the Active Directory is definitely a handy reference, it's a big job to keep it up to date. Any time a user moves to another address, changes departments, changes phone numbers, etc., there's a good chance that the Active Directory won't get updated to reflect the change.

One way to keep the Active Directory current is to give the users power to update their own information. This is where the Global Address Modify Tool comes into play. The Global Address Modify Tool is a simple executable file that comes with the Exchange 2000 Server resource kit.

When a user runs the Global Address Modify Tool, he is presented with a screen that allows him to change all sorts of personal information, such as home business, fax and cell numbers, address, etc. To preserve security, users are allowed to update only their information, and there is some information, such as assistant, title and department, that can be updated only by an administrator.

I recommend placing the Global Address Modify Tool into a public folder or some other location where it is easily accessible to all of the users. However, simply making the tool available probably won't be enough to keep your Active Directory up to date. I recommend sending out a quarterly e-mail reminding your users to update any personal information that might have changed in the last quarter.

About the author:
Brien Posey, CEO of Posey Enterprises, is a freelance technical writer who has been working with computers for about 15 years. Before going freelance, Brien served as director of information systems at a large, nationwide healthcare company. He has also served as a network engineer/security consultant for the Department of Defense. You can access Brien's Web site, which contains hundreds of his articles and white papers, at http://www.brienposey.com.

This was first published in July 2002

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