Tip

Sysinternals' Active Directory Explorer tool searches AD databases

To think people were worried that Sysinternals would stop developing its great freeware applications after Microsoft acquired them. The pace of development for new projects might have slowed, but my suspicions that they've been planning some terrific new tools have been confirmed.

To this end, we now have

Requires Free Membership to View

Active Directory Explorer 1.0, courtesy of Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, the original founders of Sysinternals. Active Directory Explorer is exactly what it sounds like: a tool for exploring an Active Directory database, reading values, searching for objects, making changes, bookmarking commonly-referred-to locations and more.

By default Active Director Explorer will attempt to connect to whatever is the default domain for the current running user account. It might take a few seconds for the program to load up everything, so be patient. Likewise, if you expand an item that has a lot of children (say, the schema for your domain), the program will not give you immediate feedback. In such cases, the icon for the item you're expanding will have an hourglass superimposed on it.

Connections to different domains can be saved and re-used, although passwords aren't cached (for the sake of security). While you're exploring, the full path of whichever part of Active Directory you're currently exploring is always listed at the top of the window and can be selected and copied out for easy reference. Searches can be saved and re-used for later as well.

One powerful function is the ability to save snapshots of an Active Directory database into a file, so they can be browsed offline. Multiple snapshots can be compared to see what's changed, including permissions settings.

Note: You cannot merge the contents of a snapshot back into Active Directory, but this probably wouldn't be a good idea under any circumstances. If you're worried about the strain imposed on the domain controller (or your network) by taking a snapshot of the entire Active Directory repository, you can modulate the program's scanning speed to keep down the impact of the scan.

Perhaps best of all, the program requires no installation. It will run from most anywhere, so it can be included on your favorite tool CD or Flash drive.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Insight, (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.

More information on this topic:

This was first published in July 2007

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.