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Reading computer names from Active Directory

You can save substantial time by running a script that connects to remote computers by name or as part of an Active Directory domain. This month's scripting column explains how.

Reading Active Directory is the most foolproof way of getting computer names, since you don't have to rely on anyone spelling the names right.

Obtaining the list of servers is easy: Connect to the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) service on the DC, retrieve the names of all computers in AD (or a portion of AD) and place those names into a collection. Next, run a For Each...Next statement against the collection to get each computer's common name (CN), then plug in that information for the executable portion of the script (copying a file).

The code to make this query can look like the example below. It searches the entire domain for computers and then puts them into a collection called colComputers. The query could easily be restricted to a particular OU -- just reformat the LDAP query accordingly.

Set colComputers = GetObject(LDAP://CN=Computers, DC=mydomain, DC=com)

For Each oComputer in colComputers
sComputerName = oComputer.CN

Scripting School: Connect scripts to remote computers

  Taking computer names as arguments
  Using WSH Controller
  Reading computer names from a file
  Reading computer names from Active Directory
  Tips for remote script execution

Read all of Christa's scripting columns:
April 2005: Beginner's guide to scripting
May 2005: It's time to increase your scripting expertise
June 2005: Connect users to network resources
July 2005: More on connecting to network resources
August 2005: Find objects with Windows Scripting Host
September 2005: Windows Script Host arguments
October 2005: Scripting School: Turning the environment with WshShell

Christa Anderson
When Christa Anderson began working with Windows Server operating systems in 1992, she became increasingly interested in finding more efficient and flexible ways of performing routine tasks. Christa has written extensively about administrative scripting and taught technical sessions on the subject at conferences such as Comdex and CeBIT, helping people who had never done any scripting to write their own scripts in half a day. In addition to her interest in scripting Windows management, Christa is an authority on server-based computing and the program manager for Terminal Services licensing in Longhorn. If you have a scripting question for Christa, please e-mail her at

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