Tip: Manage Active Directory with Administrative Center and Windows PowerShell

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Active Directory Administrative Center provides a task-orientated interface for managing Active Directory. To start this tool, click Start, Administrative Tools, Active Directory Administrative Center. You can use this tool to do the following:

  • Connect to one or more domains
  • Create and manage user accounts
  • Create and manage groups
  • Create and manage organizational units
  • Perform global searches of Active Directory

Active Directory Administrative Center is installed by default on Windows Server 2008 R2 and is available on Windows 7 when you install the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT). This tool uses Windows PowerShell to perform administration tasks and relies on the .NET Framework 3.5.1. Both of these features must be installed and properly configured for you to use Active Directory Administrative Center.

Additionally, Active Directory Administrative Center makes use of the Web services provided by Active Directory Web Services (ADWS). At least one domain controller in each Active Directory domain you want to manage must have ADWS installed and have the related services running. Connections are made over TCP port 9389 by default, and firewall policies must enable an exception on this port for ADWS.

You can also work with Active Directory by using the Active Directory module for Windows PowerShell. The module is automatically imported when you select the related option on the Administrative Tools menu. Otherwise, this module is not imported into Windows PowerShell by default, and you need to import it before you can work with any Active Directory cmdlets.

At the Windows PowerShell prompt, you can import the Active Directory module by entering Import-Module ActiveDirectory. Once the module is imported, you can use it with the currently running instance of Windows PowerShell. The next time you start Windows PowerShell, you need to import the module again if you want to use its features. Alternatively, you can select the Active Directory Module For Windows PowerShell option on the Administrative Tools menu to import the module when Windows PowerShell starts.

At the Windows PowerShell prompt, you can list all available cmdlets by typing get-command. Use Get-Help to get more information about how cmdlets are used. If you enter get-help *-*, you get a list of all cmdlets that includes a synopsis of the purpose of each cmdlet. To get help documentation on a specific cmdlet, type get-help followed by the cmdlet name. Several dozen Active Directory cmdlets are available, and you can get a list of the ones you’ll use the most by entering get-help *-ad* at the Windows PowerShell prompt.

From the Microsoft Press book Windows Server 2008 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant, Second Edition by William R. Stanek.

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