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Active Directory Searches Technical Reference

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

In the Active Directory directory service, directory clients use Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) to perform searches against the directory. LDAP is defined by Request for Comments (RFC) 3377, “Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (v3): Technical Specification.” LDAP is a standards-based protocol that makes it possible for users to query and update information in an LDAP-based directory service, such as Active Directory.


In Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003, the directory service is named Active Directory. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the directory service is named Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). The rest of this topic refers to Active Directory, but the information is also applicable to AD DS.

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