Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows 8

Deletes an object of a specific type or any general object from the directory.

Dsrm is a command-line tool that is built into Windows Server 2008. It is available if you have the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) or Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) server role installed. To use dsrm, you must run the dsrm command from an elevated command prompt. To open an elevated command prompt, click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

For examples of how to use this command, see Examples.


dsrm <ObjectDN> ... [-subtree [-exclude]] [-noprompt] [{-s <Server> | -d <Domain>}] [-u <UserName>] [-p {<Password> | *}][-c][-q][{-uc | -uco | -uci}]





Required. Specifies the distinguished names of objects to delete. If no value is entered at the command prompt, the value will be obtained through standard input.

-subtree [-exclude]

Specifies that both the object and all objects contained in the subtree under that object should be deleted. If you specify the -exclude parameter, you must also specify the -subtree parameter. When you specify both parameters, dsrm excludes from deletion the base object that the <ObjectDN> parameter supplies when it deletes the objects under the subtree. By default, dsrm deletes only the base object specified.


Sets the optional silent mode, which prevents prompts that ask you to confirm deletion of each object. By default, dsrm prompts you to confirm each deletion.

{-s <Server> | -d <Domain>}

Connects a computer to a remote server or domain that you specify. By default, dsrm connects the computer to the domain controller in the logon domain.

-u <UserName>

Specifies the user name with which the user logs on to a remote server. By default, -u uses the user name with which the user logged on. You can use any of the following formats to specify a user name:

  • user name (for example, Linda)

  • domain\user name (for example, widgets\Linda)

  • user principal name (UPN) (for example, Linda@widgets.contoso.com)

-p {<Password> | *}

Specifies to use either a password or an asterisk (*) to log on to a remote server. If you type *, dsrm prompts you for a password.


Reports errors, but continues with the next object in the argument list when you specify multiple target objects (continuous operation mode). If you do not supply this parameter, dsrm exits when the first error occurs.


Suppresses all output to standard output (quiet mode).

{-uc | -uco | -uci}

Specifies that dsrm formats output or input data in Unicode. The following list explains each format.

  • -uc: Specifies a Unicode format for input from or output to a pipe (|).

  • -uco : Specifies a Unicode format for output to a pipe (|) or a file.

  • -uci: Specifies a Unicode format for input from a pipe (|) or a file.


Displays help at the command prompt.


  • If a value that you supply contains spaces, use quotation marks around the text, for example, "CN=Mike Danseglio,CN=Users,DC=Contoso,DC=Com".

  • If you supply multiple values for a parameter, use spaces to separate the values, for example, a list of distinguished names.


To remove an organizational unit (OU) named Marketing and all the objects under that OU, type:

dsrm -subtree -noprompt -c OU=Marketing,DC=Contoso,DC=Com 

To remove all objects under an OU named Marketing, but leave the OU intact, type:

dsrm -subtree -exclude -noprompt -c "OU=Marketing,DC=Contoso,DC=Com" 

Additional references

Command-Line Syntax Key