2006/12/13 - 2006/12/13
Windows/XP users who login to a managed domain have several tools for
searching the Active Directoy -- Microsoft mailers like Outlook and
Outlook Express are integrated with the Active Directory (from your
"Address Book" use "Find People" and look in the "Active
Directory"). This note describes an additional tool for searching the
Active Directory to "Find Users, Contacts, and Groups" (and more).
Windows/XP Professional has a graphical user interface found under
"My Network Places" to explore the Active Directory. You can configure
a desktop shortcut to get there quickly. This is a little known
interface that is quite powerful. What follows is a brief description
of how to configure it, followed by some examples of how you might use
Find Users, Contacts, and Groups
- From an Explorer window select "My Network Places" (which can be found as a drop down menu item in the "Address" bar):
You should have a "Search Active Directory" selection as a "Network
Task" in the left hand menu of common tasks:
If you get the "Classic" view with no common tasks shown then click on
the "Folders" button to show common tasks. If that fails then from the
"Tools" menu select "Folder Options..." and under "Tasks" check the
box to "Show common tasks in folders" ("Searching the Active
Directory" is a common task in "My Network Places").
If configured properly then under "My Network Places" you should be able to "Search Active Directory" to get a search panel like this entitled "Find Users, Contacts, and Groups":
- This tip describes how to configure a desktop icon to quickly
access the "Search Active Directory". Right click on the desktop and
from the pop-up menu select "New" and "Shortcut" to produce a panel
Enter "rundll32 dsquery, OpenQueryWindow" as the location of
the item (ie. as the command that is run) and press "Next>". Enter
"Search Active Directory" as the name for this shortcut.
Having created the shortcut click to open like any other desktop icon and you will have a "Find Users, Contacts, and Groups" search panel like this:
From this search panel you can search the Active Directory to find people, computers, printers and much more.
Using the Directory Search Tool
You can access the "Find Users, Contacts, and Groups" panel from "My Network Places" or from an icon you've established on your desktop.
- The default is to search for "Users, Contacts, and Groups". You can search for other things as well. From the "Find" menu observe the drop down menu:
- The default is to search all Active Directories
available. Usually your are only interested in a particular directory
-- e.g., the ADS directory contains all UWdir users (and we work hard
to keep it synchronized). You specify the directory you wish to search
in the drop down "In" menu:
- You can search on surname, given name, familiar name, or etc. to find a person:
- If you double click a person found then you can find out more information about them:
The several tabs reveal more information stored within the Active
Directory and many fields can be updated by the user. Compare with the
Search on the same person.
- The "Find Users, Contacts, and Groups" panel is only available to
those who have authenticated in the Active Directory. If your system
is not part of our Active Directory then none of this applies.
- You should always try to constrain your searches to a particular
Active Directory. The collection of Active Directories we support
includes a "Test and Development Environment" as well as others. We
support the "ADS" Active Directory and aim to have UWdir updates
happen in real time.
- There will be users in the Active Directory (cf. users within
UWdir) you cannot find -- for privacy reasons they have asked that
their directory entry not be found.
- The assigned UWdir userid is attached to each distinguished
name. The display "Reginald E Quinton (reggers)" shows my formal name
as well as my userid "reggers".
- It should be clear that you can bring start the search tool by other methods -- e.g., from the "Start" button select "Run" and enter the command ""rundll32 dsquery, OpenQueryWindow".
- The search tool supports all sorts of advanced searches which you can explore at your leisure -- e.g., try to find all color printers, or all users who are employees.
- The search tool has a good "Help" menu well worth exploring.
- The interface to the Active Directory allows for a user to update information contained within -- e.g., if you search for my entry you'll find that I have updated my "Address" (my home address).
- You should beware -- the telephone number, E-mail address, Home page, Department and Office are maintained by UWdir. Any changes you make there will be over written by data maintained in UWdir.
- System Administrators have other tools on the Microsoft
Management Console (MMC) that provides additional access -- this
describes access tools for casual users.
Much of the information provided here comes from
We are grateful for the information shared.