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Hands on with Windows Server 2008 r2: Admin tools

New PowerShell cmdlets let you manage Active Directory quickly and efficiently

By Jonathan Hassell
May 5, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Development on Windows Server 2008 R2 proceeds apace. And in addition to DirectAccess and other features I've already written about, with today's announcement of the newest Windows Server 2008 release candidate there are numerous other important improvements in administrative usability in Windows Server 2008 R2.

I'll take a look at several in this piece, including:

  • New PowerShell cmdlets that let you manage Active Directory quickly and efficiently

  • A new AD administrative console that exposes the power of those cmdlets to more graphically oriented users

  • How to deploy BranchCache, a WAN caching technology, in your Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 environment

Managing Active Directory through PowerShell

PowerShell now comes with an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) module that introduces over 75 Active Directory cmdlets. From a script or the new Graphical PowerShell user interface, you can perform routine administrative tasks on your Active Directory forests, domains, trees and so on.

Best of all, the tab-completion function (where Windows thinks about what you're typing and suggests completions for your current context when you hit the Tab key) works as you'd expect and is a useful feature.

Active Directory module for PowerShell
Windows Server 2008 R2 now includes an Active Directory module for PowerShell.
Click to view larger image

Here are some common commands:

  • To load the AD DS module, use Add-Module ActiveDirectory, then Get-Module

  • To get information about a domain, use Get-ADDomain domain_name

  • To display information about domain controllers in a specific domain, use Get-ADDomainController -Discover

  • To browse a specific domain, with results neatly formed in a table, "change directory" into AD via Cd AD: and then use the following series of commands:

  • PWD



    DIR | Format-Table -Auto


    CD "DC=domain_name,DC=TLD"


    DIR | ft -a


  • To create a new organizational unit within a domain, use the following command:
  • New-ADOrganizationalUnit ­Name "International" ­Path "DC=domain_name,DC=TLD"
  • To delete the organizational unit you created in the previous step, use the following series of commands, one to allow the organizational unit to be deleted and the other to actually perform the removal:
  • Set­ADorganizationalUnit International ­ProtectedFromAccidentalDeletion $False Remove­ADOrganizationalUnit International Unit


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