Use Active Directory Explorer from Sysinternals


Active Directory Explorer (AD Explorer) is an advanced Active Directory (AD) viewer and editor. You can use AD Explorer to easily navigate an AD database, define favourite locations, view object properties, and attributes without having to open dialog boxes, edit permissions, view an object’s schema, and execute sophisticated searches that you can save and re-execute. Kindly refer to these related guides: How to download and use Windows Sysinternals tools locally, What is System Monitor (Sysmon) and how to install and use it, How to detect registry keys: Process Monitor using Sysinternals Tools, how to use the PsInfo utility, and how to enable Automatic Logon on Windows 10. In this guide, you will learn how to use Active Directory Explorer from SysInternals.

AD Explorer also includes the ability to save snapshots of an AD database for offline viewing and comparisons. When you load a saved snapshot, you can navigate and explore it as you would a live database. If you have two snapshots of an AD database you can use AD Explorer’s comparison functionality to see what objects, attributes, and security permissions changed between them. Kindly see how to use SysInternals Live Tools.

The ability to save snapshots of Active Directory can be valuable because you can look at them offline. You can even compare two snapshots to see if anything has changed between the two. You can even schedule a snapshot using the following command-line option. The utility is similar to ADSIedit from the Windows Server 2003 Support Tools.

AD Explorer provides also simple, advanced, and SQL search: AD Browser provides powerful text and visual search tools The quick search bar makes it possible to do common searches, for example, Employee email address, employee name, and so on, without having to access the menu bar or enter a complete LDAP-format search request.

Install and run AD Explorer

To install and run AD Explorer, please navigate to the following website to have the Active Directory Explorer by SysInternals downloaded.
– Click on Download AdExplorer as shown below.


Extract the Zip file as you wish. I will be using the 7-Zip as shown below.


Extract to a location of your choice and click on OK as shown below.


As you can see below, the AD Explorer has been unpacked. To run it, click on AD Explorer as shown in the figure below.


You will be required to authenticate in order to create a connection to the Active Directory Database.


As you can see below, we are connected to the AD Db. We can do all manner of things as described in the first and second paragraphs.


When you are done with all the activities with AD Explorer, you can exit the application as shown below.


Note: Extreme care needs to be taken when working with Active Directory Explorer, just the same way it is when working with the Registry Edit. This is a great tool that enables you to make changes directly to the Active Directory database. Among other things, it allows you to search the containers, create new objects; copy, rename or delete objects.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. Now, you have learned how to use Active Directory Explorer from SysInternals. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

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