Home > Articles > Certification > Microsoft Certification

Administering Computer Accounts and Resources in Active Directory

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Terms you'll need to understand:

  • U2713.GIF Domains
  • U2713.GIF Domain Trees
  • U2713.GIF Domain Forests
  • U2713.GIF Computer accounts
  • U2713.GIF Run As feature
  • U2713.GIF Globally unique identifiers (GUIDs)
  • U2713.GIF Organizational units (OUs)
  • U2713.GIF Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0
  • U2713.GIF Active Directory Users and Computers console

Techniques you'll need to master:

  • U2713.GIF Adding and removing computer accounts
  • U2713.GIF Prestaging computer accounts
  • U2713.GIF Using command-line tools for modifying Active Directory objects
  • U2713.GIF Using the Action Pane in the MMC 3.0
  • U2713.GIF Enabling full functionality for MMC 3.0
  • U2713.GIF Managing resources using the Run As command

Microsoft introduced Active Directory with the debut of Windows 2000 Server in February 2000. Active Directory provides a directory service for Microsoft-based networks in the same way that Novell Directory Services (NDS) provides a directory service for NetWare environments. For Windows Server 2003, Microsoft enhanced and refined Active Directory by making the directory service more flexible, more scalable, and more manageable than its Windows 2000 predecessor. Active Directory is a vital element in Windows Server 2003, and its many benefits can offer a compelling reason to upgrade, especially if you are coming from a Windows NT Server environment.

Understanding how to manage objects within Active Directory is critical for a successful deployment and reliable day-to-day operations of a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory–based network. In this chapter, we introduce you to Active Directory for Windows Server 2003. You'll discover how to add, remove, and manage computer accounts in Active Directory. Unfortunately, network administration doesn't always go smoothly, so you'll also learn about how to troubleshoot computer accounts in Windows Server 2003 and Active Directory.

Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) on March 2004, as a major update. In December 2005, Microsoft published the R2 (Release 2) Edition of Windows Server 2003, in 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions. This chapter and this book covers all of these different permutations of the Windows Server 2003 operating system—the original Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version, SP1, and R2 in both the 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) flavors. The functionality and features covered in this book apply to all of these editions, except where noted.

Introduction to Active Directory

The many improvements to Active Directory encompass some of the major feature enhancements of Windows Server 2003. Active Directory is a replicated and distributed database that stores computer-related information such as usernames, passwords, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, group names, and computer names, to name a few. Active Directory is called a directory service because it provides users and computers with the ability to look up information in a similar way that you look up information using a telephone book directory.

Special servers called domain controllers (DCs) are designated to store a copy of the Active Directory database, and these DCs are responsible for synchronizing the Active Directory database with all of the other DCs that share the database. Server computers, as well as workstation computers that are members of an Active Directory domain, perform several Active Directory queries (or lookups) in their day-to-day operations. For example, Active Directory domain-member computers need to know where nearby DCs are for authentication purposes.

Active Directory is based on open, Internet-related standards, such as the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), the Domain Name System (DNS), the Kerberos authentication protocol, and the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), among many others. In fact, you cannot install Active Directory without TCP/IP and DNS installed and functioning within the network environment. You must name Active Directory domains using a full DNS name such as examcram2.informit.com.

Domains, Domain Trees, and Domain Forests

A Windows Server 2003 computer (or a Windows 2000 Server computer) becomes a DC when an administrator runs the Active Directory Installation Wizard. You can run the wizard by clicking Start, Run; typing dcpromo.exe; and clicking OK. This process promotes a server to a DC. The wizard makes several changes to the server computer to prepare it to become a DC. One of the major changes is the creation of the Active Directory database file itself. This file is named ntds.dit, and it must reside on a hard disk partition or volume that is formatted as NTFS. The default location for the ntds.dit file is the %systemroot%\ntds folder (for example, c:\windows\ntds).

The very first Windows Server 2003 (or Windows 2000 Server) DC that you promote creates the root domain. For example, if you promote a DC and name the domain examcram2.net, this domain becomes the root domain within the new Active Directory forest. The basic logical components of Active Directory are as follows:

  • Domain—One or more DC servers and a group of users and computers that share the same Active Directory database for authentication and can share common server resources.
  • Domain Tree—One or more Active Directory domains that share a common hierarchical DNS namespace (parent-child-grandchild and so on). For example, examcram2.net could be the parent domain, northamerica.examcram2.net could be the child domain, us.northamerica.examcram2.net could be the grandchild domain, and so on.
  • Domain Forest—One or more Active Directory domain trees (each tree has its own DNS namespace) that share the same Active Directory database. An Active Directory forest is a logical container for one or more related domains.

No Primary or Backup Domain Controllers

Windows NT Server 3.5x and Windows NT Server 4.0 used the concept of one primary DC (PDC) and backup DCs (BDCs), where only one of the DCs could act as the PDC at any one time. The PDC stores the read/write copy of the security accounts manager (SAM) database, whereas each BDC stores a read-only copy of the SAM database. Instead, Active Directory uses a technique called multimaster replication to distribute copies of the Active Directory database to all other DCs that share the same Active Directory namespace. This replication technology means that administrators can make additions, changes, or deletions to the Active Directory database from any DC, and those modifications get synchronized with all of the other DCs within an Active Directory domain and the GCs within the entire AD forest. Active Directory assigns the role of PDC Emulator to the first DC to come online in an Active Directory forest. The DC that has the PDC Emulator role can communicate between Active Directory and down-level PDCs and BDCs running on Windows NT Server 3.5x and Windows NT Server 4.0.

Organizational Units

To improve network administration, Microsoft created organizational units (OUs) to provide for logical groupings of users, groups, computers, and other objects within a single domain. You can delegate administrative authority over each OU to other administrators for distributing network-management chores. The delegated authority can be limited in scope, if necessary, so that you can grant junior administrators just specific administrative powers—not complete administrator-level authority. In addition, you can apply specific group policy object (GPO) settings at the OU level, allowing users and computers to be managed differently according to the OU in which they are placed.

The Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

The MMC is the standard interface for hosting all of the various GUI tools and utilities that administrators use to manage the Windows and Active Directory environments. The MMC is a shell that houses MMC snap-ins—the snap-ins actually provide the functionality. The MMC provides a consistent and standardized look and feel for all the snap-in tools. MMC snap-in files use the file extension .msc. You can see several of the default snap-ins if you browse the %systemroot%\system32 folder on a Windows Server 2003 computer.

For example, on a domain controller, you can run the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) snap-in by double-clicking the dsa.msc file in the %systemroot%\system32 folder. Alternatively, you can run the ADUC snap-in by clicking Start, Run, typing in dsa.msc, and clicking OK. You must include the .msc file extension for the snap-in to run. You also have the option of clicking Start, Run, typing in mmc, and clicking OK to display an empty console; you can then click File, Add/Remove Snap-in to load the snap-in(s) of your choice.

MMC 3.0

ICON TYPE When you upgrade Windows Server 2003 to the R2 Edition, the MMC gets upgraded to version 3.0 automatically. The MMC 3.0 sports three major improvements over its previous versions:

  • The Action pane—The Action pane is displayed on the right side of the console when it is not hidden. (It is usually hidden by default on most snap-ins.) The Show/Hide Action Pane toolbar icon shown in Figure 2.1 is similar to the Show/Hide Console Tree toolbar icon. The Action pane displays the actions that can be performed on the currently selected item in the console tree (left pane) or in the results pane (center pane). You can view the same list of actions by right-clicking an item.
    Figure 2.1

    Figure 2.1 A view of the Action pane for the ADUC snap-in under MMC 3.0 and Windows Server 2003 R2.

  • Enhanced Error Handling—MMC 3.0 notifies you when errors occur within loaded snap-ins that could cause the MMC shell to stop responding. When the MMC 3.0 detects an error, it offers you some options to deal with the error.
  • Improved Add or Remove Snap-in dialog box—The redesigned Add or Remove Snap-in dialog box for the MMC 3.0 makes it easier to add, remove, and organize snap-ins (see Figure 2.2).
    Figure 2.2

    Figure 2.2 The Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box under MMC 3.0 and Windows Server 2003 R2.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020