An Active Directory management solution for everyone

Directory Outgroup

Always Welcome to the Dashboard

The Home view in the dashboard welcomes users every time they log on to ADManager (Figure 1) with a summary of the most important key domain data. At this point, IT managers can see the number of users in their own AD or the number of workstations in use and might believe that these are the latest figures. However, the numbers are not always up to date.

When we deleted objects such as user accounts during our test, it took a few minutes for ADManager to display the updated figures. The small update buttons you will find almost everywhere trigger the update. The information content is very high, as it is in other places in the solution. Of course, software appearance is always a matter of taste, but the moving Buy Now button at the top of the menus simply reminded us too much of the early days of the Internet.

The software more than compensates for its lack of style in terms of functionality. Logged in as an administrator, users can access the full set of commands directly from the web interface, from creating new users and computers, composing groups, and moving root to adjusting mail settings for Exchange servers. However, delegation of tasks is a core function of the software. In the simplest case, a user with administrative authorization selects an existing account in AD and assigns a help desk role to it in the AD Delegation tab.

This role contains several templates that the administrator uses to determine which attributes and commands HR employees, support employees, or technical staff can use. Fortunately, the ADManager developers adhere to the good style of delivering the software with ready-made roles and templates that serve as models for new projects.

Winner in Daily Business

Microsoft's built-in dialogs for AD have grown dear to IT staff over the years, but they are not particularly practical. Even people who want to be friendly about it are likely to consider the tabs for the user settings rather distinctive. In comparison, ADManager is far more convenient. For example, when it comes to defining login names, the software typically suggests a first name-last name model, which admins can customize according to their preferences. However, IT managers can easily map far stranger constructions with ADManager: Automatic replacement of non-standard characters, removal of unwanted spaces and dots, or incrementing an appended number, even with leading zeros to avoid duplicate logon names – all were easily accomplished in our lab with the software. In practice, you can also create users or lock computers from iPad or iPhone apps if the mobile devices can access the server directly on the WiFi network (Figure 2).

Figure 2: If it has to be fast, the administrator can access the app on their iPhone and create a user in the AD.

A very useful bulk management solution is also at hand: If you want to create several accounts at once or reset the passwords for a whole group of users at the same time, it is intuitively possible with the program. All the functions are largely self-explanatory, and even in single-step workflows, ADManager often offers the possibility of adding an intermediate step. For example, if the administrator notices that they need an organizational unit for new users when loading 20 user accounts from a CSV import, they can branch off to do so in the meantime.

In the Automation tab, administrators can create a User_Exit process with just a few mouse clicks. If someone has not logged in for 30 days, their user account is automatically set to Disabled or removed from a group. ADManager comes with this simple but useful workflow function for simple but regular processes. Once you have converted your processes into computer-readable processes in this way, it is easy for the service desk to carry out these steps securely and quickly. In the depths of the settings, you will find everything you need for your daily work, such as what the policy for deleting a user object should look like: Should the software permanently delete the mailbox in Exchange or should it run another user-defined script? This is determined by the task owner at the click of a mouse.

The software inspires admins with its smart strategies: Anyone who has worked in user management on a regular basis knows that subsequent changes can occur with some time lag. The overview of Recently password changed users report makes it very easy to find these accounts.

The integrated workflow function in ADManager Professional also supports basic mapping of change management steps. With a single mouse click, the administrator determines how the software interprets the deletion of a user. The administrator also uses ADManager to manage delivery options with ease for Microsoft Exchange.

Superior Reporting

As far as creating reports and overviews is concerned, ADManager provides everything that Microsoft's on-board resources tend to output in a tabular form. Even administrators who otherwise tend to limit themselves to the bare figures and technical details should be happy. The program evaluates all conceivable information in AD in such a way that it always answers the most unusual questions that your superiors might have.

The best examples of this are Recently deleted users , Users in more than one Group , Users without logon script , or Users never logged on . ADManager is not limited to the 32 reports for user objects; it continues with segments Password, Groups, Computer, Exchange, Contacts, GRO, OE, NTFS, Security, Office 365, and Conformance reports in similar detail.

By default, the software selects the usual default values, such as for one week . With a few mouse clicks, the IT professional or technical staff can limit the evaluation to specific organizational units. The software exports the results of the evaluations in CSV, Excel, HTML, and PDF formats, and the administrator can also have reports mailed regularly on request.

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