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For experienced IT administrators, Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) is the go-to tool for AD management. In Windows Server 2008 R2 and higher, Microsoft offers a tool called the Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC) to help admins perform typical AD actions. Unlike the ADUC console, it is designed as a graphical interface on top of Windows PowerShell, which means every time an action is carried out using the ADAC, Windows PowerShell cmdlets are executed in the background.
The ADAC is equipped with enhanced management experience features aiming to ease the administrative burden of managing multiple domains across the forest. One of the features that is not available in ADUC but is included in the ADAC is the option search for a user and reset passwords instantly in one go. You can also use the Global Search option to search for any object in the domain.
Another advantage is that while creating users in the ADAC, you can configure all the properties of a user in one go, which makes the user creation process a lot quicker. The AD user attributes that administrators modify often are arranged in an easily accessible manner, which makes it ideal for addressing help desk tickets. All the recently accessed objects are displayed, so you don?t have to search for them again.
The ADAC in Windows Server 2012 introduced the following features:
Active Directory Recycle Bin: This feature that enables you to restore deleted objects was first introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2. In the versions earlier than Windows Server 2012, the Recycle Bin was accessible only from the command line using PowerShell. Now you can enable the Recycle Bin from a graphical user interface in the ADAC.
Note: Ensure that the forest is running at the Windows Server 2008 R2 function level or higher, that there's at least one Windows Server 2012 domain controller in the domain, and that the rest of the DCs in the domain are running Windows Server 2008 R2 or higher.
Fine-grained password policy: In the earlier versions, it was only possible to configure fine-grained password policies from the command line. However, you can now configure fine-grained password policies through Windows Server 2012?s ADAC interface.
Note: The domain should be functioning on Windows Server 2008 or higher.
Windows PowerShell History Viewer: You can see all actions carried out using ADAC as PowerShell commands. Since the audit trail is accessible, it can be useful during troubleshooting.
While the ADAC is certainly a cut above ADUC, there is still scope for improvement. What IT administrators need is a simple, unified solution for all their Active Directory needs.
ADManager Plus is an integrated AD, Exchange Server, Microsoft 365, Skype for Business (Lync), and Google Workspace management and reporting solution. This tool allows you to securely delegate OU- and group-based AD tasks to help desk technicians. It also offers customizable workflows to help you streamline and monitor the execution of AD tasks, and automate critical tasks and routines.