Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC): Installation and Uses

Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) is a Microsoft Management Console snap-in that you use to administer Active Directory (AD). You can manage objects (users, computers), Organizational Units (OU), and attributes of each.

ADUC is one of the many tools that you can use to administer AD, but since it has been around since Windows 2000, it is one of the most popular. Read on to see how to run and use ADUC to manage AD.

How Do I Add Active Directory Users and Computers?

Some of you might have already looked for ADUC on your laptop to discover that it’s not there. It’s not part of the default installation, and how you get it installed depends on your version of Windows.

In current versions of Windows, ADUC is part of an administrative suite of tools called Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT).

Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT)

In an October 2018 update, Microsoft moved all of the Active Directory administration tools to a ‘feature on demand’ called RSAT. Attackers use whatever they can for privilege escalations and exfiltrationThey don’t need RSAT to do major damage to your network, but it sure makes it easier! If an attacker got hold of a computer with ADUC installed, they could just change passwords and access rights at will. That would be very bad.

Anyway, if you want to access ADUC on your computer, you need to install RSAT. ADUC is not part of the default installation for any Windows version. Follow the instructions below to install:

Installing ADUC for Windows 10 Version 1809 and Above

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings > Apps.
  2. Click the hyperlink on the right side labeled Manage Optional Features and then click the button to Add feature.
  3. Select RSAT: Active Directory Domain Services and Lightweight Directory Tools.
  4. Click Install.
  5. When the installation completes, you will have a new menu item in the start menu called Windows Administrative Tools.

Installing ADUC for Windows 8 and Windows 10 Version 1803 and Below

  1. Download and install Remote Server Administrator Tools depending on your version of Windows. The link is for Windows 10, other versions are available in the Microsoft Download Center.
  2. Click the Start button and select Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off.
  3. Scroll down the list and expand Remote Server Administration Tools.
  4. Expand Role Administration Tools.
  5. Expand AD DS and AD LDS Tools.
  6. Check AD DS Tools, then select “OK.”
  7. When the install completes you will have a folder for Administrative Tools on the Start menu. ADUC should be in this list.

Troubleshooting RSAT Installation

There are two common installation issues to check if something goes sideways and you can’t get RSAT installed. First, check that you have enabled Windows Firewall. RSAT uses the Windows Update backend and thus needs Windows Firewall enabled.

Sometimes after the install, you might be missing tabs and such. Uninstall and reinstall. You might have had an older version and the update didn’t work 100%. You can also right click on ADUC in the Start menu and verify the shortcut is pointing to %SystemRoot%\system32\dsa.msc. If it doesn’t point there then you need to uninstall and reinstall for sure.

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