How To Install & Use Active Directory Users And Computers (DSA.msc) Snap-In On Windows 11/10

RSAT Active Directory Users and Computers Windows 10 11RSAT Active Directory Users and Computers Windows 10 11

Any Windows Server administrator must have used the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) Microsoft Management Console on a Domain Controller (DC). Using this console, you can control and manage users, user groups, computers, and the Organizational Units (OUs) in the domain.

The ADUC console is no longer limited to servers anymore. You can install the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in on a Windows 11 or Windows 10 computer as well, which performs the same functions as the original Server console. This snap-in is part of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows operating systems.

We have written separate posts for installing any RSAT tools on Windows 11 and Windows 10. This article focuses on installing specifically the Active Directory Users and computers snap-in on a Windows PC and then using it to manage your domain.

How to Install Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) on Windows

All RSAT tools, including the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, allow you to manage the different Active Directory components as if you are on the server itself. This way, you do not always have to access the server, neither physically nor remotely, to perform an action.

You can download and install the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in using the Settings app, from the Command Prompt, and Windows PowerShell.

Note: On Windows 10 v1803 and older, you must download and install all RSAT tools using the MSI files . You can find the MSI files for your version of Windows here.

Install Active Directory Users and Computers from Settings App

The easiest way to install the ADUC snap-in on a Windows PC is from the settings app. It does involve more steps than the other methods shared below, but this is the only method using the Windows GUI.

Use these steps to install the ADUC snap-in from the Settings app:

  1. Navigate to the following:

    Settings app >> Apps >> Optional Features
  2. Click “View features.”

    Add an optional feature
    Add an optional feature
  3. Search for “Active Directory,” select “RSAT: Active Directory Domain Services and Lightweight Directory Services Tools,” and click Next.

    Select Active Directory Users and Computers
    Select Active Directory Users and Computers
  4. Click “Install.”

    Install Active Directory Users and Computers from the Settings app 1
    Install Active Directory Users and Computers from the Settings app
  5. Once installed, restart the computer.

The Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in will now be installed. If you prefer installing it using the command line, refer to the sections below. To learn how to use the snap-in, continue reading down.

Install Active Directory Users and Computers from Command Prompt

Below are the simple steps to install Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in using the Command Prompt:

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt instance.

  2. Run the following command:

    DISM /Online /Add-Capability /CapabilityName:Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools~~~~0.0.1.0
    Install Active Directory Users and Computers snap in using Command Prompt
    Install Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in using Command Prompt

The ADUC snap-in should now be installed. Run the following command in Command Prompt to confirm that the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in has been installed:

DISM.exe /Online /Get-CapabilityInfo /CapabilityName:Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools~~~~0.0.1.0
Confirm ADUC installation from Command Prompt
Confirm ADUC installation from Command Prompt

You should see “Installed” in front of Status.

Install Active Directory Users and Computers from PowerShell

Use the following steps to install the Active Directory Users and Computer snap-in using PowerShell:

  1. Launch an elevated PowerShell instance.

  2. Run the following command to install ADUC:

    Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools~~~~0.0.1.0
    Install Active Directory Users and Computers snap in using PowerShell
    Install Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in using PowerShell

The ADUC snap-in should now be installed. To confirm its status, run the following command in PowerShell:

Get-WindowsCapability -Online | Where-Object {$_.Name -like "RSAT.ActiveDirectory*"}
Confirm ADUC installation from PowerShell
Confirm ADUC installation from PowerShell

You should see “Installed” in front of State.

These are all the methods to install the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in on a Windows 11/10 PC. Let us now continue to see how to use this tool.

How to Use Active Directory Users and Computers

How to Open Active Directory Users and Computers Snap-In

Now that Active Directory Users and Computers is installed, you can open it by searching for it in the Start menu, or running the following in the Run Command box:

dsa.msc
Open Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in from Run Command box
Open Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in from the Run Command box

Alternatively, you can also open the ADUC snap-in through the Control Panel at the following location:

Control Panel >> System and Security >> Windows Tools
Open ADUC snap in from Control Panel
Open ADUC snap-in from Control Panel

If your computer is connected to a domain and you are logged in from an authorized domain account, then the ADUC snap-in will automatically connect to the server. However, if one is not connected, then you must connect to the Domain Controller.

Connect ADUC to Domain Controller

Use these steps to connect to a Domain Controller. You can also use these to change your domain/Domain Controller.

  1. From the ADUC console, click “Action,” and then click “Change Domain Controller.”

    Change or connect to Domain Controller
    Change or connect to Domain Controller

    The Change Directory Server window will now open.

  2. Select the “This Domain Controller or AD LDS instance” radio button, then select the Domain Controller from the give list and click Ok.

    Select and connect to Domain Controller
    Select and connect to Domain Controller

The ADUC will now connect to the Domain Controller and populate the fields.

Active Directory Users and Computers snap in successfully conected to Domain Controller
Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in successfully connected to Domain Controller

Now that you are connected to the Domain Controller, you can now begin making changes and managing the different components of the domain.

Manage Users, Computers, Organizational Unit using ADUC

Add new computer users OUs using ADUC snap in
Add new computers, users, OUs using ADUC snap-in

You can now begin adding new users, computers, printers, and Organizational Units to the domain. Simply right-click on the OU that you want to add the new device/user to, expand “New”, and select the element that you want to add.

Once you have selected the element to add, the respective window will open, where you can then configure the component to add.

You can now also use other operators to manage the users, devices, and other elements configured inside the domain directly from your Windows PC.

Additionally, you can also manage what you see inside the snap-in. Click “View” from the top menu and select the things that you want to see. You can then also click “Filter options” to open the advanced viewing options.

Change view options
Change view options

The list does not end here. There are a bunch of other management options you can perform directly from the ADUC snap-in on a Windows PC. We suggest that you play around to discover all the options. However, we advise caution and only use the console if you know what you are doing.

What is Active Directory Users and Computers Used For

By now, we have a pretty good understanding of what the ADUC snap-in can be used for. However, there is more to it than meets the eye. The Active Directory Users and Computers RSAT tool can be used to perform the following actions:

  • Create and manage user accounts, computers, and Active Directory groups.
  • View and edit AD object attributes with ADSI Edit.
  • Search for AD objects.
  • Change or reset user password in Active Directory.
  • Create organizational units and build hierarchical structures for AD objects. You can also delegate administrative permission on these OUs to other domain users.
  • Delegate administrative permissions.
  • Raise domain functional level, and transfer FSMO roles with PowerShell to another domain controller.

From this, it is understood how useful the ADUC snap-in is for administrators that use Windows client PCs.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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