DSQuery USer Command Line Tool for Active Directory

DSquery Built-in Tool for Windows Server 2003/8

One of the most useful DS commands is DSQuery User.  If I need to find a user quickly from the command prompt, I call upon DSQuery.

DSQuery User


Example 1: DS Query User To Find All Users in the Default Users folder

In this example we just want to search the users folder and list the people accounts in that default container.

dsquery user cn=users,dc=YourDomain,dc=com

Learning Points

Note 1:  The default users’ folder is actually a container object called cn=users.  My point is if you try ou=users, the command fails.

Note 2:  I queried users, however dsquery requires the singular user, not userS.  Other objects that you can query are computer (not computers!), group or even contact.

Challenge 1:  Substitute OU=xyz for cn=users, where xyz is the name of your OU.  Unfortunately, cn=users domainroot does not work.

Challenge 2:  Substitute "computer" for "user".

Guy Recommends:  SolarWinds’ Free Bulk Import ToolFree Download Solarwinds Bulk Import Tool

Import users from a spreadsheet.  Just provide a list of the users with their fields in the top row, and save as .csv file.  Then launch this FREE utility and match your fields with AD’s attributes, click and import the users.

Optionally, you can provide the name of the OU where the new accounts will be born. Download your FREE bulk import tool.

If you need more comprehensive software, download a free trial of SAM (Server & Application Monitor)

Example 2:  DSQuery User to Find Everyone Whose Name Begins with Smith*

This DSQuery example shows two ways to filter your output and so home in on what you are looking for.  Let us pretend that we know the user’s name but have no idea which OU they are to be found.  Moreover, we are not sure whether their name is spelt Smith, Smithy or Smithye.

dsquery user domainroot -name smith*


dsquery user dc=YourDomain,dc=com -name smith*

or plain:

dsquery user smith*

Learning Points

Note 1:  Remember to type the singular user.

Note 2:  Probably no need to introduce *, you probably realize it’s a wildcard.

Note 3:  -name is but one of a family of filters. -desc or -disabled are others.

Engineer's Toolset v10Guy Recommends: SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset v10

This Engineer’s Toolset v10 provides a comprehensive console of 50 utilities for troubleshooting computer problems.  Guy says it helps me monitor what’s occurring on the network, and each tool teaches me more about how the underlying system operates.

There are so many good gadgets; it’s like having free rein of a sweetshop.  Thankfully the utilities are displayed logically: monitoring, network discovery, diagnostic, and Cisco tools.  Try the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset now!

Download your fully functional trial copy of the Engineer’s Toolset v10

Example 3: DSQuery User – Filter the Output with -o rdn

The purpose of -o rdn is to reduce the output to just the relative distinguished name.  In a nutshell rdn strips away the OU=, DC= part which you may not be interested in.

dsquery user -name smith* -o rdn

Learning Points

Note 1:  o is the letter oh (not a number).  In my minds eye o stands for output.

Note 2:  There is a switch -o dn, but this is not a switch I use. 

Summary – DSQuery User

Knowledge is power.  The DS family in general and DSQuery user in particular, provide handy commands for interrogating Active Directory from the command line.  Next try DSGet.

If you like this page then please share it with your friends


See more of the DS family of built-in Active Directory utilities

DSQuery   • DSQuery User   • DSQuery Group    • Free Import CSV Tool

• DSGet – List the properties of an object   • DS Commands   • WSH – Create a user

• DSMod – Modify Active Directory attributes    • DSAdd – Create new accounts