PowerShell Basics: Get-AdUser -Filter with Code Examples

PowerShell Basics_ Get-AdUser -Filter with Code Examples

Windows PowerShell Get-AdUser -Filter

The secret of getting the Get-AdUser cmdlet working is to master the -Filter parameter.  Classic jobs are finding out details about one user, or retreiving the bare facts of lots of users.

If you are new to PowerShell’s AdUser cmdlets you may like to save frustration and check the basics of Get-AdUser.

Topics PowerShell Get-AdUser -Filter

Preparation: Checklist for Get-AdUser

a) Logon: At a Domain Controller
b) Find: Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell
c) Launch: The PowerShell executable
d) Run: Import-Module activedirectory

Note 1: Optionally, you can install the ISE version, and Set-ExecutionPolicy -remotelySigned.  It is also possible, but fiddly to install the Active Directory Module on a member server.

# PowerShell Check for Active Directory Services
Get-Service ad*

Example 1: Get-AdUser -Filter

Technically, this Ad family of cmlets use syntax from PowerShell’s expression language. My explaination is you need an LDAP property for example, Name, a comparator such as -Like, and finally a value.

# PowerShell AdUser example to find test users
Get-AdUser -Filter 'name -Like "Test*" '

These three components (LDAP property, comparator and value) make for complex syntax, and this is why we need particular brackets and speech marks.  Indeed, if you focus on the job of the syntactic elements then you will soon master Get-AdUser -Filter.

Note 2:  Get-AdUser can take alternative parameters to -Filter, for example, -identity, -searchbase or -LDAPFilter.

Note 3:  As a conservative estimate there are 10 possible LDAP values, 6 comparators, and say, 10 values, that makes 600 different uses of Get-AdUser -Filter.

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Example 2: Get-AdUser -Filter {Complex and with brackets}

I suggest that you compare and contrast examples 1 and 2.  Firstly, see how the ‘single’ speech marks are replaced with {curly} brackets.  My point is you can use either, but you must have one.  Secondly, observe how you can combine two conditions to build complex queries.  (Name starts with Ben, and Surname is Thomas)

# PowerShell AdUser -Filter example to find Ben* Thomas
Get-ADUser -Filter {(Name -Like "Ben*") -And (Surname -eq "Thomas")}

Example 3: Get-AdUser -LDAPfilter

Here is an example to list all the users in an organizational unit called ‘Raglan’. This script uses the -LDAPfilter parameter.

# Get-AdUser cmdlet
Get-ADUser -LDAPfilter '(name=*)' `
-searchBase {OU=Raglan,DC=burrium,DC=usk} | Ft Name, Surname -a

Note 4: Observe how LDAPfilter uses the form ‘Name=*’ and not ‘Name -eq*.

Note 5: It’s -searchBase that filters the Active Directory container, in this case an OU object called ‘Raglan’.

Note 6: Ft (Format-Table) just controls the output, you could add other properties such as EmailAddress.

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Research Get-AdUser With Get-Help -full

This is how I discovered about the -LDAPfilter and other parameters.

Get-Help Get-ADUser -full

Similar Active Directory Cmdlets

Once you have mastered Get-AdUser, you may wish to know more about Set-AdUser or Get-AdComputer.  To obtain a comprehensive list of the AD cmdlets try this command:

Get-Command -Noun ad*

Amongst the results you should see:

  • Add-AdGroupmember
  • Enable-AdAccount
  • Get-AdComputer
  • Move-AdComputer
  • New-AdUser
  • Set-AdUser
  • Remove-AdGroup
  • UnLock-AdAccount

Note 7: Naturally, you will also see these verbs and nouns in other combinations.

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Troubleshooting PowerShell’s Get-AdUser

Firstly make sure that you are using Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell.  Check with Get-Module.

Secondly, to research Get-AdUser call for Get-Help, and then examine syntax and study the examples.

# PowerShell Active Directory Syntax
Get-Help Get-AdUser -full

See also QED User »

Summary of PowerShell Get-AdUser

On its own Get-AdUser is impotent; it needs the -Filter parameter.  The more you learn about this query language, the more precise your results from this and similar Active Directory cmdlets.

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See more PowerShell Active Directory Cmdlets

PowerShell Home  • Get-AdUser -filter  • Get-AdUser  • New-AdUser  • Get-AdComputer

Export-CSV  • Import CSV  • PowerShell Active Directory  • New-AdComputer

PowerShell Codeplex  • PowerShell Ad Cmdlets  • Free Import User CSVDE Tool

Please email me if you have a better example script. Also please report any factual mistakes, grammatical errors or broken links, I will be happy to correct the fault.