Checking which OU a computer is in (or the expected domain)

If you have a complex computer environment (typical of large companies, but true elsewhere I’m sure), then you probably have multiple Active Directory Organizational Units (OUs). If you have multiple ConfigMgr hierarchies, you may intend that certain clients go into certain OUs, each corresponding to the relevant OU (and then apply GPOs to get the clients into the right hierarchies). Or maybe clients end up in the wrong OUs by accident. In such cases client health problems could boil down to confirming that computers are in the right OU. Or if they’re not in any OU of the intended domain then you have another problem, though with similar effect. Thus checking the OU of a computer, or bunch of computers, can often help to you understand why you’re missing expected clients.

So how do you check the OU of the computer(s)? There’s plenty of ways, including scripts (amongst my favorite), but sometimes a command line solution is the best bet. It’s quick and easy. In that case, you might create a batch file to run the following command, taking the computer name (or computer name pattern, as here) as a parameter.

ldifde -f computers.ldf –s <> -d "dc=domain,dc=company,dc=com" -r "(&(objectCategory=computer)(cn=<computer_name_pattern>*))" -l cn,ou

You won’t need the “-s” parameter if the “-d” domain is the same as the one that the computer you’re running the command on is joined to. The CN can be a specific computer name or a pattern (with “*” for the wildcard), though the command is much faster on a large domain where you know the first part of the computer name at least.

LDIFDE has plenty of articles on the internet so it’s easy to find examples for similar problems, or the details on how to figure it out for yourself. LDIFDE is available on domain controllers, but you can also install an ‘AD lite’ on any Windows Server 2008 R2 server (and others?) by adding the “Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services” role (which doesn’t make it into a domain controller). Or you can grab the relevant files and use them on Windows 7 (I did that long ago, and thus forget the details).

p.s. Sorry to my Facebook friends who would rather not be spammed on such topics. I’m trying to figure out how to disconnect my blog from Facebook (it got linked long ago).

Published Monday, November 22, 2010 9:33 PM by pthomsen


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