The Internet is full of free Active Directory tools out there. Some are worthwhile, some arent.
I kind of like it when companies provide free tools. Of course, they do it to increase brand awareness for their pay tools.
But thats okay by me if the tools work and do some magic that would be hard for me to do on my own, without looking up commands, functions, and tons of documentation with lots of steps.
My friends at ManageEngine offer a package suite of free AD tools called ADManager Plus. Most of these tools center around the objective of simplicity. They take cumbersome or annoying AD tasks and make them simple and straightforward. All of the tools in ADManager Plus are based on Powershell cmdlets. This requires PowerShell to be installed on the machine where these tools are run. Most of the tools list the PowerShell cmdlet the tool is based on if you prefer to simply use PowerShell. The entire suite installs in less than a minute and very intuitive to use right from the get-go.
Lets take a look at three tools in their set. The set can be downloaded here.
Note: It should be noted that ManageEngine does advertise on GPanswers.com, but this is an independent and hopefully un-biased review. Besides, these are free tools. How can you go wrong?
Domain Controller Roles Reporter
The first free tool is their Domain Controller Roles Reporter. We all know the traditional but complex process of opening up three separate AD tools (AD Users and Computers, AD Schema and AD Domains and Trust) to figure out which DCs host the five operation master roles as well as which servers act as global catalog servers. Instead of utilizing multiple tools, Domain Controller Roles Reporter lists each DC in your AD structure as well as their assigned roles; all in one easy to view list. Imagine obtaining all of your DC roles in less than a minute. That is easily obtainable with this tool. Although my demonstration domain consists of only one domain controller, you can get the drift of this easy-to-use utility in the screen shot below.
Active Directory Replication Manager
Another great simplifying tool is their AD Replication Manager.
Any domain administrator knows the rigmarole of using AD Sites and Services to replicate designated DCs within their domain structure. Again, ManageEngine offers you a simple design in this utility. With the single click of a mouse, one can replicate all of the DCs within your domain or even forest. It will even allow you the ability to replicate any two DCs of your choosing whether they are assigned as AD Connectors or not. Each of these capabilities is illustrated in the screenshost below.
Last Logon Reporter
The Last Logon Reporter may be the standout of the bunch.
Every administrator has been asked at some point within an organization about when the last time a particular employee logged onto the network.
In an AD environment consisting of many domain controllers, this can be a time consuming task. Just trying to find which domain controller the user last logged onto is a time consuming enough. Once again, ManageEngine provides a one stop utility that allows you the ability to retrieve the information you need quickly and efficiently. Below is a demonstration of the simple two-step process that provides you with the last logon time for any user in your domain.
Terminal Session Manager
How many times have you attempted to use the Windows RDP client to connect to a remote server, only to be informed that the server has exceeded the maximum number of allowed connections. You then had to access the terminal services manager for that server from another machine in order to log the sessions off.
ManageEngines Terminal Session Manager will search your network for remote sessions and list them all, again in one viewable list. You can then obtain information concerning any of these sessions and either disconnect them or log them off. This two-step process is outlined below.
Believe it or not, weve barely scratched the surface in covering all of the great applications that make up the ADManager Plus suite.
Other tools include a Password Policy Manager, a Local User Management utility and a DC Monitoring utility. Other applications help identify AD object name duplicates, empty passwords and we still havent covered them all. ADManage Plus may be free, but it offers definite value to the network administrator today who will find at least one of these tools a fantastic addition to their network administrator tool belt.
Hope you like the tool roundup !