Tag Archives: Ambiguous Name Resolution

Active Directory Friday: Find empty Organizational Unit

As an Active Directory Administrator there are some moments, few and far in between where you might have a moment to yourself. In this article I will give you a short line of code so you can use this moment to find out if you have any empty Organizational Units in your domain. The definition of empty is an OU that does not contain any child objects. By this definition an OU containing another OU would not be considered empty. Because there is no LDAP filter for this we will take a look at how to do this using the Cmdlets and the [adsisearcher] type accelerator.

In the following example I will use Get-ADOrganizationalUnit in combination with an if-statement and Get-ADObject to gather empty OUs:

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Get-ADOrganizationalUnit -Filter * | ForEach-Object {
	   if (-not (Get-ADObject -SearchBase $_ -SearchScope OneLevel -Filter * )) {
      		$_
   	}
}

So lets have a look at what this code does, the first portion is straight forward, gather all OUs using the Get-ADOrganizationalUnit cmdlet and pipe it into the ForEach-Object cmdlet. The if-statement is the interesting part here, I am using the Get-ADObject cmdlet to establish if this OU contains any child object, by setting the SearchBase to that OU and setting the SearchScope to OneLevel. Setting the SearchScope to OneLevel will only return direct child objects of the parent, the OU, without returning the OU itself. Because of this Get-ADObject will not return any objects if the OU is empty.

For more information about the SearchScope parameter and the possible arguments have a look at the following link: Specifying the Search Scope

Because you might not have the ActiveDirectory module loaded in your current PowerShell session it can be useful to know the [adsisearcher] alternative:

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([adsisearcher]'(objectcategory=organizationalunit)').FindAll() | Where-Object {
   -not (-join $_.GetDirectoryEntry().psbase.children) }

This is a slightly different approach to illustrate a different method of gathering empty OUs, here we check the Children property part of the base object that is retrieved. The -join operator is used to ensure the -not does not evaluate the empty System.DirectoryServices.DirectoryEntries object as true.

Using the logic in this post it is also possible to filter for other specific objects contained in the OUs. For example display OUs that only have user objects, display OUs with both user and computer objects and so on.

For more information on this subject please refer to the following links:

Additional resources
Specifying the Search Scope
Get-ADObject
Get-ADOrganizationalUnit

Active Directory Friday: Use the ANR filter for LDAP Queries

ANR or Ambiguous Name Resolution is used to query for objects in Active Directory if the exact identity of an object is not known. A query containing Ambigious Name Resolution will query for all the attributes for example, Given Name, Sur Name, Display Name and samaccountname. For Windows Server 2008 and later versions this is the full list of ANR Attributes included in the search results:

For a full list of all the attributes that are queried please refer to the following TechNet article: ANR Attributes.

  • Display-Name
  • Given-Name
  • Physical-Delivery-Office-Name
  • Proxy-Addresses
  • RDN
  • SAM-Account-Name
  • Surname
  • Legacy-Exchange-DN
  • ms-DS-Additional-Sam-Account-Name
  • ms-DS-Phonetic-Company-Name
  • ms-DS-Phonetic-Department
  • ms-DS-Phonetic-Display-Name
  • ms-DS-Phonetic-First-Name
  • ms-DS-Phonetic-Last-Name

For a full list of all the attributes that are queried please refer to the following TechNet article: ANR Attributes.

An ANR query is useful in a number of scenarios, for example when relying on user input in your script. In this case querying against a samaccountname might fail if the spelling does not match the samaccountname. Similarly an export from a different department or database might be close to what is stored in Active Directory but not an exact match, again this is somewhere where an ANR query might be useful. Something that should be kept in mind is that this is a relatively expensive query and therefore should be avoided when it is not required. In this article we will discuss how to create an ANR filter and what happens exactly in such a query.

In the next example we will be using Get-ADUser cmdlet, which is part of the ActiveDirectory module, in combination with the LDAPFilter parameter in order to execute our query:

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Get-ADUser -LDAPFilter '(anr=Jaap Brasser)'

This will query against all the attributes in the list as ‘Jaap Brasser*’ and two additionally queries: ‘GivenName=Jaap*’ and ‘SurName=Brasser*’ as well as ‘GivenName=Brasser*’ and ‘SurName=Jaap*’. As a result more than one result might be returned, as different attributes of a user account might overlap or are not unique to a single user account. This is the downside of this method of querying.

In the following example I will use the [adsisearcher] type accelerator to execute the same query:

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([adsisearcher]'(anr=Jaap Brasser)').FindAll()

Alternatively the DirectorySearcher object can be manually created to execute a query:

$ADSearcher = New-Object DirectoryServices.DirectorySearcher -Property @{
 Filter = '(anr=Jaap Brasser)'
 PageSize = 100
}
$ADSearcher.FindAll()

For more information on this Ambiguous Name Resolution (ANR) have a look at the following resources:

Ambiguous Name Resolution
MSDN Ambiguous Name Resolution
ANR Attributes
KB Ambiguous Name Resolution for LDAP in Windows 2000
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