FREE: Active Directory Reports Lite – Active Directory reporting tool

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Mon, September 13, 2010 - 23 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

Contents of this article
  1. Active Directory Reports Lite

Update: Also check out AD Info, a new Active Directory reporting tool.

MaxPowerSoft Active Directory Reports Lite is a free Active Directory reporting tool that allows you to generate Active Directory reports very quickly and easily. This utility was already in the list of free Active Directory tools under the name “Active Directory Reporting Tool” a while back. It was available only as a commercial tool for some time; now, the Lite version is back as a freeware tool. This is an update of my former review, just in case you wonder why some of the comments are older than the publish date of this article.

Active Directory Reports Lite - Active Directory Reporting Tool

The user interface of Active Directory Reports Lite is well designed and intuitive to use. I sometimes call such tools “click-as-you-go” applications. That is, you don’t have to grapple with a manual or mess with complicated syntax, and you can just focus on your real task. So aside from being able to use a mouse, you only have to know Active Directory in order to create reports with this tool.

For most reports, you will only need two or three mouse clicks. You need the first click to select one of the six tabs (Forest, Users, Groups, Organizational Units, Computers, GPO) and the second click for one of the properties in the navigation pane. These properties cover the most common report types. For instance, the User Accounts Status Reports section on the Users tab offers reports for disabled user accounts or users with expired passwords, and the Computers tab has reports for machines running a certain Windows version. All in all, Active Directory Reports offers more than 150 such reports.

In most cases, you are already done after those two clicks. Sometimes you might need a third click if you want to sort or group the results according to a certain Active Directory object attribute. If the report generates too many results, you might want to apply an additional filter.

The easiest way to create a filter is to type a search term right below a column heading. As you type, Active Directory Reports will limit the output to the objects that match your search term. It is also possible to search multiple columns. At the bottom of the results pane, you will see the filter that you have created this way.

If you need to perform a more sophisticated search, you can access the tool’s Filter Editor by right-clicking one of the column headings. This filter editor is also in the “click-as-you-go” style. Nevertheless, it is quite powerful as it allows you to create any thinkable Active Directory query. You can group multiple queries and relate them with AND, OR, NOT AND, and NOT OR operators.

Active Reporting Tool - Active.Directory Reports Lite Filter Editor

I like that the filter is still active when you select another report in the navigation pane. Thus if the objects you were looking for don’t appear in the results pane, you can try some of the other reports.

It is possible to remove or add columns in the report. A useful feature is the “Best Fit” function, which adjusts the column width to the size of the largest row. The “Best Fit (all columns)” function does the same for all columns. Why doesn’t Excel have such a feature? It would have come in handy numerous times.

Active Directory Reporting Tools - Active Directory Reports Lite Show Hide Columns

Active Directory Reports Lite is the little brother of Active Directory Reports Professional, which has quite a few additional features. Most noteworthy is that you can’t export and print reports in the free tool. The Lite version limits the number of objects that can be displayed in a report to 200. Note that this does not mean that you can only use the free version with an Active Directory that has fewer than 200 objects. It only means that a warning will be displayed whenever your query produces more than 200 objects as a result. In most cases, I think the 200 object limit probably won’t be a big problem. Please have a look at the comparison table at the vendor’s site to get an overview of the additional features that Active Directory Reports Professional has to offer.

I think both Active Directory Reporting tools are worth a try.

Active Directory Reports Lite

Update: Also check out AD Info, a new Active Directory reporting tool.

-1+1 (+114 rating, 26 votes)
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23 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. John says:

    This tool is good but has one major flaw. It seems to max out at 1000 computers when loading the records. This has been pointed out to the author on Mar 13th but has not been addressed yet. I would love to leverage this tool but with over 8000 PCs in our AD, it does not help.

  2. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    I think the main benefit of the tool is that you can display user states quickly. I hope you don’t have 1000 disabled or locked users in your AD. ;-)

  3. [...] Active Directory Reporting Tool EIn Reporting-Tool für das Active-Directory. Schaut ganz nett aus – habe ich noch nicht getestet. MIt dem Tool lassen sich relativ zügig Benutzer/Gruppen/Computer mit einem bestimmten Status in einer Active Directory Domäne finden. [...]

  4. Thanks to 4sysops and Michael Pietroforte for reviewing our product. The 1000 limitation currently found in the AD Reports product has been fixed and will be released in our next 1.0.0.4 release. We are on the brink of releasing this product within the next month or two.

  5. Gilles Thibeau says:

    This is a bad tool.

  6. Gilles, what can we do to improve the tool?
    -Chris

  7. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    Chris, why not add some editing capabilities? It would be great if one could unlock a user account, for example.

  8. Dean says:

    That looks like an interesting and helpful AD tool. I will give it a try and if it works fine I will post a Screencast at NetoMeter.

    Dean
    http://www.netometer.com

  9. Sorry for the late response. Michael, great idea! Igor and I have been talking about import/export functionality since the inception of AD Reports. We are planning on eventually moving the product in this direction.

    Dean, thank you for offering the link. I will post a link back to you as well.
    Regards,
    Chris

  10. Jeff says:

    It’s hard to complain about a free tool, however it has limited usability without the capability of exporting to at least a couple of different formats.

  11. Inba says:

    I like the “Active Directory Reporter” tool from http://www.jijitechnologies.com

  12. The JiJi Technologies tool is nice and the UI is very similiar to ours. BUT, we have found in our testing of the product that it isn’t 100% accurate in particular situations. The first instance where it is not accurate is in regards to “locked out” users. Active Directory Reports from MaxPowerSoft takes domain security policies into account during the process of reporting information to the end user. Because of our programmatic logic, we are able to produce solid results that reflect company policies and protocol.

  13. Nelson Francisco says:

    Great tool. It can help a lot in administering the AD.

  14. Myron Oneill says:

    There is also scriptlogic’s tool called active administrator that looks like a more powerful solution with an intuitive friendly interface.
    It’s great for active directory auditing with live or scheduled reporting, group policy management and security delegation.
    In addition I really enjoy the way it can restore individual objects from backups.

  15. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    Myron, thanks for the tip. However, Active Administrator is much more expensive because licensing is based on the number of Active Directory users.

  16. Gilles Thibeau says:

    cheap and great tools by JiJi Technologies try it .

  17. John says:

    This app is not free, trial only?

  18. Chuck says:

    Check this tool it works well and reports on hidden attibutes as well. The site has a bunch of free tools that can give you deep info on your AD. http://www.arconi.com/utilities/active-directory-utils/adattributereporter.html

  19. Marc Johnson says:

    Hi Michael,

    I run a blog on free Active Directory reporting tools, and while I have only covered MS tools thusfar, I’d be happy to look at yours as well, as it sounds useful.

    By the way, have your tried JoeWare’s ADFind? I suppose your tool can perform most of the LDAP queries that ADFind? Perhaps it would be helpful for the readers of your blog to learn about what your free tool can uniquely do for them that other free MS tools such as AdFind and dsacls.exe etc can’t?

    Looking forward to your thoughts.

  20. Jed says:

    Do you have any idea how the MaxPowerSoft tool compares to netwrix’s freeware version of active directory change reporter? We’ve been using the netwrix freeware tool for a couple years now and it works well. Does anyone have experience with both tools that can tell me how they compare?

  21. Sam Praveen says:

    I have used the older version of JiJi Active Directory Reports and also newer version. Comparing to the older version they have cleared lots of bugs. After evaluating JiJi ADR, I find it as very useful with its, newly added reports in “Exchange Reports” section namely 1.Archive Settings Reports, 2.Distribution Groups Reports, 3.Message Moderation Reports.

  22. jason jojo says:

    I Agree with Sam Praveen, JiJi only provide web and native AD Reports with more than 480 out of the box reports that’s
    definitely help full in production environment.

  23. Samuel says:

    Michael,

    There’s currently a good discussion on Active Directory Reporting Tools over at one of the tech forums I’m on.

    Since you’re an MVP, I’ll try and recommend your tool on it as well. Its no easy task to become an MVP, so nice work – I’m sure its well deserved!

    Samuel.

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