Active Directory Explorer v1.0 is a free new Sysinternals tool from Microsoft. It allows you to view and edit the Active Directory database. The utility is similar to ADSIedit from the Windows Server 2003 Support Tools. It offers two useful additional features: You can create snapshots and you can bookmark AD objects.

The latter feature is quite helpful, if you have to edit the same object frequently. Active Directory Explorer allows you to add favorites for this purpose.

Active Directory Explorer v1.0Creating a snapshot of the AD database can be done with just a mouse click. This is fast and easy compared to creating snapshots with ntdsutil in Windows Server 2008. However, as far as I know, you can't use the snapshots created with Active Directory Explorer as backup. You only can browse and search in those snapshots.

Active Directory Explorer Compare SnapshotsIt is also possible to compare two snapshots. This is useful if you want to know which changes have been made to the AD database by an application, for example. You can restrict the comparison to certain objects and attributes. Unfortunately, AD Explorer doesn't allow you to save or to export the output.

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AD Explorer has one major shortcoming compared with ADSIedit. It seems one can't modify attributes with empty values. If Bryce Cogswell and Mark Russinovich add this feature in the next version of this nifty utility, you won't need ADSI Edit anymore.

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