This article explains how to extend Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) to start the Windows Admin Center from the computer object context menu.

Ruben Zimmermann

Ruben is an infrastructure specialist who specializes in Active Directory, public key infrastructure (PKI), and System Center Operations Manager. He automates in VBS, PowerShell and C#. Ruben lives in Suzhou, China, and you can follow him on Twitter @Ruben8Z.

The Windows Admin Center is Microsoft's new web-based management interface for Windows computers. It exposes information about server core components like CPU, RAM, and disks, plus it gives access to the registry, files, services, software, and more. You can install Admin Center locally on the admin workstation or as a gateway on a server.

ADUC showing the extended computer object context menu

ADUC showing the extended computer object context menu

Adding the Admin Center context menu to ADUC consists of three parts. First is modifying the Active Directory object where customizing the context menu takes place. Second is a new subfolder in Netlogon to ensure the script is available in all locations. Last is the VBScript, which receives the selected computer and opens the default browser with the Windows Admin Center URL.

Active Directory modification ^

The Admin-Context-Menu attribute in Active Directory allows placing custom entries in the context menus of computers, users, groups, and other objects in ADUC. It is in the Configuration partition of Active Directory and requires Enterprise Admin permissions to modify it.

Open ADSIEDIT.MSC as an Enterprise Admin, navigate to Configuration > CN=Configuration, CN=DisplaySpecifiers > CN=409 > CN=computer-Display, and choose Properties:

ADSIEDIT exposing the computer display properties

ADSIEDIT exposing the computer display properties

Assuming your Active Directory is called nwtraders.msft, add the following text as an additional value:

2, Open in Windows Admin Center, \\nwtraders.msft\netlogon\ADUCExtensions\AD_OpenInAdminCenter.vbs

Specify the order, name, and location of the new entry in ADUC's computer object context menu

Specify the order, name, and location of the new entry in ADUC's computer object context menu

Note: If 2 is already taken by something else, use the next free number.

The ADUCExtensions folder in Netlogon ^

Create a folder in \\nwtraders.msft\netlogon named ADUCExtensions. Ensure that authenticated users can read it, but only elected administrators can modify it.

The VBScript to launch Admin Center ^

The script receives the selected computer as an argument. It first retrieves the OS from Active Directory and verifies that it is at least Windows Server 2008. If the script succeeds, the default browser will start the Windows Admin Center.

Amend the Windows Admin Center URL in the script and store it in the previously created folder.

If the Windows Admin Center is installed locally, use localhost. If it is running as a gateway, place the name of it in there.

Last, but not least ^

Besides computer objects in ADUC, we can also extend user and group context menus the same way. Questions and comments are welcome as usual. Please use the feedback form below.

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