This article is based on an article in the Microsoft TechNet Library and is presented here to enable those outside of Microsoft who are interested and knowledgeable on this topic to improve it. The original
article exists on TechNet as the
Step-by-Step Guide to Bulk Import and Export to Active Directory (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727091.aspx).
This guide introduces batch administration of the Active Directory Domain Service (AD DS),
using both the LDAP Data Interchange Format (LDIF)
utility and a simple program you can write using the Visual Basic® Scripting Edition (VBScript) development system. Using these tools, you
can export, import, and modify objects such as users, contacts, groups, servers, printers, and shared folders.
In this guide, you will perform the following tasks:
Perform batch operations using the LDIFDE utility. Export users from the Marketing organizational unit (OU)
in the Reskit domain into a file format compatible with the LDIF standard format. Perform a batch modification of all the users in the Marketing OU. Use LDIF to create a new user and delete a user.
Perform batch operations using ADSI and VBScript. Export users from the Marketing OU in the Reskit domain into a text file, using a script written with ADSI
and VBScript. Use VBScript to perform a batch modification of all the users in the Marketing OU. Use VBScript to create a new user and delete a user.
The Administration Tools are installed by default on all Windows 2000 and later
domain controllers. The LDIFDE utility described in this guide is installed by default on servers, and can be copied to any Windows 2000
and later workstation. The VBScript programs that you create can be run from either servers or workstations.
For all procedures in this guide, you must be logged on as an administrator. If you log on using an account that does not have administrative privileges, you may not be able to perform export and import operations in
The LDAP Data Interchange Format (LDIF) is an Internet draft standard for a file format that can be used for performing batch operations on directories that conform to the LDAP standards. LDIF can be used to export and import data, allowing batch operations
such as Add, Modify, and Delete to be performed in Active Directory. A utility called LDIFDE is included in the Windows 2000 operating system to support batch operations based on the LDIF standard.
You can use LDIFDE to export all objects in the Marketing organizational unit (OU). The following example searches the organizational unit for certain objects and creates a file containing the names of those objects.
To export all objects in the Marketing OU
Click Start, point to Programs, then point to
Accessories, and click Command Prompt.
At the command prompt, type:
ldifde -f marketing.ldf -s hq-res-dc-01-d"ou=Marketing,dc= reskit,dc=com"-psubtree–r"(objectCategory=CN=Person,CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=reskit,DC=com)"
This creates a LDIF file named Marketing.ldf, by connecting to the server named
HQ-RES-DC-01 and executing a subtree search of the Marketing OU for all objects of the category
Person. (See Figure 1 below.)
Note that objectCategory is an indexed attribute designed to enhance search performance.
You can use this LDIF file to perform a batch import of all the objects from the Marketing OU into any other LDAP-compatible directory. Some attributes may not be applicable to other implementations of LDAP. In particular, if you use this mechanism to import
the objects into another Active Directory, some attributes must be omitted because they are automatically generated during object creation. (If they are not specifically omitted, the operation will fail.)
For example, the LDIFDE command that is used to omit these attributes is:
ldifde -f marketing.ldf -s hq-res-dc-01 d
In this example, the entire Marketing organization has moved to a new office address. You use LDIF to perform a batch modification for all user objects in the Marketing organization by altering the state, street, locality, and postal code attributes.
To modify all objects in the Marketing OU
At the command prompt, type the following command to extract the required entries:
ldifde -f marketing.ldf -s hq-res-dc-01-d"ou=Marketing,dc= reskit,dc=com"-psubtree–r"(objectCategory=CN=Person,CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=reskit,DC=com)" –l "l,st,streetAddress, postalCode"
Use a text editor such as Notepad to edit the LDIF file, Marketing.ldf. (Save the file as an .ldf file.) Modify each entry so that it is similar to that shown in Figure 2 below.
Run LDIFDE to import the modifications into Active Directory. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press
> Enter. (See Figure 3 below.)
ldifde –i -f marketing.ldf -s hq-res-dc-01
To confirm that the entries have been modified, check the Active Directory Users and Computers
For further information on using LDIFDE, type LDIFDE /? at the command prompt.
Note: Another utility called CSVDE performs the same export functions as LDIFDE, but uses a comma-separated file format. Import operations with CSVDE
are "add" only, and CSVDE does not offer the ability to modify or delete objects. The
CSV file format is supported by applications such as Microsoft Excel.
In this example, you use LDIF to add a new user named James Smith to the Marketing organizational unit.
Start a text editor, such as Notepad, and create a new text file named
Newuser.ldf. (Save the file as an ldif file, not as a text file.)
Edit the LDIF file Newuser.ldf, and add the following text (see Figure 4 below):
cn: James Smith
> givenName: James
> sn: Smith
Save and close the LDIF file.
Run LDIFDE to import the new user into Active Directory. On the Start
menu, point to Programs, then point to Accessories, and click
Command Prompt. Type the following command, and then press
ldifde –i -f newuser.ldf -s hq-res-dc-01
To confirm that the new user has been created, check the Active Directory Users and Computers
In this example, you use LDIF to remove the user named James Smith from the Marketing OU.
Start a text editor such as Notepad, and create a new file named Deluser.ldf.
Edit the LDIF file Deluser.ldf, and add the following text.
Run LDIFDE to delete the user from Active Directory. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press
ldifde –i -f deluser.ldf -s hq-res-dc-01
To confirm that the user has been deleted, check the Active Directory Users and Computers
Active Directory Services Interfaces (ADSI) makes it easy to develop directory-enabled applications. In conjunction with the
Windows Script Host, batch directory operations can be scripted using VBScript or Jscript® development software. In this guide, the procedures that were described in the previous section (which used LDIF) are performed using simple applications written
Please note that these scripts do not include any error checking, nor are they meant to provide a programmer's reference to VBScript and ADSI. All of the examples included here assume you are logged on with the proper credentials on a machine that is a member
of the target domain. It is possible in ADSI to explicitly specify credentials and a target domain. For more information on this, see the documentation on ADSI's OpenDSObject in the Platform SDK
After each procedure, confirm that the entries have been modified by checking the
Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in.
In this example, you use a text editor such as Notepad to create a VBScript program. The script searches the Marketing OU and creates a text file that lists all of the user objects and a subset of their attributes.
To create the export script
Copy the following text into your text editor:
'Initialize global variables
Set FileSystem = WScript.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set OutPutFile = FileSystem.CreateTextFile("marketing.txt", True)
Set FileSystem = Nothing
Set oContainer = Nothing
For Each oUser In oCont
Select Case LCase(oUser.Class)
If Not IsEmpty(oUser.distinguishedName) Then
OutPutFile.WriteLine "dn: " & oUser.distinguishedName
If Not IsEmpty(oUser.name) Then
OutPutFile.WriteLine "name: " & oUser.Get ("name")
'need to do this because oUser.name would get back the Relative
Distinguished name (i.e. CN=Jo Brown)
If Not IsEmpty(oUser.st) Then
OutPutFile.WriteLine "st: " & oUser.st
If Not IsEmpty(oUser.streetAddress) Then
OutPutFile.WriteLine "streetAddress: " & oUser.streetAddress
Case "organizationalunit" , "container"
Save the file as Export.vbs.
At the command prompt type export.vbs and press Enter. This creates a file named
Marketing.txt, which contains a list of users and some of their attributes, such as distinguished name, name, state, and street address.
With appropriate modification, this script can be used with any application that supports COM and Visual Basic technologies. Such
applications include Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Access. Scripting can also be hosted by Internet Explorer and Internet Information Services 5.0, which is part of Windows 2000 Server.
In this example, the Marketing organization has moved to a new office address. A simple VBScript program is used to perform a batch modification for all user objects in the Marketing organization. The script alters the state, street, locality, and postal
oContainer Set oContainer=GetObject("LDAP://
Set oContainer = Nothing
oObject.Filter = Array("user")
For Each oUser in oObject
oUser.Put "st","New York"
oUser.Put "streetAddress","825 Eighth Avenue"
oUser.Put "l","New York"
Save the file as Modify.vbs.
At the command prompt, type modify.vbs and press Enter. This processes all objects in the Marketing organizational unit and modifies all users, altering the state, street address, postal code, and locality attributes.
In this example, you use VBScript to add a new user to the Marketing organization. This example illustrates how easy it is to use ADSI and VBScript to programmatically access the directory. Note that in this example, only a limited set of attributes are
configured during the user creation.
To create the script and add the user
Dim oContainer 'Parent container
of new user Dim
oUser 'Created user
Set oUser = oContainer.Create("User","CN=Jo Brown")
'Assign properties values to user
Set oUser = Nothing
Set oContainer = Nothing
Save the file as Adduser.vbs.
At the command prompt, type adduser.vbs and press Enter. This creates a new user named
Jo Brown in the Marketing OU.
In this example, you use VBScript to delete a user from the Marketing organization.
Dim oContainer 'Parent container of object to be
deleted 'Get parent
container Set oContainer=GetObject("LDAP://OU=marketing,
oContainer.Delete "user","CN=Jo Brown"
Set oContainer = Nothing
Save the file as Deluser.vbs.
At the command prompt, type deluser.vbs and press Enter. This deletes the user Jo Brown from the Marketing OU.