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Introduction to Administering Active Directory

Updated: March 2, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

This guide explains how to administer Microsoft Active Directory. These activities are part of the operating phase of the information technology (IT) life cycle. If you are not familiar with this guide, review the following sections of this introduction.

When to Use This Guide

You should use this guide when:

  • You want to manage common Active Directory problems that are associated with misconfiguration.

  • You want to configure Active Directory to increase network availability.

This guide assumes a basic understanding of what Active Directory is, how it works, and why your organization uses it to access, manage, and secure shared resources across your network. You should also have a thorough understanding of how Active Directory is deployed and managed in your organization. This includes an understanding of the mechanism your organization uses to configure and manage Active Directory settings.

This guide can be used by organizations that have deployed Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1). It includes information that is relevant to different roles within an IT organization, including IT operations management and administrators. It contains high-level information that is required to plan an Active Directory operations environment. This information provides management-level knowledge of Active Directory and the IT processes required to operate it.

In addition, this guide contains more detailed procedures that are designed for operators who have varied levels of expertise and experience. Although the procedures provide operator guidance from start to finish, operators must have a basic proficiency with the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and snap-ins and know how to start administrative programs and access the command line. If operators are not familiar with Active Directory, it might be necessary for IT planners or IT managers to review the relevant operations in this guide and provide the operators with parameters or data that must be entered when the operation is performed.

How to Use this Guide

The operations areas are divided into the following types of content:

  • Objectives are high-level goals for managing, monitoring, optimizing, and securing Active Directory. Each objective consists of one or more high-level tasks that describe how the objective is accomplished.

  • Tasks are used to group related procedures and provide general guidance for achieving the goals of an objective.

  • Procedures provide step-by-step instructions for completing the task.

If you are an IT manager who will be delegating tasks to operators within your organization, you will want to:

  • Read through the objectives and tasks to determine how to delegate permissions and whether you need to install tools before operators perform the procedures for each task.

  • Before assigning tasks to individual operators, ensure that you have all the tools installed where operators can use them.

  • When necessary, create “tear sheets” for each task that operators perform within your organization. Cut and paste the task and its related procedures into a separate document and then either print these documents or store them online, depending on the preference of your organization.

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