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14 Best Active Directory Administration and Management Tools

Best Tools for Active Directory Administration and Management

Diego Asturias

In this article, we will share the 14 best tools for Active Directory administration and management. Although these tools have different functionalities, feature-list, and even pricing, all of them aim to help you successfully manage an Active Directory landscape.

Most of the tools from this list can provide a good degree of automation. They can help you with AD cleanup, user provisioning, de-provisioning, password resets, etc. Other tools cover AD monitoring and reporting to help you keep good AD health, performance, and availability.

Additionally, there are also the AD Audit tools that help strengthen your AD security, provide comprehensive reporting and help you ensure compliance such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, GDPR, and more.

Here is our list of the best tools for Active Directory Administration & Management

  1. SolarWinds Admin Bundle for Active Directory – FREE TOOL A free bundle of Active Directory management tools for inactive users and computer removal and bulk users creation.
  2. Windows PowerShell The preferred tool for managing Active Directory. Powershell comes with an Active Directory module that consolidates a group of cmdlets.
  3. ADManager Plus from ManageEngine An all-in-one solution for Active Directory management, reporting, and automation.
  4. Adaxes from Softerra Robust management, automation, and reporting software for Active Directory.
  5. CJWDEV AD Tidy and AD Info A bundle of two tools to clean up your Active Directory and generate reports.
  6. Z-Hire and Z-Term from Zohno Two fantastic automation tools for user provisioning and de-provisioning.
  7. NetWrix Auditor An auditing and compliance tool that provides visibility for Active Directory and Group Policy.
  8. XIA Automation from CENTREL Solutions A network task automation tool designed for user provisioning and directory management tasks.
  9. Quest Active Administrator A set of tools that help ensure the health and availability of an Active Directory environment.
  10. Lepide Active Directory AuditorA solution designed to audit changes made to configurations and permissions in Active Directory.
  11. Spiceworks AD Management Tool A free tool that provides detailed information of your AD environment and control over some AD resources.
  12. Anturis Active Directory Monitor A cloud-based monitor that keeps track of Active Directory and solves performance bottlenecks.
  13. SystemTools Hyena A tool that streamlines and centralizes all Active Directory management. It can also query and update some attributes.
  14. ENow Active Directory Monitoring and Reporting Real-time monitoring, management, protection, and reporting tool for Active Directory environments.

Best Tools for Active Directory Administration & Management

1. SolarWinds Admin Bundle for Active Directory – FREE TOOL 

SolarWinds Admin Bundle for Active Directory

The Admin Bundle for Active Directory from SolarWinds is a 100% free and powerful AD administration and management tool trio. Two of these tools help you keep your Active Directory clean and the other provides automation management capabilities.

The three tools are  

  • Inactive User Account Removal Tool: Scan AD and find inactive user accounts. This tool shows you a list of inactive users with name and last login information and a filter to browse through dates and names. Additionally, you can also export information into a CSV file and optionally remove those accounts.
  • Inactive Computer Account Removal Tool: Scan AD and find inactive computers. You can optionally remove them.
  • User Import Tool: Create and import users in bulk without any custom scripts. You can import an XLS or CSV file with the user's information and their attributes. The SolarWinds User Import tool will automatically import users in bulk provided in the file.

Price: 100% Free

Download Link: Register to download Free Admin Bundle tools

Download Free Tool!

2. Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell is, hands down, one of the most popular Active Directory administration and management tool. It is a task automation tool and configuration management framework. It comes with its command-line shell and scripting language to help you create scripts of repetitive Active Directory administration tasks.

Windows PowerShell provides an Active Directory module with a large set of cmdlets to let you manage your AD domains, AD LDS configuration sets, and AD Database Mounting tool— all from a single interface. This PowerShell AD module lets you get information on computers, users, groups, perform actions, and more.

What can you do with PowerShell

  • Unlock and lock accounts.
  • Delete user accounts.
  • Discover empty groups.
  • Get all Domain Controllers by Hostname and Operating.
  • Options to enable and disable user accounts.
  • Get Domain Default Password Policy
  • Backup Active Directory System State Remotely
  • Get User Names and their properties.
  • And a lot more.

Price: Free and open-source.

Download link: https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell

3. ADManager Plus from ManageEngine

ADManager Plus from ManageEngine

ADManager Plus is an all-in-one web-based management, reporting, and automation solution for Microsoft ecosystems, including Active Directory, O365, and MS Exchange. It uses a web-based GUI to help you centralize all administrative and management tasks.

With this solution, you can manage AD groups and objects in bulk, including users, computers, and printers from a CSV file or customizable documents. Additionally, you can generate automatic granular reports including information from users, computers, groups, etc.

Features

  • Create and manage bulk user accounts.
  • Create and delegate security roles.
  • Manage Active Directory Passwords.
  • Generate compliance reports (built-in SOX, HIPAA, PCI, GLBA, and the GDPR).
  • Automate user onboarding, AD cleanup, and more.
  • Get customized notifications via email or SMS.

Price: There are three editions: Free for 100 Domain Objects, Standard ($595), and Professional ($795).

Download ADManager Plus 7.1 free edition or get a fully-featured ADManager Plus 30-day free trial.

4. Adaxes from Softerra

Adaxes from Softerra

Adaxes is a scalable management and automation solution for Active Directory, Exchange, and O365 environments. It uses a web-based user interface to allow you to manage all these environments and automate tasks from a single place.

Adaxes is popular for its Active Directory user's lifecycle automation capabilities. It can help you automatically provision, re-provision, and de-provisioning users from your AD environments. Aside from its powerful management and automation capabilities, Adaxes also comes with robust reporting. It can generate detailed and customized reports for your AD environment, in addition to +200 built-in reports.

Features

  • A rule-based platform for Active Directory Automation.
  • Role-based access control for privilege delegation.
  • Add security with approval-based workflow.
  • Self-password reset.
  • Built-in PowerShell script editor.

Price: The price for an Adaxes perpetual license starts at $1,600.00 for up to 100 user accounts.

Download a 30-day free trial with full access to technical support.

5. CJWDEV AD Tidy and AD Info

CJWDEV AD Tidy and AD Info

CJWDEV is a company that develops IT management and administration tools. Two of CJWDEV's most popular tools that IT managers seem to love are AD Tidy and AD Info.

  • AD Tidy: As the name implies, this tool cleans up your Active Directory domain by scanning and finding inactive users and computer accounts. Once it finds them, you can use filters based on the last logon time, DNS record timestamps, and more. Additionally, AD Tidy can perform various functions on those inactive accounts, such as removing from all groups, disabling, assigning a random password, moving to another OU, and more.
  • AD Info: This is another useful Active Directory management and administration tool. AD Info is a user-friendly reporting tool. It queries your Active Directory domain for information on different objects, including users, computers, groups, etc.

Both tools allow you to export the results to CSV or Excel XLSX files (plus HTML and TXT for ADInfo.)

Price: Free Edition and Standard Editions. To purchase a standard edition, the Single User License for ADTidy is $99 and for ADInfo is $59.

Download: Free edition of ADTidy and ADInfo.

6. Z-Hire and Z-Term from Zohno

Z-Hire and Z-Term from Zohno

Zohno develops two products aimed to help IT admins with easy and quick employee on-boarding and off-boarding. Their two products (Z-Hire and Z-Term) are quite popular among IT managers looking for user-provisioning automation.

  • Z-Hire. This tool is the platform used for new hire user accounts. It automates the process of creating IT user accounts for Active Directory, Exchange, and Lync, and SalseForce. Z-Hire also creates user accounts in bulk simultaneously, without complicated scripts and processes. It scans (auto-discovery), creates users, detects duplicated users, etc.
  • Z-Term. This tool is used for deactivating and terminating old accounts. Same as Z-Hire, but the opposite— it can be used to automate the process of user account termination when an employee leaves an organization. Z-Term can disable AD accounts, reset passwords, move users to other OU, remove AD group membership, and more.

Price: The price for Z-Term and Z-Hire starts at $750 (for 0-3000 employees).

Download: Try Zohno Tools for free for 90 days.

7. Netwrix Auditor

Netwrix Auditor

Netwrix Auditor is a powerful IT auditing and compliance software. It provides enhanced visibility for your Active Directory and Group Policy environments. It can help monitor the changes in Active Directory and logon activity, to improve troubleshooting processes, detect and prevent privilege abuse, and ensure IT compliance.

Netwrix Auditor uses behavior analysis and risk mitigation strategies to audit changes, configurations, and access. For example, it can analyze security log events, detect an improperly changed attribute in Active Directory Users and Computers, and provide actionable intelligence on how to fix the issue.

Features

  • Audit changes in AD and Group Policy.
  • Reports on both failed and successful login attempts.
  • Create reports on current AD configurations.
  • Provide alerts on threat patterns
  • Provide compliance for PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, GDPR, and more.

Price: Request a quote

Download a fully functional 20-day Netwrix Auditor free trial.

8. XIA Automation from CENTREL Solutions

XIA Automation from CENTREL Solutions

XIA Automation is a powerful web-based network task automation tool, designed for user provisioning and directory management tasks. It can help you automatically provision user accounts for Active Directory, Exchange, O365, Google, and more.

You can import a custom CSV file into XIA Automation software to provision or update user accounts, groups, or organizational units. Additionally, XIA automation comes with “Custom Attributes” a feature that helps you configure Active Directory attributes.

Additional Features

  • Active Directory replication settings.
  • Reset Passwords and Unlock User Accounts.
  • Delegate password-changing tasks to non-admins.
  • Design custom plugins for AD.

Price: Single and perpetual license with one-year support and maintenance for £2000 (≈ $2,700).

Download Link: Register and request an XIA Automation 30-days free trial.

9.Quest Active Administrator

Quest Active Administrator

The Active Administrator, developed by Quest, is a set of troubleshooting and diagnostics utilities for AD domains and domain controllers. These utilities are designed to maintain AD health and its availability. The software provides a comprehensive dashboard with views of the AD configuration, replication, alerts, and complete reports of your domain controllers.

The Active Administrator can use either agentless polling methods or agents, which can be deployed in the domain controllers. These agents are used for workstation logon audits, AD server analyzer, Azure AD Connect, database server audits, and more.

Features

  • Active reporting and alerting.
  • Group policy management.
  • Backup and recovery AD and group policies.
  • Integration with Azure AD.

Price: The price for a Quest Active Administrator perpetual license starts at $24.99 per unit (minimum of 50 units).

Download a fully-functional 30-day Quest Active Administrator free trial.

10. Lepide Active Directory Auditor

Lepide Active Directory Auditor

Lepide Auditor is a highly-scalable audit and protection solution. It is explicitly designed to audit the changes made to configurations and permissions in Microsoft ecosystems, including Active Directory, Exchange Server, Group Policy, SQL, and SharePoint.

Lepide Auditor gives you full visibility into your AD environment and also helps meet compliance requirements. You can keep track in real-time of who is making the change to which configurations and permissions. It provides the who, where, to what, and when.

Features

  • Generate detailed reports and real-time alerts.
  • Audit failed and successful logins.
  • Detect and mitigate with ML and user behavior analytics.
  • Pre-defined reports for PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, SOX, and more.

Price: Request a quote

Download: Register for a 15-day free trial of LepideAuditor

11. Spiceworks AD Management Tool

Spiceworks AD Management Tool

Spiceworks is an online platform and community for IT professionals. They are known for providing 100% free software for IT inventory management, help desk, and network monitoring tools (fully supported by ads).

Spiceworks offers the free AD Management Tool, which provides detailed information and automated control over certain AD resources. Since Spiceworks is a large community of IT pros, they also provide free support for their AD management tool (which is a unique value). The installation and usage of the software are very straightforward.

Features

  • Update account properties.
  • Manage, link, or remove equipment.
  • De-provision the inactive or old AD user accounts.
  • Reset AD user’s passwords.
  • Access to each user’s AD information and their devices.

Price: All Spiceworks plans are 100% free

Download the Spiceworks AD management tool.

12. Anturis Active Directory Monitor

Anturis Active Directory Monitor

Anturis is a cloud-based monitoring solution for servers, networks, applications, and websites. One of their popular monitoring modules is Anturis Active Directory Monitor, which collects, analyzes AD data, and helps solve performance bottlenecks.

Anturis uses an initial behavior baseline of the directory servers and replication structure to detect abnormal behaviors or degrading performance trends that create bottlenecks in your AD environment. It immediately sends instant alerts via email, SMS, or voice call notifications once it detects abnormal network activity.

Features

  • Alerts via email or SMS.
  • Monitor AD replication.
  • Monitor server sessions.
  • Keep track of LDAP client sessions.
  • And more.

Price: Anturis price starts at $10.00/month (for up to 10 monitors and 10 notification credits/month). Anturis also offers a Free version, which allows five monitors with Email notifications.

Download: Sign up to get a 30-days Anturis free trial

13. SystemTools Hyena

SystemTools Hyena

Hyena from SystemTools is one of the preferred and friendliest GUI tools for simplifying Active Directory administration. It streamlines and centralizes general Windows systems and Active Directory management. So, instead of using many scattered Microsoft management consoles, Hyena consolidates these tools and centralizes them into a single-pane-of-glass. Additionally, you can use Hyena to query and update some attributes that can’t be done via the default MS Active Directory management consoles.

Hyena comes with an easy-to-use GUI to help you manage your Active Directory infrastructure. It lets you manage objects and tasks, including, users, groups, domains, computers, devices, services, printers, sessions, user rights, scheduling, process, and more.

Features

  • Active Task for mass importing and updating.
  • Object property management
  • Advanced attribute management
  • Advanced queries and views
  • Full exporting and Excel reporting.

Price: The price starts at $329 for 1-2 licenses.

Download a 30-Day free trial of Hyena.

14. ENow Active Directory Monitoring and Reporting

ENow Active Directory Monitoring and Reporting

Enow provides real-time monitoring, management, protection, and reporting software for your Active Directory environments. It gives you full visibility and control over your AD resources from a single-pane-of-glass.

The Enow “AD Monitoring and Reporting” tool uses agentless active probes to get data from the AD components, including domain controllers, OUs, replication DNS, and more. These probes can help detect failures including replication issues, DNS issues, domain controller failures, logon fails, account lockouts, and more.

Features

  • Manage and audit user’s activity.
  • +30 built-in reports to audit AD resources
  • Create reports with real-time and historical trends.

Price: Request a quote

Download a 14-day E-Now AD Monitoring and Reporting free trial.

Conclusion

The best tool for many Active Directory managers that provides automation, plus reporting, management, and has a great GUI is SolarWinds Admin Bundle for Active Directory.

One of the preferred tools for the majority of Active Directory managers is Windows PowerShell. For a good reason, with PowerShell and some scripting skills, you can be on your way to automating many monotonous day-to-day Active Directory management tasks. Still, many AD managers prefer to stay away from CLI and scripting territory and would rather have GUI and out-of-the-box automation.

Other tools that provide a good level of automation, plus reporting, management, and have a nice GUI, are ADManager Plus from ManageEngine, and Adaxes from Softerra. Other bundles of tools like the CJWDEV AD Tidy and AD Info, and Z-Hire and Z-Term from Zohno are also fantastic software to help you improve your Active Directory Management and Administration, especially for provisioning.