Anyone who wants to write scripts for Active Directory will eventually run into the famous userAccountControl attribute. Usually this comes up when you are searching for disabled accounts. Actually this attribute is a bit flag for 22 different account settings! You can find them clearly documented in KB305144. In the GUI you find these settings represented by checkboxes in Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) (pictured right).
I’ve done my share of VBScripts over the last 10 years, and this always took more lines of code than I wanted to write. In this example on the Hey Scripting Guy blog you can see it would take 14 lines of code to report on disabled accounts. To make matters worse you had to understand LDAP bitwise filter syntax. In an earlier post I demonstrated this syntax for querying AD based on a bit value.
The good news is that in Windows Server 2008 R2 and above we have two cmdlets that make this easy.
With the Active Directory module for PowerShell and the Search-ADAccount cmdlet those 14 lines of VBScript turn into a single line:
PS C:\> Search-ADAccount -AccountDisabled
To limit the results to users or computers you can try one of these handy switches:
PS C:\> Search-ADAccount –AccountDisabled –UsersOnly
PS C:\> Search-ADAccount –AccountDisabled –ComputersOnly
The Search-ADAccount cmdlet has several switches that target the userAccountControl bit flags:
Now we don’t have to fuss with all of the fancy LDAP syntax.
The Set-ADAccountControl cmdlet gives us 12 switches to toggle these checkboxes via script:
Now you can turn the flags on and off like this:
PS C:\> Set-ADAccountControl JoeUser –PasswordNeverExpires $true
PS C:\> Set-ADAccountControl JoeUser –PasswordNeverExpires $false
Wow! Now that was easy.
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