Active Directory is popular because it provides a centralized and secure resource management solution for companies. It allows administrators to easily manage user accounts, computers, and other network resources.
Active Directory also provides other features such as group policy management, single sign-on, and authentication services. Furthermore, it is widely used in organizations of all sizes as it is an industry standard, and it integrates well with Microsoft’s other products, such as Exchange and SharePoint.
However, as useful as it is, AD has limitations. For example, the user interface is not particularly intuitive, it lacks automation features, and has some security flaws.
Fortunately, the popularity of Active Directory has led to the creation of a vast ecosystem of tools and third-party solutions designed to enhance its functionality. For example, there are tools that can improve the UI, automate tasks, facilitate bulk operations, and provide real-time alerts and customized reports.
This is great, but finding the right active directory tools can be a difficult task, especially since you can’t easily take them all for a spin. To help with this below is a roundup of AD tools available that are either free or offer a free trial.
Free Active Directory Reporting, Monitoring, and Auditing Tools
The most notable free active directory tools for reporting, auditing, and monitoring are as follows:
Microsoft Active Directory Explorer (AD Explorer)
AD Explorer is a free AD tool that is a part of the MS Sysinternals Suite. It allows you to easily navigate an AD database, view object properties and attributes, edit permissions, execute sophisticated searches, saves snapshots, and more.
Cjwdev AD Permissions Reporter
The Cjwdev AD Permissions Reporter is a user-friendly tool that generates reports on Active Directory permissions. You can use it to view all permissions within a domain or use the advanced search facility to identify over-privileged accounts. It comes with both a free and standard edition, with the standard edition offering more export options, a more advanced filtering system, and full command line support.
Lepide Account Lockout Examiner
This free account lockout tool will quickly scan your Active Directory and tracks all account lockouts in real-time. Using this tool you can remotely manage the locked-out device, and either unlock the device or reset the password and investigate the reason for account lockouts.
Lepide Change Reporter for Active Directory
This free active directory change reporting tool will monitor and report Active Directory Changes in real-time. Via an intuitive dashboard, you can easily view and search for changes made to users, groups, group memberships, organizational units, permissions, and other objects.
Lepide AD User Account Status
This freeware allows you to quickly scan your Active Directory and retrieve information about your user accounts, including the total number of accounts, and the number of accounts that are enabled/disabled, inactive, or locked.
Lepide Track Privileged Users in AD
This free tool enables you to quickly scan your Active Directory environment for users with admin-level privileges, and see how those privileges were applied. This tool is completely free of charge, forever.
Free Active Directory Management Tools
Below are the most notable free active directory management tools:
CjWdev AD Tidy
This free application helps to identify and remove inactive user and computer accounts from your Active Directory domain. It analyzes your Active Directory domain for user/computer accounts that are no longer used and filters them according to the last login time, DNS record timestamp, and other parameters. The discovered accounts can be managed in a variety of ways, such as transferring them to another OU, deactivating them, assigning a unique password, revoking group memberships, and more.
This tool is technically a network monitoring solution and help desk program, however, it has features that help with Active Directory management. For instance, it can be used to enable/disable user accounts, update user account properties, monitor workstations, update software, reset passwords, and more.
PRTG Active Directory Monitor
PRTG Active Directory Monitor is a monitoring tool used to track and analyze the performance and health of Active Directory (AD) environments. This tool helps in detecting any issues in your AD environment, including authentication, account, and group management-related problems. PRTG Active Directory Monitor provides administrators with an easy-to-use dashboard and customizable alerts.
SolarWinds Admin Bundle for Active Directory
This software bundle for Active Directory is used to detect and remove inactive user and computer accounts, as well as import users. It offers an array of features, such as automated capacity, dynamic network maps, customizable topology, packet capture, and analysis. Additionally, you can use this tool to view the Last Login Time of users.