How To Query Active Directory For Object Group Memberships…

Not too long ago, I was working with a colleague who was doing a lot of user management and provisioning, and needed to be able to look up the group membership of a user (or a computer) without being too complex or having to memorize anything.  So I installed RSAT on the computer, and made a little batch file that he could run that will take the username (as samAccountName) and dump out the direct or inherited memberships.  Easy as pie.

And as I often do, I thought I’d put up a little blog post detailing the mechanics and concepts of the script.  Of course, we’ve touched on some of these concepts before in this blog, but never in this direct of a way.  So without further ado…

How to Check Group Memberships from the User or Computer Perspective

If you already have the userID/samAccountName, then you can check *user* DIRECT group memberships like this example:

dsquery user -samid "JPavlov" |dsget user -memberof

…and to check *user* INHERITED group memberships, use the expand flag:

dsquery user -samid "JPavlov" |dsget user -memberof -expand


Similarly, you can check *computer* DIRECT group memberships like this example:

dsquery computer -name "CTS004895" |dsget computer -memberof

…and to check *computer* INHERITED group memberships:

dsquery computer -name "CTS004895" |dsget computer -memberof -expand


How to Check Groups Memberships from the Group Perspective

Of course, I just can’t leave it there.  What if you want to approach it from the other direction?  For instance, if you have a group name (or a prefix if you have a naming convention), and you want to get a membership list of that group?  It’s still doable.  And while I’m at it, I thought I’d sprinkle in a little bit of PowerShell, and still use dsquery to get the job done, as in the following example:

$StartingContext = "OU=Groups,OU=Location,DC=Coretek,DC=local"
$GroupPrefix = "CTS FH "
$GroupList = dsquery * $StartingContext -limit 9000 -filter "(&(objectClass=Group)(name=$GroupPrefix*))" -attr samAccountName,member

…and this works, but… unfortunately, the output is horrible because the dsquery output is ugly.  But, if you happen to already have a list of group names (as in my example groupList.txt below), you could do something like in this example:

$GroupList = Get-Content .groupList.txt
$StartingContext = "OU=Groups,OU=Location,DC=Coretek,DC=local"
foreach ($GroupItem in $GroupList)
  write ""
  write "Group is $GroupItem"
  dsquery * $StartingContext -limit 9000 -filter "(&(objectClass=Group)(samAccountName=$GroupItem))" | dsget group -members

…and while it’s basically the same dsquery as in the snippet above, the output is much nicer — since we are piping it into dsget, which makes for a much prettier report. 

Now… perhaps my favorite of all, we can do pretty much the same procedure as the previous command, but this time all in PowerShell, and using the Get-AdGroup command (remember to import the ActiveDirectory module!):

$GroupPrefix = "CTS FH "
$MemberList = Get-ADGroup -ldapFilter "(&(objectClass=Group)(name=$GroupPrefix*))" -Properties Members
foreach ($MemberItem in $MemberList)
  write ""
  write "Membership for: $MemberItem"

And that’s it!  You should have a list of group members for the correlating groups. 

So as usual, we have a couple ways to do a few different things.  Have fun with it!



2017-07-27T00:01:04+00:00 February 6th, 2013|Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Jeremy is just a regular guy that likes to occasionally tell the world about stuff.