Is Your Active Directory in the Toilet?

If you don't know what you're doing, it could all go down the drain

The best lessons are those you learn in the bathroom. About a year ago, I dropped my cell phone into the toilet. (Don’t ask.) Although my cell had survived previous underwater adventures, this time it went kaput.


When I got my replacement phone, I decided that instead of transferring my contacts, I’d try to memorize all the numbers. Not surprisingly, my plan turned out just like my original phone’s trip to the john. When I missed a call, I had to wait to reply until I could double-check the number (which I rarely remembered to do), resulting in many forgotten, unreturned calls—and as you might guess, a few unforgiving friends. If I could have dedicated more time to the project, I would have completed it successfully (and still be on speaking terms with a couple more pals). But I was too busy with all the other things I have to do each day, so my efforts fizzled out.


Recently, one of our resident experts (aka editors), Caroline Marwitz, told me that IT pros feel the same way about Active Directory (AD)—but unlike me, they can’t give up. After Caroline brought me up to speed about what the heck AD is, she explained that most IT pros don’t specialize in AD—it’s just one item on their lengthy to-do lists. AD is complex, and some readers told her that they don’t have the time to learn all its ins and outs and need guidance. For those readers and others who feel the same way, she recommends the January 2008 Windows IT Pro article “Avoid Active Directory Pain,” InstantDoc ID 97611. And (if you promise not to notice that it’s something I should have created) you should check out Caroline’s “compendium of Active Directory articles” at InstantDoc ID 95586.


When our company merged with another organization, our AD was all screwed up. (Honestly, it kind of still is.) At the time, I was quick to criticize; I didn’t understand why people no longer working at the company were still in my Outlook address book. But after losing the battle with my Contacts list and having my enlightening conversation with Caroline, I get it. I now have a new respect for all our Penton IT folks—it can’t be fun fishing AD out of the potty.

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