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Managing Domain User Accounts

Domain user accounts are managed with the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. To access it, choose Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Active Directory Users and Computers. When you open the tool, you connect to an available domain controller. To specify which domain controller or domain you want to modify, right-click the Active Directory Users and Computers node and choose Connect to Domain or Connect to Domain Controller.

Unlike the local security database, which is a static list of users and groups, Active Directory has containers and OUs, which help organize database objects such as users, computers, printers, and other OUs. Therefore, to manage domain user accounts in Windows 2000 or Server 2003, you need to access the correct container or OU that houses your user object.

Creating Domain User Accounts

You create domain user accounts by right-clicking the container or OU that will contain the user account and then selecting New, User. A wizard prompts you for basic account properties, including the following:

  • First name and last name

  • Full name (by default, the combination of the first and last names)

  • User logon name and User Principal Name (UPN) suffix

  • User logon name (pre-Windows 2000)

  • Password

Creating Template User Accounts

When you expect to create multiple user objects with similar properties, you can create a "template" account that, when copied, initiates the new accounts with predefined attributes. One thing to keep in mind when working with templates is to disable the template account. This will ensure that a real user can’t access the network as the template user. Of course, when you copy the template account to create a new user, make sure you enable the new account.

Disabling and Deleting User Accounts

The process for disabling and deleting domain user accounts is the same as for local user accounts, except that you use the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in to perform the tasks. The check box for disabling an account is on the user’s Property sheet, or you can disable the account by right-clicking the user object and selecting the Disable Account menu option.

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