Category Archives: 17349

Deleting AD Users with PowerShell – Why is a user not a leaf object?

I’ve been re-writing some automated processes around user account lifecycle recently, making use of the Active Directory PowerShell module on Windows Server 2012. Most recently this involved removing a large number of expired user accounts. On the first attempt of trying to remove the user objects I was receiving this error for a number of them, seemingly at random:


Remove-ADObject : The directory service can perform the requested operation only on a leaf object


So why would a user object in AD not be a leaf object? It turns out that when a user connects a device to Exchange with EAS, there’s an AD object created for that device inside the user object and that is what is stopping the user being a leaf object.


You might search for this and find advice on using Remove-ActiveSyncDevice before you remove the user. The trouble with that is that if you’ve got multiple versions of Exchange running in your org, then you might find that you can’t remove the ActiveSyncDevice for all your users with the same method.


It doesn’t matter anyway because the point is that the user isn’t a leaf; it has turned into a container, so what do you need to do to delete a container? Simply do a recursive remove. In the case of what I’ve been doing, this does the job:


$30daysago = (get-date).AddDays(-30)
Get-ADUser -filter {accountexpirationdate -lt $30daysago} | Remove-ADObject -Recursive

Free Microsoft Tech Showcase Events

Microsoft has teamed up with some of its Microsoft Learning Partners to provide free first-look clinics covering Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012, SQL Server 2012, Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Lync 2013.


These events are happening all around the world, so you should hopefully find one near to you. I found out about these from a Microsoft UK blog that said they were being run “across the UK” – looking at the currently published list of events, “across the UK” is defined as London and Wokingham, so your mileage may vary.


Still, it’s worth a journey because event offers these opportunities:


  • Lead the Technology Wave – Get a first-hand look at new, breakthrough product features available with Microsoft’s most recent technology releases.
  • World-Class Education – Receive instruction from Learning Partners – the premier technical and instructional specialists endorsed by Microsoft to deliver training on Microsoft technologies.
  • Boost your Career – Learn about the latest Microsoft training and certification offerings to elevate your skills to the next level.

To find an event near you, head over to http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/community/events.aspx