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Active Directory Cookbook third edition

The original AD cookbook by Robbie Allen was published back in 2003. It has been one of my favourite, and most referenced, books.  When I used to use VBScript (shudder) it was indispensible and saved me vast amounts of time.  One AD implementation I did we created the whole AD structure – OUs, Sites, Subnets, Links etc form a single script! Even after moving to PowerShell I found the book very useful as I could translate the scripts in the book into PowerShell.

The third edition has just been published – ISBN 9780596521103. Like the second edition it is co-authored by Laura E Hunter and Robbie Allen. My first impression is that it is a huge book with 1015 pages of fairly small type. It has definitely grown from the first edition. 21 chapters supply nearly 500 recipes to solve AD administration problems. This edition has expanded a bit to cover ADAM\ADLS, ADFS, Exchange and ILM as well as AD itself.

Most of the recipes will present a problem and show how to solve it using the GUI tools, command line utilities, VBScript and PowerShell. Not all possibilities are available for all recipes.

Having been very impressed with the original I was delighted to see that the high quality has been maintained. The descriptions are concise but cover the required information.

The PowerShell sections feel like a last minute addition in places and could do with being a bit more consistent. In places the solutions jump from scripts to the Quest AD cmdlets and back again with no explanation.  The explanatory chapter at the front could do with more PowerShell content. I think a beginner would find getting into the PowerShell scripts harder than the VBScripts.  With Windows 2008 R2 including AD cmdlets I think the next edition would be the time to adopt a consistent approach to the PowerShell content and make it the primary scripting tool in the book.

Even with those comments this is an excellent book that I would have no hesitation in recommending. If you have the 1st edition buy it – its worth the upgrade. If you don’t have a copy buy it. Just buy it – if you do any AD admin work the book will pay for itself in the time you save.

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