Monthly Archives: October 2016

Importing users into Active Directory

When you need to create a single user in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), the tendency is to just "do it" in the GUI - either Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) or Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC). But if you've got 25 users to add, or even 5 users to add, that's just painful. Plus, having this scripted ensures that each user is correctly entered following the same format.

For me, the easiest way to do this is by putting the users in a spreadsheet and then leveraging PowerShell's Import-CSV command. So, for the sake of argument, let's assume I have 8 new users to add to my domain. I open Excel, and create a spreadsheet with the following information for each user: Name, Given Name, Surname, Display Name, SamAccountName, and Description. The spreadsheet would look like this:blog_01

We'll save that as "TreyUsers.csv", and ignore any warnings about formatting, etc. This gives us a file with:

David Guy,David,Guy,Dave R. Guy,Dave,Customer Appreciation Manager
Alfredo Fettucine,Alfredo,Fettuccine,Alfie NoNose,Alfie,Shop Foreman
Stanley Behr,Stanley,Behr,Stanley T. Behr, Stanley,Webmaster
Priscilla Catz,Priscilla,Catz,Dame Priscilla,Priscilla,Shop Steward
Harold Catz,Harold,Catz,Harold S. Catz,Harold,Engineering Manager
William Wallace,William,Wallace,Sir William Wallace,Wally,Marketing Manager
Trey Barksdale,Trey,Barksdale,Lord Barksalot,Trey,Sales Manager
Charlie Derby,Charles,Derby,Sparky,Sparky,Chief Security Officer

Now, we use PowerShell's Import-CSV to import this set of users into a variable $TreyUsers.

$TreyUsers = Import-CSV TreyUsers.csv

To create the users, we'll use a simple ForEach loop:

ForEach ($user in $TreyUsers ) {
   New-AdUser -DisplayName $User.DisplayName `
              -Description $user.Description `
              -GivenName $user.GivenName `
              -Name $User.Name `
              -SurName $User.SurName `
              -SAMAccountName $User.SAMAccountName `
              -Enabled $True `
              -ChangePasswordAtLogon $True `
              -PasswordNeverExpires $False `
              -UserPrincipalName $user.SAMAccountName `
              -AccountPassword (ConvertTo-SecureString `
                   -AsPlainText `
                   -Force `
                   -String 'P@ssw0rd!' ) 2>$NULL

(If you find that plain text password a bit problematic, use a Read-Line -AsSecureString early in the script to prompt you for an initial password. )

Finally, if you want to copy the security groups of an existing template user, stay tuned -- I'll cover that shortly


ETA: To correct ill-advised use of double-quotes in ConvertTo-SecureString.

PowerShell: Get-Credential from a file

If you routinely have to log into a separate domain, it can be a nuisance to always have to run Get-Credential. Plus writing scripts with a -Credential parameter is a nuisance because if you call Get-Credential in the script, it will always prompt you.


I run a separate lab network here, with an Active Directory domain of I got tired of always having scripts prompt me for credentials, or even more annoying, have routine PowerShell commands against computers in the lab fail because I didn't have credentials for that domain. The answer is pretty simple -- first, I stored my password securely in a file with:

Read-Host -AsSecureString `
         | ConvertFrom-SecureString `
         | Out-File $Home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\TCred.txt

Now, I can use that password to create a PSCredential object that I can pass into a script.

$tPW = Get-Content $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\TCred.txt `
         | ConvertTo-SecureString
$tCred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential `
                    -ArgumentList "TreyResearch\Charlie",$tPW


Because of the way SecureString works, and how Windows encrypts and decrypts objects, this password can only be read from the account that created it. Now, if I want to add a -Credential parameter to my scripts, I use the following:

      $Credential = $NULL

if ( $Credential ) {
   $tCred = $Credential
} else {
   $tPW = Get-Content $home\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\TCred.txt `
        | ConvertTo-SecureString 
   $tCred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential `
                       -ArgumentList "TreyResearch\Charlie",$tPW

ETA: if you create a script for this, you'll need to "dot source" the script to add the credential to your environment, but you can use that script in the pipeline to insert a credential into the pipeline. Or, add the relevant lines into your $Profile, and the credential is then available in your environment.