ADModify .net

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After Carlos Magalhaes blogged about the way the DisplayName is automatically formatted in the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC Snap-in (dsa.msc or ADUC as Carlos refers to it) for new users I remembered the time a customer of mine wanted to have the Display names in de Global Address List (GAL) within Microsoft Exchange after the migration. The tool I used back then was ADModify .net and it did exactly what I wanted it to do.

The story on ADModify

ADModify started its life as a GUI tool to bulk modify attributes for Active Directory objects. Nowadays in the Windows Server 2003 era (where you can bulk modify a lot of attributes within the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC Snap-in) this tool isn't as world shocking as it was in the Windows 2000 dynasty. Although you can now bulk modify a lot of attributes 2.x still offers some functionality unbeaten by the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC Snap-in:

  • Bulk modification of any Active Directory® directory service attribute from any Active Directory partition with almost limitless flexibility
  • Administrators are no longer restricted by the attributes hard coded into ADModify, because it contains the ability to modify any attribute using its name and value
  • ADModify is not restricted to literal values
  • ADModify can dynamically build values based on current Active Directory attributes
  • Logging in XML
  • Undo

For commandline fetishists 2.x also offers a commandline tool with the same functionality as the GUI. While writing this page ADModify .Net 2.1 is the current release.

Getting started with ADModify .net 2.1

Using ADModify .net is as easy as any MMC snap-in that already accompanies Microsoft Windows Server.


Although using ADModify is as easy as using the other management tools that Microsoft offers you there is a significant risk involved in using ADModify. When using the standard functionality of ADModify there's not much harm you can do (and undo) but you can make modifications that affect a lot of your users. This might not be what you want, so I urge you not to lose your head when using the tool and don't make any changes you're not feeling confident about. The standard shizzle on making backups and making changes in a test environment before making them in your production environment applies as well…

'Installing' the tool

You can download ADModify from the ADModify .net Workspace Home where you'll find it packed in a ZIP archive.

Unzipping the archive leaves you with both programs, (ADModCmd.exe and ADModify.exe) an elaborate help file (ADModify2.1.chm) and four dynamically linked libraries. If you plan on using the tool after your first use it's probably wise to move the extracted files in a folder within your 'Program Files' folder, but you can also just leave it cluttering your desktop: it won't affect the functionality of the tool in any way. Starting the program is only a double click on ADModify.exe away.


Changing the DisplayName for existing accounts

To change the DisplayName for existing accounts from the standard 'FirstName LastName' to 'LastName, FirstName' using ADModify .net you only have to undertake ten simple steps:

Step 1.
In the main screen of ADModify choose the option 'Modify Attributes'.

Step 2.
In the Domain List select your domain.

Step 3.
After that select a domain controller in the Domain Controller List.

Step 4.
Unselect all other options than 'Users' and 'Contacts' under 'Show only:'.

Step 5.
Press the green button with the shape of an arrow in it next to the Domain Controller List.

Step 6.
Select users in your Organizational Units and add them to the list in the right with the 'Add To List ->' button

Step 7.
When your done selecting the objects to modify by clicking on the 'Select All' button and then the 'Next>>>' button.

Step 8.
In the attributes windows select the 'Display Name' option and click the predefined Lastname, Firstname shortcut above it.

If you want the names of your users changed within the Active Directory Users and Computers Snap-in (dsa.msc) than also select 'Change CN (RDN)' click the predefined Lastname, Firstname shortcut next to it.

Step 9.
Press the 'Go!' button

Step 10.
In the operation summary screen press 'OK'.


Carlos' blogpost can be used to format the DisplayName for new users. With this post you can also modify the DisplayName of your existing users so your organization can live happily ever after with one structural way of formatting the DisplayName.[Y]

Further reading

How to change display names of Active Directory users (KB250455)
Introduction to ADModify.Net on Microsoft Technet
ADModify.NET Workspace Home (download ADModify here)
Wikipedia on Jochem de Bruin (unfortunately only available in Dutch)

2 Responses to ADModify .net


    Do I even need to tell you what a great post this is 😉

    AdModify is a GREAT tool, just a note people can also use Programming languages to do this (But why reinvent the wheel ;))

    Great as usual!


    JiJi Technologies Provides customize Features for me.
    It's a great tool! look here.

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