Install Active Directory Users and Computers via PowerShell

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) is a handy tool for IT admins in Windows setups. It lets you take care of user accounts, groups, and other stuff in Active Directory (AD) through a nice visual setup. In the past, to get this tool, you had to download something called the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) separately. But now, if you’re using Windows 11 or Windows 10, you don’t have to do that. RSAT is part of the “Features on Demand,” so you can just add it straight from the system itself.

This article will show you how to add RSAT Active Directory Users and Computers and the Active Directory PowerShell module using either PowerShell or Command Prompt.

Install Active Directory Users and Computers via PowerShell

Installing Active Directory Users and Computers in Windows 11/10 via PowerShell

PowerShell makes it easy to add different features in Windows thanks to its powerful commands. Here’s how to use it to get Active Directory Users and Computers on your Windows 11 or 10 PC:

  1. First, you need to open PowerShell as an admin. Press the Windows key, type “PowerShell,” right-click on “Windows PowerShell,” and pick “Run as administrator”.Windows 11 PowerShell Run as administrator
  2. Make sure your PC is online before you start adding features with PowerShell.
  3. To add ADUC, type in this command:
    Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools

    PowerShell Install Active Directory Users and Computers in Windows 11 10

  4. After you run the command, it talks to Windows Update to download and add what’s needed. You’ll see a message when it’s done.Installing Active Directory Users and Computers in Windows 11

It’s okay to skip adding a version number when you run the command. If you don’t add it, Windows just gets the newest version available.

Also see: Run CMD, PowerShell or Regedit as SYSTEM in Windows 11

Installing Active Directory PowerShell Module

The Active Directory PowerShell Module is super handy for managing AD right from the command line. This bit doesn’t come with the ADUC visual tools and needs its own setup. Here’s how:

  1. Keep PowerShell open as an admin and run this command:
    Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name Rsat.AD.PowerShell

    Install Active Directory PowerShell Module

  2. Running this command also talks to Windows Update to get and set up what’s needed. Wait a bit, and you’ll see a message saying it’s done.
  3. Right after installing, you can start using the AD commands in your current session by typing:
    Import-Module ActiveDirectory

    Import ActiveDirectory PowerShell Module
    This loads the Active Directory module so you can use commands like Get-ADUser and Get-ADComputer for AD tasks.

Useful tip: How to Install Telnet via CMD or PowerShell in Windows 11

Installing ADUC in Windows 11/10 via CMD

While PowerShell is awesome for lots of Windows admin tasks, some folks might like the old-school Command Prompt (CMD) better. Even though CMD doesn’t have as many fancy commands as PowerShell, you can still use DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) to add features. Here’s the CMD way to get ADUC:

  1. Open Command Prompt as an admin by pressing the Windows key, typing “cmd,” right-clicking on “Command Prompt,” and picking “Run as administrator”.
  2. Being online is important here too, since the features come from Windows Update.
  3. To add ADUC with CMD, enter this command:
    dism /online /add-capability /capabilityname:Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools

    Install Active Directory Users and Computers via Command Prompt
    This also reaches out to Windows Update to download and add what you need. You’ll know it’s done when you see a message.
    Installing ADUC in Windows 11 10 via CMD

  4. If you want the Active Directory PowerShell Module too, use this command:
    dism /online /add-capability /capabilityname:Rsat.AD.PowerShell

    This also uses Windows Update to add the module. After that, you’re set to use the AD-specific commands in PowerShell.

Just like with PowerShell, you don’t have to specify a version number. Leaving it out means Windows picks the latest version for you.

Related resource: Using PowerShell to Test Port Connection Without Telnet

Post-installation steps

After you’ve added ADUC, here are some tips to get familiar with it and make sure everything’s running smoothly:

  1. Launching ADUC:
    • Hit Windows + R, type “dsa.msc”, and hit Enter. This opens the Active Directory Users and Computers interface.Open Active Directory Users and Computers Command
  2. Connect to a Domain or a specific Domain Controller:
    • If your PC is part of an Active Directory domain, ADUC will usually find a domain controller by itself. But if you need to hook up to a different domain, right-click on “Active Directory Users and Computers” at the top left and pick “Change Domain”.
    • For connecting to a specific domain controller in your current domain, choose “Change Domain Controller”.Active Directory Users and Computers Change Domain
  3. Exploring ADUC:
    • Take some time to check out the different areas and organizational units (OUs) in the domain. This is where you manage all the users, groups, computers, and more.
  4. PowerShell module:
    • If you added the Active Directory PowerShell module, open PowerShell and type Import-Module ActiveDirectory to dive into using Active Directory commands.

Troubleshooting common ADUC installation issues

Most times, adding ADUC goes smoothly, but sometimes you might hit a bump. Here are some common issues and how to fix them:

  1. Installation failures:
    • Check you’re online since some parts might need to come from Windows Update.
    • Make sure you’re using admin rights to run the commands.
  2. ADUC not connecting to domain:
    • Check your PC’s connection to the domain controller.
    • Make sure your domain login details are correct; you might need more rights to see or change certain things.
  3. Missing tabs or features in ADUC:
    • If you’re missing some options, it might be because you need more Windows features or the right permissions in Active Directory. For instance, the “Attribute Editor” tab shows up only if “Advanced Features” is turned on from the “View” menu.
  4. PowerShell module errors:
    • Double-check you’ve got the Rsat.AD.PowerShell feature added.
    • Make sure you’re using admin rights in PowerShell too.

Final notes

Usually, tools like Active Directory Users and Computers are set up on client PCs, not directly on servers. If you’re adding Active Directory Users and Computers to a client machine, the normal way is through the system settings: “Settings” > “Apps” > “Optional features”. This method is pretty straightforward and what most folks use because it’s visual and easy to understand.

Install ADUC via Optional Features in Windows 11

But, if you’re looking to add ADUC through the command line, either using PowerShell or Command Prompt, this guide has got you covered. Always a good idea to try these things on a test machine first to make sure everything goes smooth.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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