Install Active Directory Users and Computers via PowerShell

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) is an essential tool for IT administrators working in Windows environments. It provides a graphical interface to administer and manage user accounts, groups, and objects within Active Directory (AD). While earlier versions of Windows required administrators to download the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) separately, Windows 11 and Windows 10 have integrated RSAT as a set of “Features on Demand.”

This means that instead of hunting down a separate download, you can directly install ADUC and other RSAT tools from within the operating system. In this article, we’ll explore the steps to install RSAT Active Directory Users and Computers and the associated Active Directory PowerShell module using 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, with its powerful cmdlets and wide range of capabilities, simplifies the process of installing various features in Windows. Here’s how you can use it to install Active Directory Users and Computers on a Windows 11 or 10 client PC.

  1. Open PowerShell as an Administrator: To do this, press the Windows key, type “PowerShell”, right-click on “Windows PowerShell”, and choose “Run as administrator”.Windows 11 PowerShell Run as administrator
  2. Before you install any features using PowerShell, ensure your computer is connected to the internet.
  3. To install ADUC, run the following command:
    Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools

    PowerShell Install Active Directory Users and Computers in Windows 11 10

  4. Once executed, the command will communicate with Windows Update to fetch and install the necessary components. After a brief wait, you should see a success message.Installing Active Directory Users and Computers in Windows 11

Remember, specifying the version (like ~~~~ is optional. Omitting it instructs Windows to fetch and install the latest available version.

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

Installing Active Directory PowerShell Module

The Active Directory PowerShell Module is a vital extension to the PowerShell command-line interface, offering specialized cmdlets for managing AD. This module isn’t automatically installed with the ADUC GUI tools, so it requires a separate installation step. Here’s how to get it up and running:

  1. With PowerShell still open as an Administrator, input the following command:
    Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name Rsat.AD.PowerShell

    Install Active Directory PowerShell Module

  2. Execute the command, which will then liaise with Windows Update to source and set up the necessary components. Wait a moment, and you should be greeted with a success notification once the installation wraps up.
  3. After the installation, you can immediately start using the AD cmdlets. To make them available in your current session, type:
    Import-Module ActiveDirectory

    Import ActiveDirectory PowerShell Module
    This step loads the Active Directory module, allowing you to utilize cmdlets such as Get-ADUser, Get-ADComputer, and many others tailored for AD operations.

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

Installing ADUC in Windows 11/10 via CMD

While PowerShell is an extremely powerful tool for most administrative tasks in Windows, some users might prefer using the more traditional Command Prompt (CMD). While CMD doesn’t have the breadth of cmdlets that PowerShell does, you can still employ DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) to add features. Here’s how to use CMD to install ADUC:

  1. Open Command Prompt as an Administrator: Press the Windows key, type “cmd”, right-click on “Command Prompt”, and choose “Run as administrator”.
  2. Ensure you are connected to the internet, as the features will be fetched from Windows Update.
  3. To install ADUC using CMD, input the following command:
    dism /online /add-capability /capabilityname:Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools

    Install Active Directory Users and Computers via Command Prompt
    The command communicates with Windows Update to source and install the necessary components. Once the process concludes, you should see a success message.
    Installing ADUC in Windows 11 10 via CMD

  4. [Optional] If you wish to also install the Active Directory PowerShell Module via CMD, use the command:
    dism /online /add-capability /capabilityname:Rsat.AD.PowerShell

    Again, the command will connect to Windows Update to install the component. Once completed, you’ll be able to use the AD-specific cmdlets in PowerShell.

As with PowerShell, specifying the version (like ~~~~ is not mandatory. Leaving it out prompts Windows to install the latest appropriate version of the tool.

Related resource: Using PowerShell to Test Port Connection Without Telnet

Post-installation steps

Once you have installed ADUC, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with its features and ensure it’s working as expected:

  1. Launching ADUC:
    • Press Windows + R, type “dsa.msc”, and press Enter. This will open 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 computer is a part of an Active Directory domain, ADUC should automatically connect to a domain controller. However, if you need to connect to a different domain, right-click on “Active Directory Users and Computers” at the top of the tree in the left pane and select “Change Domain”.
    • To connect to a specific domain controller within the current domain, choose “Change Domain Controller”.Active Directory Users and Computers Change Domain
  3. Exploring ADUC:
    • Familiarize yourself with the various containers and organizational units (OUs) within the domain. Here, you can manage users, groups, computers, and other objects.
  4. PowerShell module:
    • If you installed the Active Directory PowerShell module, launch PowerShell and type Import-Module ActiveDirectory to start using Active Directory cmdlets.

Troubleshooting common ADUC installation issues

While the installation process is typically straightforward, you might encounter some hiccups. Here are solutions to common problems:

  1. Installation failures:
    • Ensure you are connected to the internet, as some features might be downloaded from Windows Update.
    • Verify that you’re running the commands with elevated permissions.
  2. ADUC not connecting to domain:
    • Ensure your computer has network connectivity to the domain controller.
    • Validate domain credentials; you might need higher privileges to view or modify certain objects.
  3. Missing tabs or features in ADUC:
    • Some tabs or features might only appear if you have installed additional Windows features or if you have the appropriate permissions in Active Directory. For example, the “Attribute Editor” tab will only appear if “Advanced Features” is enabled from the “View” menu.
  4. PowerShell module errors:
    • Ensure you’ve installed the Rsat.AD.PowerShell feature.
    • Confirm you’re running the commands in a PowerShell window with elevated permissions.


Typically, RSAT tools like Active Directory Users and Computers are installed on client machines rather than directly on domain controllers or other servers. When administrators need to install Active Directory Users and Computers on a client machine, the usual approach has been navigating through the system settings: “Settings” > “Apps” > “Optional features”. This GUI method offers a visual, user-friendly interface, making it the most common method to install such on-demand features.

Install ADUC via Optional Features in Windows 11

However, there can be scenarios or requirements that necessitate a more programmatic approach, be it for automation, scripting, or just personal preference. Should you find yourself in a situation where you want or need to install ADUC via the command line, either through PowerShell or Command Prompt, this guide offers clear instructions. As with any system modification or software installation, it’s always wise to test it on a non-production machine first and ensure you follow best practices to prevent any unexpected issues.

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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