Changing User Information using Active Directory in VB.NET
If your company is one of the lucky Ones to implement Windows 2000 Active Directory you may have been looking for a way to populate it with data. Perhaps adding people’s details from a file directly into the Active Directory.
If your company is one of the lucky? Ones to implement Windows 2000 Active
Directory you may have been looking for a way to populate it with data. Perhaps
adding people's details from a file directly into the active directory.
The problem I faced was a brand new active directory and a brand new exchange
server 2000. In a standard Windows 2000 Active Directory, if I wanted to add a
contact I would use the Active Directory User's and Computers addin. However
when you install Exchange Server 2000 into such a network it makes extensive
modifications to the Active Directory Schema. Because of this, if you have
Exchange Server 2000 running you have to use Exchange's version of active
directory users and computers because only that version knows about Microsoft
Exchange's modification to the Active Directory Schema.
Phew, now I have set the scene, remember firstly to not test code like this on a
production active directory or face the wrath of your system admins J.
My problem was I have a .CSV file with 290 contacts which needed to be fed into
the Active Directory contacts, specifically in an Organization Unit or OU called
Of course I could have typed them all in by hand or spend an hour or so building
some C# code to do this. I choose the latter J.
My first task was to work out which fields I needed to update for a contact. The
way to do this is to use the CSVDE utility (included with windows 2000 server)
to output a .CSV file of a current OU. Doing this tells you what fields to use
to add the contact.
I wanted to modify four fields - first name, last name; display name, and email.
These translated in Active Directory terms to - givenname,sn,displayname,mail.
As you can see Active Directory fields are not always as intuitive as you think.
Now I needed a way to import the .CSV file one line at a time and give me the
four items of data. In other languages like VBA I would use string chopping
techniques like Left, Right and Instr but with C# the string class has a method
called Split . If you have not used this it allows you to give it a separator
character or multiple separators in a char array and return a string array.
Having used this the rest of the code is pretty straightforward.
Note that active directory will only add an item if all fields etc are correct.
In my case some of the emails had characters in them which active directory
bounced back. By using a try - catch block to catch these and outputting the
problem contacts to the console I was able to go back and modify them till all
290 contacts went cleanly into the Active Directory. In my case the code
completes in around 3 seconds.
Okay so now I have 290 contacts in Active Directory. The last problem was they
were not showing up in the Exchange Global Address List. The reason for this was
that they were not exchange enabled. This meant they were proper Active
Directory contacts but of course Exchange needed a lot more information before
they would appear in the global address list.
I could have spent more time researching this or do it the lazy way. If you go
into the Exchange version of active directory users and computers and go to
where you added the contacts you can right-click each contact, select Exchange
Tasks and then select an option to create the Exchange contact.
I manually updated 290 contacts in 15 minutes. Sometime you have to take the
long way as sometimes it's quicker.
You would be amazed how many companies have a Windows 2000 Active Directory but
have not added things like peoples details, addresses etc simply because nobody
wants to manually enter them. This article shows that as long as you have the
data in a file you can add it easily using code.
' Adds contacts from a CSV file into the Active Directory
' Written 08/12/02 by John O'Donnell
Shared Sub Main(ByVal args() As String)
Dim DSESearcher As System.DirectoryServices.DirectorySearcher
Dim RootDSE As String =
RootDSE = RootDSE.Insert(7, "ou=Email Contacts,")
Dim myDE As DirectoryEnTry
= New DirectoryEnTry(RootDSE)
Dim myEntries As DirectoryEntries
Dim fs As FileStream
= New FileStream
Dim sr As StreamReader
= New StreamReader(fs)
Dim i As Integer
= 1 To 291
- 1 Step i
Dim str As String =
Dim ca() As Char =
Dim sa() As String =
Dim myDirectoryEnTry As DirectoryEnTry
= myEntries.Add("CN=" + sa(2), "contact")
Catch e As Exception