DirectoryTroubleshooter can help you become one with AD.
What did the Zen Buddhist say to the hot-dog vendor?
“Make me one with everything.”
It seems that whenever the folks at NetPro come out with a new product,
they get you one step closer to truly being “one” with Active Directory.
NetPro’s latest product, DirectoryTroubleshooter, lets you easily target
AD and run hundreds of troubleshooting tests. These tests can query AD
and return a plethora of “nuts and bolts” information, such as the status
of registry entries in the DNS server, as well as what services a particular
domain controller claims to own—such as PDC Emulator or KDC.
As it turns out, you can perform most of these tests for free with the
tools in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit and Support Tools. The basic tools-such
as Repadmin, replmon, and ADdiag-can all, theoretically, answer your thorniest
AD questions. And NetPro is happy to tell you this. So why does it want
you to buy this software? Because, in general, the command-line tools
answer the question: “How is a specific server today?” instead of, “How
is my entire AD today?” Even if you do handcraft the Microsoft command-line
utilities into well-oiled batch files, can you keep them updated when
things change in your environment? Also, can everyone using the batch
files at your company decipher the potentially esoteric output?
That’s where DirectoryTroubleshooter comes in. Point the software toward
a single DC, and you’re off—interrogating your entire domain. There’s
an intuitive interface, which allows the administrator to drill down into
various AD categories in a left-hand pane. Once at the destination, the
available tests for the selected focus are available in a right-hand pane
(see Figure). This helps immensely if you think you know where the trouble
is but aren’t sure which test to run. DirectoryTroubleshooter only shows
you the tests that are applicable for the segment of AD you’re trying
Run all the applicable tests, however, and you’re deluged with both helpful
(and not-so-helpful) information. While DirectoryTroubleshooter points
out “oddities” in AD, it also lists everything that’s working just fine.
The upshot is that DirectoryTroubleshooter simply returns way too much
information. Sometimes the items are things that actually need fixing;
however, most reported items aren’t all that interesting or in need of
attention. This program would be well served with an, “Only show me stuff
that’s broken” filtering option.
|NetPro’s DirectoryTroubleshooter lets you designate
how to test the health of your Active Directory domain. (Click
image to view larger version.)
The help file is excellent in determining what a specific DirectoryTroubleshooter
test accomplishes and even goes the extra mile and cross-references what
you would need to type into the command-line to get the same output from
Microsoft Resource Kit or Support Tools.
Sure, you could script the Microsoft command-line tools and update each
batch file whenever you make a domain controller change, move a server,
or remove a DNS zone—or you could use DirectoryTroubleshooter and have
the information at your fingertips. Similar to the Microsoft command-line
tools, DirectoryTroubleshooter doesn’t actually fix anything. It might,
however, bring you closer to the source and closer to being one with your
Jeremy Moskowitz, a Group Policy MVP, is the Chief Propeller-Head for Moskowitz, Inc. and GPanswers.com. He is one of less than a dozen Microsoft MVPs in Group Policy. Since becoming one of the world's first MCSEs, he has performed Active Directory and Group Policy planning and implementations for some of the nation’s largest organizations. His latest books are Group Policy Fundamentals, Security, and Troubleshooting and Creating the Secure Managed Desktop: Group Policy, SoftGrid, and Microsoft Deployment and Management Tools.