How to Manage a Windows Server 2008 DC Using the Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC)

The Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC) was introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2, and has been improved in subsequent releases. In this Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to use ADAC to remotely manage earlier versions of Windows Server.

Active Directory Web Service

Windows Server 2008 R2 included for the first time the Active Directory Web Service, which allows PowerShell to interact with Active Directory (AD), also enabling the Active Directory Administrative Center because it uses PowerShell behind the scenes. To manage DCs (both writeable and read-only) that run earlier versions of Windows Server using the AD PowerShell module or ADAC, you need to install the Active Directory Management Gateway Service.

The gateway allows management of full Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), and Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) on DCs running Windows Server 2003 SP2 or later.


Active Directory Administrative Center

Install Active Directory Management Gateway Service on Windows Server 2008 SP2

Download the Active Directory Management Gateway Service from Microsoft. You will need to choose the correct package for your server. In this example, I’m running Windows Server 2008 SP2 64bit edition, so I will download Windows6.0-KB968934-x64.msu. If you are installing the gateway service on Windows Server 2003 or Server 2003 R2, download Windows5.2-KB968934-x64.exe or Windows5.2-KB968934-x86.exe, as appropriate to the architecture of your server’s processor.

Before proceeding, make sure that the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (or later) is installed. Additional hotfixes may be required for Windows Server 2003, so see the download page for more information. Run the downloaded package, follow the simple install instructions, and restart the server.

Use ADAC to Manage Windows Server 2008 SP2

When the server has rebooted, you’ll be able to run ADAC from a remote computer to manage AD on the domain controller where you installed the gateway service. Don’t forget that the Active Directory Management Gateway Service doesn’t allow you to use ADAC directly on servers prior to Windows Server 2008 R2. You will need to download the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) and install them on a management server or workstation.

For more information on installing and using RSAT, check out “Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 8: Download and Install” on Petri.