How to use Get-ADComputer in PowerShell

Need to export all computers from an OU, or look up a computer in your Active Directory? Or do you want to count how many computers you have? We can use the Get-ADComputer cmdlet in PowerShell to quickly extract computer information from the AD.

The Active Directory contains all the computers that are members of our domain. The management console is great to look up a single computer. But when you want to get details of single or multiple computers, then we need to use PowerShell.

In this article, we are going to take a look at how to use the Get-ADComputer cmdlet in PowerShell. I will also give you some useful examples when it comes to looking up and exporting AD computers. And as a bonus, if have added a complete script to export your Active Directory computers.

Install Active Directory Module

To be able to use the Get-ADComputer cmdlet in PowerShell you will need to have the Active Directory Module installed. By default, it’s installed on the domain controller, but on Windows 10 or 11 you will need to install it.

You can run the following PowerShell command in Windows 10 or 11 to install the module:

Add-WindowsCapability –online –Name “Rsat.ActiveDirectory.DS-LDS.Tools~~~~0.0.1.0”

Finding Computers with Get ADComputer in PowerShell

The Get-ADComputer cmdlet allows us to find computer objects in the Active Directory and extract information from them. The true power of this cmdlet is that it comes with different options to find those computer objects.

We have the following options when it comes to finding objects:

  • Identity – Find computers based on their name. This will return only a single computer
  • Filter – Retrieve multiple objects based on a query
  • LDAPFilter – Use a LDAP query string to filter the computer objects
  • SearchBase – Specify the Active Directory path (OU) to search in
  • SearchScope – Specify how deep you want to search (base level, one level, or complete subtree)

The identity parameter is mainly used when you know the computer’s SAMAccountName (computer name). This allows you to select a single computer from the Active Directory and view the properties of the account.

Get-ADComputer -identity la-computer-22
Get-ADComputer
Get-ADComputer

This will return the basic properties of the computer. We can use the -properties parameter to retrieve more information from the computer. I will explain more about retrieving different properties later in the article, but if you want to see all possible information about a computer account, then use the following command:

Get-ADComputer -identity la-computer-22 -properties *

Get ADComputer SearchBase

Most of the time when you want to retrieve computers from the Active Directory you want to narrow down the search base on OU. To do this we can use the -SearchBase parameter for the Get-ADComputer cmdlet. This allows us to specify the OU (distinguishedName) where we want to search.

The distinguishedName is the full path of the OU, which we write from the OU up the tree to the AD domain name.

Take the following AD structure, we want to get all computers from the Amsterdam site:

Active Directory Computers
SearchBase Path

The search base string, in this case, would be:

    1              2           3         4        5
"OU=Computers,OU=Amsterdam,OU=Sites,DC=Lazyadmin,DC=NL"

Thus to get all computers from the site Amsterdam, we can use the following PowerShell command:

Get-ADComputer -Filter * -SearchBase "OU=Computers,OU=Amsterdam,OU=Sites,DC=Lazyadmin,DC=NL" | ft

Using the SearchScope

The -SearchBase parameter will return all computers from the specified and nested OU’s. By using the -SearchScope parameter, we can specify how deep or not we want to search through the Active Directory tree.

Let’s say we want to get all computers from Amsterdam, except the computers that are in stock:

Nested OU

If we would use the searchbase that we created earlier, then all computers, including those in stock, will be returned, a total of 15 computers.

$searchBase = "OU=Computers,OU=Amsterdam,OU=Sites,DC=Lazyadmin,DC=NL"

$computers = Get-ADComputer -Filter * -SearchBase $searchBase
$computers.count   # Returns 15

To exclude the computers that are in Stock, we can use the SearchScope parameter. This allows us to limit the searchbase only to the current level:

$searchBase = "OU=Computers,OU=Amsterdam,OU=Sites,DC=Lazyadmin,DC=NL"

$computers = Get-ADComputer -Filter * -SearchBase $searchBase -SearchScope OneLevel
$computers.count    # Returns 12

Using the Filter parameter

The Get-ADComputer cmdlet is also a great way to find one or multiple computers in your AD. Although the computer object doesn’t contain a lot of information, we can still use a couple of the properties to filter on.

Let’s take a look at a couple of commonly used examples to find computers:

We can find a computer based on a part of the computer name with the -like filter:

Get-ADComputer -Filter "Name -like '*workstation*'" | ft

Note the wildcard, this means that there can be something in front and after the word “workstation”.

Get Computers based on OS

The Active Directory also keeps track of all operating systems on the computers. So we can also get all computers that are running Windows 10 Pro for example:

Get-ADComputer -Filter "OperatingSystem -eq 'Windows 10 Pro'" | ft
ad computer
Get all computers based on Operating System

We can also use multiple conditions, for example, to get all computers that running on Windows 10 or 11:

Get-ADComputer -Filter "OperatingSystem -eq 'Windows 10 Pro' -or OperatingSystem -eq 'Windows 11 Pro'" | ft

Get InActive Computers

Want to know how many inactive computers you have? We can filter the AD computers on the lastlogondate to extract all computers that are not used for the last 90 days for example.

For this, we first need to create a date variable, by taking the date from today and subtracting 90 days from it. We can then filter the AD Computers on the lastlogondate:

$date = (Get-Date) - (New-TimeSpan -Days 90)
Get-ADcomputer -Filter 'lastLogondate -lt $date' | ft

# Select the canonicalName,lastlogondate and name for a more readable list
Get-ADcomputer -Filter 'lastLogondate -lt $date' -properties canonicalName,lastlogondate | select name,canonicalname,lastlogondate | ft -AutoSize

Get all Disabled Computers

Another useful example is to get all disabled computers from the OU:

# Get all disabled computers
Get-ADComputer -Filter "Enabled -eq 'False'" | ft

# Get only enabled computers
Get-ADComputer -Filter "Enabled -eq 'True'" | ft

Get ADComputer Properties

As mentioned earlier in the article, the computer object doesn’t contain a lot of useful properties (compared to a user object). But there is still some useful information that can be extracted from the object.

Without specifying the properties, you only get computer name and distinguishedname related information. But other properties that are useful are for example:

  • BadLogonCount
  • BadPwdCount
  • IPv4Address
  • Enabled
  • LastLogOff
  • LastLogonDate
  • LogonCount
  • OperatingSystem
  • OperatingSystemVersion
  • WhenCreated

To get this information we can use the -properties parameter:

Get-ADComputer -identity la-computer-22 -Properties IPv4Address,LastLogonDate,OperatingSystem,OperatingSystemVersion,WhenCreated

Export AD Computer to CSV with PowerShell

Exporting results in PowerShell to CSV is pretty common. We all use PowerShell often to retrieve information only to process it further in Excel. I have written a complete guide about the Export-CSV cmdlet, but I also want to give you a couple of useful examples when working with the Get-ADComputer cmdlet.

To simply export all AD Computer object we can use the following command:

Get-ADComputer -filter * | Export-CSV c:\temp\computers.csv -NoTypeInformation

But as you will notice this will give not really the results that you are looking for. It will include all computer objects, enabled and disabled, and not really the information that we need.

Select the properties that we need

So the first step is to specify the fields that we really want to export. For example, if we want to export the name, canonicalname, operatingsystem, and LastLogonDate we could use the following command:

Get-ADComputer -filter * -properties canonicalname,operatingsystem,LastLogonDate | select name,canonicalname,operatingsystem,LastLogonDate | Export-CSV c:\temp\computers.csv -NoTypeInformation

Export only Enabled Computers

If you want to export only enable computers, you can add a filter to the cmdlet:

Get-ADComputer -filter "Enabled -eq 'true'" -properties canonicalname,operatingsystem,LastLogonDate | select name,canonicalname,operatingsystem,LastLogonDate | Export-CSV c:\temp\computers.csv -NoTypeInformation

Complete Export AD Computers to CSV Script

I have created a PowerShell script that will Export all AD Computers to CSV for you with the most commonly needed properties.

When you run the script you specify a couple of options:

  • Specify the searchBase (OU), default whole Active Directory
  • Get enabled or disabled computers or both (default only enabled)
  • Export path CSV file (default script location)

The script will get all the user accounts from the active directory if you don’t specify the searchBase (OU). It’s also possible to specify multiple OU’s:

.\Get-ADComputers.ps1 -searchBase "OU=computers,OU=Amsterdam,DC=LazyAdmin,DC=Local","OU=computers,OU=Oslo,DC=LazyAdmin,DC=Local" -path c:\temp\computers.csv

Follow these steps to export the AD Computers with the PowerShell script:

  1. Download the complete Export AD Computers script from my Github
  2. Open PowerShell and navigate to the script
  3. Run the export script: Get-ADComputers.ps1

When complete, the script will automatically open Excel for you.

param(
  [Parameter(
    Mandatory = $false,
    HelpMessage = "Enter the searchbase between quotes or multiple separated with a comma"
    )]
  [string[]]$searchBase,

  [Parameter(
    Mandatory = $false,
    HelpMessage = "Get computers that are enabled, disabled or both"
  )]
    [ValidateSet("true", "false", "both")]
  [string]$enabled = "true",

  [Parameter(
    Mandatory = $false,
    HelpMessage = "Enter path to save the CSV file"
  )]
  [string]$path = ".\ADcomputers-$((Get-Date -format "MMM-dd-yyyy").ToString()).csv"
)

Function Get-Computers {
    <#
    .SYNOPSIS
      Get computers from the requested DN
    #>
    param(
      [Parameter(
        Mandatory = $true
      )]
      $dn
    )
    process{
      # Set the properties to retrieve
      $properties = @(
        'Name',
        'CanonicalName',
        'OperatingSystem',
        'OperatingSystemVersion',
        'LastLogonDate',
        'LogonCount',
        'BadLogonCount',
        'IPv4Address',
        'Enabled',
        'whenCreated'
      )

      # Get enabled, disabled or both computers
      switch ($enabled)
      {
        "true" {$filter = "enabled -eq 'true'"}
        "false" {$filter = "enabled -eq 'false'"}
        "both" {$filter = ""}
      }

      # Get the computers
      Get-ADComputer -Filter $filter -searchBase $dn -Properties $properties | select $properties
    }
}


Function Get-AllADComputers {
  <#
    .SYNOPSIS
      Get all AD computers
  #>
  process {
    Write-Host "Collecting computers" -ForegroundColor Cyan
    $computers = @()

    # Collect computers
    if ($searchBase) {
      # Get the requested mailboxes
       foreach ($dn in $searchBase) {
         Write-Host "- Get computers in $dn" -ForegroundColor Cyan
         $computers += Get-Computers -dn $dn
       }
     }else{
       # Get distinguishedName of the domain
       $dn = Get-ADDomain | Select -ExpandProperty DistinguishedName
       Write-Host "- Get computers in $dn" -ForegroundColor Cyan
       $computers += Get-Computers -dn $dn
     }
 

    # Loop through all computers
    $computers | ForEach {

      [pscustomobject]@{
        "Name" = $_.Name
        "CanonicalName" = $_.CanonicalName
        "OS" = $_.OperatingSystem
        "OS Version" = $_.OperatingSystemVersion
        "Last Logon" = $_.lastLogonDate
        "Logon Count" = $_.logonCount
        "Bad Logon Count" = $_.BadLogonCount
        "IP Address" = $_.IPv4Address
        "Mobile" = $_.mobile
        "Enabled" = if ($_.Enabled) {"enabled"} else {"disabled"}
        "Date created" = $_.whenCreated
      }
    }
  }
}

Get-AllADComputers | Sort-Object Name | Export-CSV -Path $path -NoTypeInformation

if ((Get-Item $path).Length -gt 0) {
  Write-Host "Report finished and saved in $path" -ForegroundColor Green

  # Open the CSV file
  Invoke-Item $path

}else{
  Write-Host "Failed to create report" -ForegroundColor Red
}

Wrapping Up

The Get ADComputer cmdlet is really useful when it comes to exacting computers out of the Active Directory. Using the searchbase parameter allows you to quickly select the computer that you need from the specified OU.

To Export the AD Computers to CSV you can try the script. You can easily change the properties that it retrieves to your own need.

If you have any questions, just drop a comment below.

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6 thoughts on “How to use Get-ADComputer in PowerShell”

  1. Hello, I just want to thank you for providing a clear and simple explanation on how to use this very useful cmdlet.

    Please, keep doing this amazing job. Thanks to people like you I can learn and move forward on this wonderful and weird path of bein a sys admin.

    Thank you.

  2. Hello! I love this script. I wanted to see if it was possible to change the following:

    # Get enabled, disabled or both computers
    switch ($enabled)
    {
    “true” {$filter = “enabled -eq ‘true'”}
    “false” {$filter = “enabled -eq ‘false'”}
    “both” {$filter = “”}
    }

    To

    # Get Server, Workstation or all computers
    switch ($CType)
    {
    “Server” {$filter = “OperatingSystem -like “*windows*server*” “‘Server'”}
    “Workstation” {$filter = “OperatingSystem -like “*windows*workstation*” ‘Workstation'”}
    “All” {$filter = “OperatingSystem -like “*windows*workstation*” ‘All'”}
    }

  3. This script does not work (fixed now), gives a failed to create report at the end. However the report .csv is created in the path specified but it is zero bytes so there is nothing in it. I do not think that the get-adcomputer is working, I do not know where it is going wrong but nothing is retrieved from ad.
    And I have the right to retrieve the computers.
    When starting the script to Powershell 5 ise of core Powershell it says:
    collecting computers
    failed to create a report a few seconds later.

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