I recently found a need to have Operating System and Service Pack information displayed dynamically in Active Directory Users and Computers rather than have it hardcoded into the Description attribute of the computer object.

I remembered that many moons ago, I had seen Dean Wells demonstrate this ability, so I dug out my notes and thought I would share (but Kudos to Dean).

If you open Active Directory Users and Computers, navigate to an OU and then select View Add/Remove Columns, we can see that the information about the Operating System is not available to add as a column.


But if we right click on a computer object  we can see that the Active Directory knows about the computers Operating System and Service Pack information.


If you view the computers attributes, we can see how these attributes are stored in Active Directory


The attributes I am interested in displaying in Active Directory Users and Computers are:

operatingSystem and operatingSystemServicePack

To add them to the Add/Remove columns tab, logon to the Active Directory with Schema Admin privileges, and start ADSIEDIT.MSC.

Navigate to the Configuration Partition and then DisplaySpecifiers and then select the code page for your language. For me this is 409.


navigate to CN=organizationalUnit-Display double click and navigate to extraColumns


Double Click extraColumns and add the following two values.

operatingSystem,Operating System,0,150,0
operatingSystemServicePack,Service Pack,0,150,0

These values equate to:

<ldapDisplayName>,<Column Title>,<Displayed by default>,<Column Width>,<unused>



Once the values are added, navigate your way out of ADSIEDIT.MSC and open Active Directory Users and Computers.  Once again navigate to an OU and then select View Add/Remove Columns we can now see two additional columns


Select Add to make then available in the displayed columns.


We now have Operating System and Service Pack information available at a glance, but many of the other attributes can be added in exactly the same way.


  1. I am in the US and do not know how to find out what code page I am using. I have Googled this without any success. Can anyone help me? Thanks!

  2. Regarding previous post, someone has helped me with this, and I have made the changes mentioned in this article, but the fields are still not showing up when I go to add them in Active Directory. Does this require a reboot to take effect or anything like that? Or can anyone suggest any other reason these fields may not be appearing in the available field list in AD?

      1. I was able to follow the instructions, and i see the new columns (i used 1,150,0) in buckets that i have created but NOT in the default “Computers” bucket.

  3. This did not work for me! I can re open ADSI edit and verify the values are still present, but it is not an option under “View > Add/Remove Columns” in AD Users and Computers under the “Computers” OU. What am I missing?

      1. I never did. To be honest, it has been so long I don’t remember where I left off, but I think I was at the same point as Matt who posted on 2/27 – after following the instructions as best I could I did not have the columns available to add under Add/Remove Columns. I am an outside IT tech and only at the client where I needed this twice a week, but next time I am there I will try to refresh my memory on where I left off. Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions, please post and I will try them when I am there.

  4. I had the same issue where I followed all the steps, but they still weren’t listed as options for columns under computers.

    Turns out I had to add the extra columns to CN=Containers rather than CN=organizationalUnit-Display. I followed all the other steps exactly, just went to Containers instead. Thought I’d post in case this can help anyone else.

  5. Thank you Mark. This worked like a charm. One question, is there a way to add a column to display the OS Bit Version?

  6. With using Windows 2012R2 Enterprise on DC and having a mix of Windows 7/10 machines in our domain, I’ve updated our CN=409,CN=organizationalUnit-Display to have the following:

    displayName,Display Name,0,100,0
    givenName,First Name,0,100,0
    homeMDB,Exchange Mailbox Store,0,100,0
    mail,E-Mail Address,0,100,0
    mailNickname,Exchange Alias,0,175,0
    msds-PhoneticCompanyName,Phonetic Company Name,0,100,0
    msds-PhoneticDepartment,Phonetic Department,0,100,0
    msds-PhoneticDisplayName,Phonetic Display Name,0,100,0
    msds-PhoneticFirstName,Phonetic First Name,0,100,0

    msds-PhoneticLastName,Phonetic Last Name,0,100,0
    msExchIMMetaPhysicalURL,Instant Messaging URL,0,140,0
    msExchIMPhysicalURL,Instant Messaging Home Server,0,170,0
    postalCode,Zip Code,0,100,0
    sAMAccountName,Pre-Windows 2000 Logon Name,0,120,0
    sn,Last Name,0,100,0
    targetAddress,Target Address,0,100,0
    telephoneNumber,Business Phone,0,100,0
    textEncodedORAddress,X.400 E-Mail Address,0,130,0
    title,Job Title,0,100,0
    userPrincipalName,User Logon Name,0,200,0

    operatingSystem,Operating System,0,150,0
    operatingSystemServicePack,Service Pack,0,150,0

    These settings will be used instead of “CN=default-Display” because once you write a value to CN=organizationalUnit-Display, it looks there instead.
    I’ve included all of the original ones from CN=default-Display, copied from it directly.
    Allow replication time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.