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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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>

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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

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Select Add to make then available in the displayed columns.

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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.

16 thoughts on “Display Operating System and Service Pack information in Active Directory Users and Computers.

  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.

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