If you've ever used a tool like Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA), you may have wondered how it figures out what your Exchange topology looks like. Just as ExBPA discovers your environment by examining the Active Directory, you can use tools to examine your Active Directory and see what is stored by Exchange into the Active Directory. One such tool that you can use is named LDP.
Obligatory warning: Take real care when using tools such as LDP, admod, or dsmod. Making manual changes to your Active Directory can break it. That would be a very bad thing. However, using the tools to interrogate Active Directory to determine how things work or to examine various settings not easily visible through the standard administrative interfaces can be a great timesaver.
You install LDP as part of the Windows Support Tools. If you have not yet installed the Windows Support Tools, you can find them by going to //www.microsoft.com/downloads and searching on 'Windows Support Tools'. Choose the version for your operating system and service pack. LDP is a very powerful tool for both interrogating and updating your Active Directory.
To use LDP to find Exchange information in the Active Directory, execute the following procedure on an Exchange server computer:
- Click Start->Run and enter ldp.exe into the Open box and then click OK.
- Click Connection->Connect and then click OK to open a connection.
- Click Connection->Bind and then enter a user and password and then click OK to create a binding to the Active Directory (if you do not enter a user and password with access to the Exchange organization, then expanding the organization and lower level items in the tree will fail).
- Click View->Tree and then click OK to view the entire Active Directory (this assumes a single domain forest) LDP defaults to the domain of the domain controller to which you are connected if you do not specify the distinguishedName of an object at this point).
- In the left pane, expand the domain tree.
- Double-click on the line that begins 'CN=Configuration" (not the line that begins 'CN=Microsoft Exchange System Objects").
- Double-click on the line that begins 'CN=Services".
- Double-click on the line that begins 'CN=Microsoft Exchange".
- Double-click on the line that begins 'CN=First Organization" (or whatever you named your Exchange organization).
- Now you can view the Active Directory information for your Exchange organization.
Most of the information is stored quite similarly to the view available from the Exchange System Manager. Spend some time investigating this data including all of the attributes and their properties. At some point, being able to do this will provide you worthwhile value.
For more information about finding Microsoft Exchange data in Active Directory using LDP, see Microsoft KB 252335, How to Use Ldp.exe to View Entire Directory Tree and Locate the Microsoft Exchange Container. For general information about using LDP to extract information from Active Directory, see Microsoft KB 224543, Using Ldp.exe to Find Data in the Active Directory and KB 255602, XADM: Browsing and Querying Using the LDP Utility. For a good general overview of LDP, refer to LDP.doc, which is typically installed at C:\Program Files\Support Tools\LDP.doc.
How to Use Ldp.exe to View Entire Directory Tree and Locate the Microsoft Exchange Container
XADM: Browsing and Querying Using the LDP Utility
Windows Support Tools