Comparing Active Directory Permissions

Every now and then you might be required to compare Active Directory account permissions. When it concerns one or few accounts, you could do the manual side-by-side comparison using Active Directory and Computers. However, when you need to check multiple accounts this task becomes tedious.

Now you could follow the practice laid out by Exchange fellow Andy Grogan here,  generating permissions output using Quest Active Roles and comparing the textual output with a comparison utility like WinMerge or WinDiff. But you can also perform this comparison using PowerShell’s Compare-Object cmdlet, which I’ll show you here.

For this task we’re going to use the Quest AD extensions (Active Roles), which you can download here. Install these extensions on a domain-joined system where PowerShell is already installed. After installation, start the ActiveRoles Management Shell and enter the following, where IdA and IdB are the Identities of the objects you want to compare:

$a= Get-QadPermission <IdA> -Inherited -SchemaDefault
$b= Get-QadPermission <IdB> -Inherited –SchemaDefault

Now $a and $b contain the permission sets of both objects. Next, we’re going to utilize compare-object to compare these two sets. When we use Compare-Object $a $b you get the following output:

image

Not quite helpful this output but it isn’t unexpected. Since we’re comparing two object sets compare-object generates a result with objects. We can make this more readable by specifying the PassThru parameter so we can post-process these objects, like displaying certain fields using the Format-Table cmdlet, e.g.

Compare-Object $a $b -PassThru | ft SideIndicator,AccountName,Rights,Source,ApplyTo

image

Presto! The SideIndicator  is included to see in which set the attribute is contained, e.g. “<=” means the element is contained in the 1st specified (reference) object and “=>” means its is contained in the 2nd (difference) object.

If you want to include equal objects in the output as well, add the IncludeEqual parameter to the Compare-Object cmdlet.

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