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Question: On Windows7, how can I explore the local active directory ?

I mean getting all directory entries I would see when I execute this code:

Dim AD As New System.DirectoryServices.DirectoryEntry("WinNT://" + Environment.MachineName & ",computer")

I have found a systernals tool, called activedirectory explorer,
and I run it as complete administrator (root), but it always says "server not working/running".

But the server obviously works, since I can query it from .net... and it's definitely local, since I plugged the network connection

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If you install the administration tools pack (from MS Downloads) you will get all the Server MMC snapins available in Add/Remove Windows Components (from Programs and Features).

This includes the AD administration tools.

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