I've tried to do a search for an element in both Active Directory Explorer and Softerra LDAP Administrator and either of them are limited in the fact that they can search only for item on an entry in ActiveDirectory like sn or displayName or the like, I've tried to search for an entry but I don't know to which ActiveDirectory item is linked, so I tested with the ones that would be most posible but it doesn't show the entry I want.

So I'd need a way that every entry on the registry would be treated as a sort of string and if that string contains the expression I'm passing is into it, it should display the entry I'm searching.

I know Active directory Explorer lists all of the items to search for, but on my ActiveDirectory there's around 4000, so going one on one would be a bit too insane.

Thanks for your help.

  • It’s very likely LDAP doesn’t offer that option. Maybe your directory needs some cleanup of you have to search that way. ;)
    – Daniel B
    Nov 28, 2014 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


Is there any way to search on active directory without defining the field to search?

  1. Export to csv using csvde -f test.csv

  2. Open test.csv in excel or a text editor and look for the string you need.

Simplify admin tasks by exporting Active Directory data with CSVDE

Wouldn't it be great if we could extract the information stored in Active Directory for use in spreadsheets and checklists? Actually we can and it's not complicated at all!

CSVDE, what is it?

CSVDE stands for Comma Separated Value Data Exchange. CSVDE is a small command-line tool that is included in Windows 2003 installs by default - usually found in the %windir%/system32 directory. The application can also be installed on a Windows XP workstations as part of Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM).

Exporting data from the directory

As we are only going to look at CSVDE's export functions, there's no chance of damaging the directory or accidentally corrupting its data. Therefore I think the best way to understand it is to jump right in: Basic export

The basic export will dump all records from Active Directory into a CSV file without any filtering of results. By default CSVDE will bind to AD using the credentials of the users currently logged on-to specify different credentials use the -a flag (-a UserDN [Password | *]).

To export all data from Active Directory into a file called test.csv:

csvde -f test.csv

After the export has completed a message will tell you how many entries were exported. These ‘entries' translate into rows of data, and you will probably notice that there are a great deal more entries than users. This is because without any filtering CSVDE will simply dump the entire contents of your directory into a CSV file; that includes groups, system accounts, and other hidden values which may or may not be of use to you. If you open test.csv with notepad, you will be able to take a quick look at the data and all will become clear.

Source Simplify admin tasks by exporting Active Directory data with CSVDE

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