This article will describe lightly how to query Active Directory. Now, the objective of querying A.D. is to find out the situation about certain users, either to access them directly
to perform any modifications on their profiles, or simply to list for the users that meet a certain criteria. This can be useful when you want to make a sorted list of people who may be assigned in different user groups, for example.
You have several forms to access this data, be it through a SQL query Active Directory. This means you can make a query Active Directory VB wise as long as you have an application that does the VB-SQL binding which will probably be far more useful than using the inbuilt user browser that Windows Server provides. Provided that this makeshift application is good, it shouldn't have too many limitations save for any restrictions imposed by the administrator.
Queries in active directory are typically used when you want to, for example, find a group of users across several groups who may not have some of their attributes set up. Either personal data, or a lack of password, or a wrong setting in terms of configurations like actually encompassing certain users in another user group so that they are under influence of security policies.
Of course, what you may see from these queries and what you can do with their results can vary greatly, once more, depending on the settings imposed by the administrator, since allowing to alter users freely could cause a security breach. Sometimes a query active directory ASP based is provided just so that the regular users can verify the A.D., within limits, for personnel data.
For example, you may have the Human Resources administration want to consult the Active Directory repository instead of their personal files to see the number of users who have between ages X and Y. Or maybe to consult all those that work in a particular department, should they all be under the same user group policy.
These queries in Active Directory are made to seamlessly explore the A.D. database without the need of being a highly privileged user. Of course, most of the time the permissions to do any sort of alteration are removed since only the administrator and select few people should have that power for user control. The Active Directory help should convey you most information you need to know in how to link a home made application to perform a query to the A.D.