Get Computer Object Properties for Mac, Windows, & Linux Systems

Written by Mike Ranellone on April 11, 2020

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If you need detailed system data from the computer objects in your directory, one of the most flexible and convenient ways to retrieve that data is via PowerShell. You can use the PowerShell cmdlet Get-ADComputer to query Active Directory® (AD), adding filters and parameters to customize the scope of the data it returns. This works well in traditional Windows®-only office environments built around AD, which has historically been the go-to tool for Windows system management and reporting. 

The process gets more complicated, however, if your environment includes Mac® and Linux® machines, which are difficult to manage with AD, and/or non-domain-bound Windows computers. Some IT teams solve this problem with a combination of Mac system management and remote monitoring solutions, but this approach can be cumbersome and costly, creating duplicate administrative tasks outside of your AD workflow. Many admins are looking for an alternative that would provide cross-OS reporting in one place, with user and system management capabilities similar to AD, but designed for the cloud era. An OS-agnostic directory service in place of AD could take over cross-platform system reporting and still let you get computer object properties using PowerShell. 

Let’s look more closely at how to use PowerShell to get computer object properties with AD, as well as with an alternative cloud directory service. 

Customizing Get-ADComputer Parameters 

In addition to handling user authorization and authentication, AD communicates with Windows systems to manage group policy, patching, and other OS information. It stores a computer’s serial number and hardware configurations, as well as near-real-time usage and health data. 

When you enter Get-ADComputer in PowerShell, AD returns a default list of system data points. With the right filters, you can expand that list to include hidden properties. You can also restrict it to focus on specific attributes — like a computer’s last logon time, for example. In some situations, you may need deep insights about just one system. In others, you may want to modify the command to return aggregate data about all of the Windows systems in your environment, or about a set of systems organized by user group or a certain attribute value.  

PowerShell Beyond Active Directory & Windows  

If you’re looking for this kind of granular control and customization in a directory solution outside of AD, the good news is that PowerShell went open-source a few years ago, so it can now be leveraged beyond the Microsoft® product stack. The PowerShell interface runs on Mac and Linux systems along with Windows, and modern PowerShell modules connect to cloud servers and let you interact with them much the same way you’d query an on-prem directory. A modern cloud directory service could stand in for AD, eliminating the need for on-prem servers and taking over IAM and reporting functions for Mac, Linux, and Windows systems alike. 

A Modern Alternative Directory Service  

Like AD, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® gives admins tight control over the computer objects in the directory. Unlike AD, this modern directory service is OS-agnostic and hosted in the cloud. It consolidates user and system management (and reporting), SaaS app single sign-on, LDAP, RADIUS, and security measures like multi-factor authentication into one convenient identity platform, rendering piecemeal approaches to IAM obsolete. 

You can even manage JumpCloud’s directory with PowerShell, automating tasks like: 

  • User provisioning & deprovisioning 
  • User attribute & access modifications 
  • Configuring new IT resources 
  • Managing systems & executing commands 
  • User password management 

The JumpCloud equivalent of Get-ADComputer is Get-JCSystem. To learn more about the computer object attributes you can pull using PowerShell with JumpCloud, visit our PowerShell module support on GitHub

Reporting & Monitoring With System Insights™

For deeper insights into operating system version and installed patches, hardware configurations and usage, user account activity, network connections, and more, JumpCloud also offers a System Insights™ feature. Key data points are available in the Admin Console UI, with hundreds more accessible via PowerShell. Learn more about cross-platform system management with JumpCloud.  

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