We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Missing computers in AD, and other AD questions...

Im learning about implementing Group Policy to a small domain with 14 computers and users.
If I understand correctly I need to get things organized in AD before I can move very far in GP tasks.  I'm running into a couple of challenges there right away.  Im hoping for some experience to help me along the way.  Here's a couple of questions...
1.  I don't see any of the computers on this domain in AD.  They are not listed in any of the folders. (Seriously, I've looked in every folder)  However, if I do an AD query, they are all listed in the results.  Where are they and how do I add them to an OU for GP purposes?  All 14 computers login to the domain, and otherwise seem to be attached to the domain.
2.  Under the domain container are all the default containers (Builtin, computers, Users, etc.) but only 1 OU, named Domain Controllers.  If I understand, I need the items I want to manage to be in OU folders and not just containers.  Can I create new OU folders and just move existing users (all in the Users container) to a new Domain-Users OU?  Will that break anything?
3.  If I fix these two problems, can I assume Im ready to starting learning and deploying GP?
Some info on the environment...
A single domain controller, running Win Server 2016 Essentials updates are current.  All workstations are on the local network, running Win10 Pro and show that they are members of the domain.  It's a pretty plain vanilla setup.  I've attached screenshots of the installed roles and features, incase some may question what's installed.

Thanks from a grateful newbie.
Watch Question

Principal Support Engineer
1. If you're looking in Active Directory Users and Computers, make sure you don't have the view filtered. This has gotten me a couple of times when I thought an object had disappeared for no reason. Click the View menu, select Filter Options, and make sure Show all types of objects is selected.

2. Yes, you can create OUs and move objects into them without causing problems. This is quite common when creating Group Policies that should only apply to a certain subset of objects. (And yes, GPOs are applied to OUs and not simple containers.)

3. Yep! Remember that it's a good idea to apply GPOs to a set of "test" users and/or computers before applying them to anything in production, just in case they have any unexpected effects.
I started with Windows Server Essentials 2016 and had the exact same problem.
I've since implemented a few domains with Windows Server Standard 2019.
As a result, I can say these things:

1) It appears that nobody knows much about Essentials.  So, it's hard to get help that isn't more oriented to Standard.  I was never able to solve this problem.  But, I'm still running it so could experiment a bit.

2) I found Standard *much* easier to understand as, it appears, Essentials makes a bunch of assumptions regarding what you need and just does it.
Another source of difficulty in my opinion.

I would highly recommend that you go to Standard.
Perhaps someone else could shed more light on the whole thing....


When you join a computer to a domain, the computer object is placed in the default domain.local\Computers container.  You can't link a GPO to a container so just create a Computers OU somewhere in your OU hierarchy and move all computer objects there prior to applying the GPO

I looked into my Essentials install and, now with the experience of Standard in a much bigger network, found this:

It appears that there is no OU structure out of the box with Essentials.  Maybe that's the same in Standard....
Anyway, in view of that, you would set up OUs in the domain:
Open Server Manager
Open Tools / Active Directory and Computers
Open Computers
[Here, as each computer is joined to the domain, it should be listed here by default]
Highlight the domain / Right Click and choose New / Organizational Unit
Make an OU for computers.  I name these [company inititals] Computers OU so I know that I created it for the company and that it's an OU.
(The OUs do have distinct icons in the list).
Now Open domain / Computers and MOVE each computer into the OU you created.
Same sort of thing for Users except that I believe you have to ADD each User to AD before you can use it on workstations, etc.
Anyway, then the same sort of OU management as for computers is used.

I hope this helps.  
All this said, I don't disagree with the other responses you received.


All very helpful advice.  Fortunately, tip #1 from DrDave242 was the issue.
As they say, the simplest solution is the place to start.  The view was filtered to only include users.
With almost zero experience in AD, I had no idea that little nugget was there.
I selected "Show all types of objects" an miraculously, all the computers are now seen in the standard computers folder.
All I need to do now is create an OU-Computers folder and drag the into (thanks Fred_Marshall for the good instruction on that too!)
Much appreciated!


This is exactly why EE is so valuable.  
The help and instruction from both of you was very useful and I can now move ahead learning more of the magic of AD!
Thanks much,
Ken C.
I would NOT "drag" anything.  You want to use the MOVE option.  That way, I'm sure of the action I'm taking.  Otherwise things can get messed up e.g. like using cut and paste.