Preparing for Windows 10: OU Structure

Our team has been playing around with Windows 10 in our corporate environment for months now and one thing that was apparent from day one was that some something was breaking the Task Bar rendering the Start Menu & Cortana completely useless.  (i.e.: You click on it and it doesn’t work.)  We were certain it was a GPO, but we didn’t know which GPO or more specifically which setting within was creating the problem.  We started digging into it a little bit but it wasn’t long before we realized it was almost a moot point because:

  1. Some GPOs were specific to Windows 7 & wouldn’t apply to Windows 10
  2. Some GPOs were specific to Office 2010 & wouldn’t apply to Office 2016
  3. Others were simply no longer needed like our IEM policy for IE9.
  4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly: we wanted to take this opportunity to start from scratch: Re-validate all the GPO’s, the settings within & consolidating where possible.

And in order to do all that, we needed to re-evaluate our OU structure.

When it comes to OU structures, depending on the audience, it makes for very “exciting” conversation as some OU structures have a fairly simple layout:

  • Corp Computers
    • Hardware Type

While others look like a rabbit warren:

  • Continent
    • Country
      • Region (or equivalent)
        • State  (or equivalent)
          • City
            • Role/Practice Group/Functional Group
              • Hardware Type
                • Special Configurations
                  • Other
Note: I’m not knocking the latter or suggesting the former is better.  Really just depends on the specific needs of the organization.
No one size fits all; but some sizes may fit many.

When we did an image refresh some time ago – prior to our SCCM implementation – we took a ‘middle of the road’ approach with the main branches being location and hardware type. Later during during our SCCM implementation last summer, knowing that Windows 10 was on the horizon we revised the layout adding the OS branch in order to properly support both environments.

Bulk Creating OU’s

Once you know your layout, for example:

  • CorpSystems
    • Location
      • OS
        • Hardware Type

It’s time to create them all.  I wasn’t about to do this by hand so I hunted around for a way to recursively create OUs.  The solution comes courtesy of a serverfault question, and I just tweaked it to work for us.

Function Create-NewOU
                [parameter(Position = 0,Mandatory = $true,HelpMessage = "Name of the new OU (e.g.: Win10)")]

                [parameter(Position = 1,Mandatory = $false,HelpMessage = "Location of the new OU (e.g.: OU=IT,DC=Contoso,DC=com)")]

        # For testing purposes
        #$NewOU = 'Win10'
        #$NewOU = 'OU=SpecOps,OU=IT,OU=Laptops,OU=Win10,OU=Miami,OU=Florida,OU=Eastern,OU=NorthAmerica'
        #$Path = 'DC=it,DC=contoso,DC=com'
        #$Path = (Get-ADRootDSE).defaultNamingContext

                if($Path) { if($NewOU.Substring(0,3) -eq 'OU=') { $NewOU = $NewOU + ',' + $Path } else { $NewOU = 'OU=' + $NewOU + ',' + $Path } }
                else { if($NewOU.Substring(0,3) -eq 'OU=') { $NewOU = $NewOU + ',' + (Get-ADRootDSE).defaultNamingContext } else { $NewOU = 'OU=' + $NewOU + ',' + (Get-ADRootDSE).defaultNamingContext } }

                # A regex to split the distinguishedname (DN), taking escaped commas into account
                $DNRegex = '(?<![\\]),'

                # We'll need to traverse the path, level by level, let's figure out the number of possible levels
                $Depth = ($NewOU -split $DNRegex).Count

                # Step through each possible parent OU
                for($i = 1;$i -le $Depth;$i++)
                        $NextOU = ($NewOU -split $DNRegex,$i)[-1]
                        if(($NextOU.Substring(0,3) -eq "OU=") -and ([ADSI]::Exists("LDAP://$NextOU") -eq $false)) { [String[]]$MissingOUs += $NextOU }

                # Reverse the order of missing OUs, we want to create the top-most needed level first

                # Now create the missing part of the tree, including the desired OU
                foreach($OU in $MissingOUs)
                        $NewOUName = (($OU -split $DNRegex,2)[0] -split "=")[1]
                        $NewOUPath = ($OU -split $DNRegex,2)[1]

                        write-host "Creating [$NewOUName] in [$NewOUPath]"
                        New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name $newOUName -Path $newOUPath -Verbose
        Catch { return $_ }
        return $true


With that done, it was on to the next bit which was creating and linking GPOs.


Good Providence!

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