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We're developing a .net application, and are about to add authentication to it. We'd like to use Active Directory for this, but are aiming to make this as simple as possible for the test-server used for development.

What does it take to get Active Directory up and running? Can I run it locally on my Win7 installation? I've heard about ADAM and AD LDS, but don't really know the details besides knowing they are lightweight implementations.

So; what's the easiest way to a working Active Directory for testing?

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So glad to see that nobody from MS bothered to provide a test instance. –  sorin Aug 6 '14 at 10:58

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your going to need a server installation (Windows 2003/2008/2008R2) to install Active directory.

Generally the easiest way to do this in a test/dev enviroment is to install the server OS in a VM and setup a domain inside of that. It's really not that hard if you are just looking to run a very small domain for people to test auth against.

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Same goes for the lightweight versions? (AD LDS / ADAM) –  stiank81 Feb 1 '10 at 20:42
@stiank81: Correct, for any of the AD components you need the Server OS. –  Zypher Feb 1 '10 at 20:50
if you have the "full" version you wouldn't need the lightweight version. There is no difference from an authentication perspective. –  Jim B Feb 1 '10 at 21:01

You could do it in a VM using Virtual Box, your host machine hardware will determine how well it performs. You will also need a license to install. It will NOT run locally on Win7, you need a Server OS.

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You don't need a licensed copy, they have trial downloads that you can install into a VM. If you're already running Hyper-V, then you can download a VHD file that's ready to go, even easier. –  mfinni Feb 1 '10 at 22:01
Oh yeah, forgot about that. Yesterday was a busy one, I was just typing away... –  DanBig Feb 2 '10 at 13:17
so fix the actual answer –  Aidan Ryan Jan 18 '11 at 17:23

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