At my work where there is an Active Directory / Exchange / Outlook setup (sorry I'm not a Microsoft pro), I'm trying to set up a distribution list to act like a mailing list. That means users should only be able to add/remove themselves, and additionally I want it so that only users in a certain security group can add themselves.

I have sort-of acheived this, by giving the appropriate group the permission "Add/remove self as member" for the distribution list.


Having done that, users can then add themselves to the group by opening ADUC (Active Directory Users and Groups), and then either:

  1. Right click their user account, select Add to Group, and then type in the appropriate distribution list in the resulting dialog.

Add to group

  1. Or double click their name to go to Properties, then the "Member of" tab, then click Add and type the distribution list as before.

The only way to remove themselves from the group is then to remove it from the "Member of" tab.

Member of

The problem

The problem is that most users do not have ADUC installed. If they try to add themselves to the group in the normal way through the Outlook address book, they are greeted with the following permission error, even if they only add themselves.


Is there any way for users to add themselves to the distribution list without using ADUC and without getting the above error message?

1 Answer 1


If you're not afraid of the command line, this works with the permissions you describe:

import-module activedirectory
get-adgroup TestGroup456 | add-adgroupmember -members TestUser123

Its very basic. You could dress it up different ways in a script. I used the unique samAccountNames here... If your user base is not familiar with SAM names, you could add some search logic to obtain the full distinguished names. If you are seeking a GUI friendly solution, this may not be what you are looking for...

  • 1
    What command line is this in? I assume not cmd.exe, which is the only thing my users will have installed. I don't really want them to have to install powershell.
    – Timmmm
    Oct 2, 2014 at 20:00
  • You asked for (1) users be able to add themselves (2) without errors (3) without ADUC. This meets all 3 of those conditions. The commands are powershell, which IIRC is installed by default with Windows 7 and later OS's. You may need to upgrade to V3 to get the "activedirectory" module.
    – Clayton
    Oct 2, 2014 at 22:02
  • 1
    I think my intent was clear. Sadly powershell isn't install by default in Windows 7, and to have import-module activediretory work you need to download the Remote Server Administration Tools (which includes ADUC) anyway! Thanks for the help anyway!
    – Timmmm
    Oct 3, 2014 at 10:45

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