Find users in too many groups

Large Kerberos tokens (caused by too many groups listed in them) can be an issue in some environments (I’ve just had a similar trouble myself in an ADFS deployment). Luckily PowerShell is here to help. This quick script will list all users who are members of more than 75 groups:

$limit = 75
Get-QADUser -SizeLimit 0 -DontUseDefaultIncludedProperties |
  ForEach-Object {
    $groups = Get-QADGroup -ContainsIndirectMember $_.DN -SizeLimit $limit `
      -DontUseDefaultIncludedProperties -WarningAction SilentlyContinue
    if ($groups.Count -ge $limit) { $_ }

Here’s a quick overview of what the script is doing:

  1. I assign the limit (75) to a variable. This is just for my convenience of reuse. E.g. I could turn this line into param($limit = 75) – and save this as a parameterized script or turn it into a function.
  2. I user Get-QADUser to retrieve all (-SizeLimit 0) user accounts from my current domain and I make sure to not retrieve any attributes along – so I save memory and improve performance (-DontUseDefaultIncludedProperties)
  3. For each user in my domain, I retrieve the first 75 (-SizeLimit $limit) groups to which the user belongs directly or through nesting (-ContainsIndirectMember $_.DN). There’s obviously no need to retrieve all groups – we just need to know if the user reached the limit. Again, we do not need any attributes (-DontUseDefaultIncludedProperties). I also tell PowerShell to not warn me if there are more groups than the size limit I specified (-WarningAction SilentlyContinue).
  4. Finally, if indeed we reached the limit, I output that user object.

You can obviously then just see the list on the screen or output it to CSV or HTML report.

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12 Responses to “Find users in too many groups”

  1. 1 hari April 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Dmitry,

    this is exactly what i am looking for however i am totally new to powershell.
    I set the execution policy to remote signed
    i copied your script to a notepad and renamed to usersgroups.ps1.

    I also downloaded activeroles management shell (free powershell command)

    Then i run this script as .\usersgroups.ps1 after coming to the directory where the script is.
    But nothing happens
    PLease suggest how to run this script

    Really appreciate your help

    • 2 Dmitry Sotnikov April 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      Hard to tell.

      How long did you wait?

      Do you get a list of users in your AD if you just execute: Get-QADUser?

      What happens if you set the limit to something lower – e.g. 1 instead of 75?

  2. 3 hari April 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    If i just run Get-QADUser,yes i get the entire list

    when i try to execute the script again: no matter how many times i try this command, PowerShell will simply display the exact same string value i typed in.

    Yes i also try to change the limit to 1 but no luck

    So basically its not executing.

    Thanks for the prompt response

    • 4 Dmitry Sotnikov April 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      I think I know the answer. To execute a script in PowerShell you have to use script invocation command and not just the script path:

      & .\myscript.ps1

  3. 5 hari April 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    yes i went through the technt article of how to execute the script.

    and i am runnin the command & .\usersgroups.ps1

    no luck at all

    Still doing the same thing

    • 6 Dmitry Sotnikov April 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      What if you just copy/paste the code into the PowerShell prompt window and press Enter? What happens?

  4. 7 hari April 8, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Nothing, its a long script and powershell accepts only one line command
    No luck.

  5. 8 hari April 8, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Now i am getting error while executing the script

    [PS] C:\Documents and Settings\E137706\Desktop>.\group.ps1
    Get-QADGroup : A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name ‘WarningAction’.
    At C:\Documents and Settings\E137706\Desktop\group.ps1:5 char:55
    + -DontUseDefaultIncludedProperties -WarningAction <<<< SilentlyContinue

    • 9 Dmitry Sotnikov April 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      This is weird. Are you on the latest version of QAD cmdlets? (Check the versison on the web site and in your control panel / add/remove programs.)

      If so, can you try to debug step-by-step in PowerGUI Script Editor?

      If still having trouble – try posting the details to the forums at

  6. 10 hari April 13, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Hey Dmitry

    I finally am able to run the script and its giving the desired result. (problem was i was running it o XP machine, later i tried it on 2008 server)

    However the one thing i am concerned about is that when you run the script the CPU goes upto 100% when i specify the number as 10, however if i specify the number as 100 or 200 or 300, the cpu goes really hihg (stays on 100%) and it takes a huge amount f time to list the users (i am running this script on a lab domain)

    Any suggestions?


    • 11 Dmitry Sotnikov April 13, 2010 at 7:48 am

      PowerShell is quite resource-hungry. 😦 Make sure you have PowerShell 2.0 RTM version – previous versions including 1.0 were much worse. If you are on 2.0, I guess you should just work on the OS level and simply set the powershell.exe process priority to Below Normal…

  1. 1 Dew Drop – October 12, 2009 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew Trackback on October 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer - WSO2 or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2007-2014 Dmitry Sotnikov

October 2009

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