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Quick tip: Querying AD with xp_logininfo

We all have blind spots in our knowledge. We don’t know they are there and when we are thinking through an issue our mind quickly rejects some plans because of these blind spots. This happened to me recently when I was tasked with doing a security audit of a SQL instance.

Aside from a small handful of SQL logins all access was via Windows groups. I knew that I could use xp_logininfo to discover whether a windows user account had access to SQL Server – and via which groups.

exec xp_logininfo '[domain]\[username]','all'

But I needed to know which members belonged to which group. I was starting to look at cutting and pasting from the AD dialogs into Excel or writing LDAP queries when a colleague pointed out another xp_logininfo option that had been in my blind spot.

exec xp_logininfo '[domain]\[group]','members'

Will return all of the members in the Active Director global group (doesn’t return information for universal groups).

Nothing a closer inspection of books online couldn’t have told me – but I’d just never noticed it. Not the greatest discovery in the world either but it made my day a lot easier.


Matt Bowler is a DBA at Trade Me, and teaches database design and administration courses at the local institute of technology. A recent but avid discoverer of SQL Server, Matt is a regular contributor to forums at MSDN, Experts Exchange and SSC and he blogs at mattsql.wordpress.com.


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