Group Membership in Multi-Forest Scenarios

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 30 May 2007 / Last Updated on 30 May 2007]

Clearing up uncertainty around some Microsoft documentation on how groups can be nested.

If your organization has deployed Active Directory in a multi-forest scenario (for example through a merger or acquisition with another company) and you need to add users or groups in one forest to a group in the other forest, the group in the other forest must be a domain local group. You might thing from reading the Microsoft documentation at that you could also use universal groups for this purpose since it says there that “A universal group can contain other universal groups, global groups and accounts from any domain in any forest”. However, this is incorrect—universal groups can only contain users or groups from the same forest, not from different forests.

Mitch Tulloch was lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. For more information see

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The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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