Using manual synchronization with Azure AD Connect

Share this:

Using Azure AD Connect command-line to synchronize objects between on-premises and Microsoft Azure, the administrator has two switches initial and delta and we will use both of them and check what it does in the background.


Just to make sure that we are on the same page, the command-line utility to synchronize Active Directory on-premises with Microsoft Azure is DirectorySyncClientcmd.exe which comes with Azure AD Connect utility. If you are using an older version of the tool, you may want to consider upgrading to the new one after proper testing and validation.

The tool can be found at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure AD Sync\bin folder and the tool is a simple .exe file. The tool has two main switches : initial and delta as shown in the figure below, and they can be followed by staging which we are going to check towards the end of this Tutorial.


In order to understand what the tool is doing although all the information is provided on the output we will use Synchronization Service Manager to track all operations.

The first test is running DirectorySyncClientCmd.exe without any switches, and that is the same as delta, and the process will be a delta import, delta synchronization and export (twice because it is one for each Directory: on-premises and Microsoft Azure).


Just to make sure that running without switches and using delta switch is the same thing, we cleared the logs on the Synchronization Service Manager and we ran again the command-line using delta, and the result was the same. So it is safe to say that for regular synchronization no additional switches are required.


The final switch is initial and the difference between that one and the previous switches is that a Full import and synchronization occur, as shown on the logs below.


You may be wondering, what happens when the staging switch is used with either delta or initial. Well, since we are here it is better to get testing, but the difference is that the export tasks will not occur.


Written by Anderson Patricio

Anderson Patricio

Anderson Patricio is a Canadian MVP in Cloud and Datacenter Management, and Office Server and Services, besides the Microsoft Award he also holds a Solutions Master (MCSM) in Exchange and several other certifications. Anderson has been contributing to the Microsoft Community with articles, tutorials, blog posts, twitter, forums and book reviews. He is a regular contributor here at,, and Anderson (Portuguese).

Related Post

Windows Azure e Office365 – Validating the synchro... In this final article of this Tutorial Series we will go over the process to create an user on-premises and what we have to do on our side to enable s...
AAD Sync– Creating filter rules using object... Using Microsoft Azure Active Directory Sync tool to filter out objects using the SyncRulesEditor tool. During the installation of the tool the adminis...
Azure Backup – Part 2 – Azure Backup Agent On the first post (see here), I explain how the Azure backup works. On this post, I’m explain how the files and folders are backup with the Azure Back...
How to install Azure Active Directory Connect Synchronization is evolving in a fast pace to keep it up with Microsoft Azure/Office 365 products. In the past we had/still have FIM, DirSync, AAD Syn...