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TACKtech Corp. > Articles > Software > Windows 2003

Change the strong password policy (TTID #354)

Author: TACKtech Team   Views: 342,683 /  Created: February 2, 2005
When you are adding users to a Windows Server 2003 you receive a message

Titled: Active Directory

And the stop message:
Windows cannot set the password for because: The password does not meet the password policy requirements. Check the minimum password length, password complexity and password history requirements.

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Your IT experience should have taught you a few things:
1: Computers need to be more secure.
2: Users don't want to deal with security.
(More specifically they don't want to enter in difficult passwords.)



By default Windows Server 2003 requires passwords to meet the following criteria for strong passwords.

  • Has at least 6 characters
  • Does not contain "Administrator" or "Admin"
  • Contains characters from three of the following categories:
    • Uppercase letters (A, B, C, and so on)
    • Lowercase letters (a, b, c, and so on)
    • Numbers (0, 1, 2, and so on)
    • Non-alphanumeric characters (#, &, ~, and so on)
Caution: Loosening password restrictions decreases security.



Select Domain Security Policy from Administrative Tools.



Click on Security Settings > Account Policies > Password Policy.

Right-click on Minimum password length in the right pane.

Click Properties from the context menu.

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Do not remove the check from the Define this policy setting checkbox!

Enter a new minimum password length. Entering a Zero (0) will remove the password requirement.

Click the OK button.

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Double-click on Passwords must meet complexity requirements in the right pane.

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Do not remove the check from the Define this policy setting checkbox!

Select the Disabled option.
(This will allow simpler passwords.)

Click the OK button.

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Close the Default Domain Security Settings window.



Now, you need to put the new Password Policy into effect.


Click Start > Run...

Type cmd into the Open: input box.

Click the OK button.

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Type gpupdate /force at the Command Prompt.

Press the [Enter] key.

Type exit.

Press the [Enter] key.

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Process complete.

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