In this guide, I will show you two methods for creating fine grained password policies. 

The first method will use the Active Directory Administrative Console (GUI) the second will be using PowerShell. 

In addition, I’ll show you how to quickly check what password policies you have in your domain. 

Here is the problem…

Active Directory is configured with a single password policy that is applied to all user accounts, this policy is defined in the default domain policy. 

There are times when you need a group of users to have a different password policy. For example, you might want to have your privileged accounts (domain admins) have a much stronger password than regular user accounts. 

With fine grained password policies, you can easily target specific users or groups and assign them a separate password policy.

Method 1: Create Fine Grained Password Policies Using ADAC

Step 1: Install Remote Server Administrator Tools (RSAT)

You may already have this installed, if not you will need it. It will be needed if you use the ADAC console or PowerShell. 

If you need install steps then check out my guide -> Install RSAT on Windows 10.

Step 2: Open Active Directory Administrative Center

 

Step 3: Create a Policy

Follow these steps to create a new policy

1. In ADAC click on your domain. (Mine is ad (local)). 

2. Click on the System folder

3. Click the Password Settings Container

4. Click new in the right side menu

You should now be at the Create Password Settings screen.

Now you can configure the policy settings and apply it to a user or group. 

In this example, I want to set a stronger password for my server administrators. 

I gave the policy a name of “Server-Admin-PW-Policy” and the precedence of 1. 

Then I changed the minimum password length to 15. 

Now it just needs to be applied to a user or group. 

Click on add

Select users or group. In this example, I’m assigning this to a group called “Server-Admins” 

Click OK

Click OK on the Create Password Settings screen. 

Done. You have completed creating a fine grained password policy. 

Method 2: Create Fine Grained Password Policies Using PowerShell

The cmdlet New-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy is used to create new Active Directory fine grained password policies. 

In this example, I’m just changing the minimum password length, gave the policy a name and assigned it precedence 1. 

New-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy -name "Server-Admins-Policy" -Precedence 1 -MinPasswordLength 15

Now the policy is created it needs to be assigned to users or a group. 

Add-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicySubject -Identity "Server-Admins-Policy" -Subjects "server-admins"

-identity is the name of the policy and -subject is the name of the group or user you want the policy assigned to. 

Resources

New-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy – Complete command syntax

Add-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicySubject – Complete command syntax

View Domain and Fine Grained Password Policies

The easiest way to view the password policies is by using PowerShell. 

Get the domain password policy

Get-ADDefaultDomainPasswordPolicy

Get fine grained password policies

Get-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy -filter *

Get the resultant password policy for a user

Use this command if you have multiple fine grained passwords defined. This will show you which one is being applied to the user. 

Get-ADUserResultantPasswordPolicy -Identity UserName

Conclusion

Prior to Windows Server 2008, managing multiple password policies was very difficult. With fine grained password policies, you can easily create custom password policies for specific users or groups. This is beneficial so you can stay in compliance with industry regulations (PCI, HIPPA, SOX, etc) or define stronger passwords for a subset of users such as anyone that has priviliaged rights. 

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