Password complexity requirements

vasp used Ask the Experts™

Have just received a nice new server and am in the middle of setting up the group policies etc...

A requirement has come up that passwords to user accounts will have to be (say):

(1)8 characters long
(2)Have at least 2 upper case characters
(3)Have at least 2 lower case characters
(4)And have at least 2 numerical characters.

I am aware that navigating to: Windows Settings/Account Policies/Password Policies> in the Domain Controller Security Policy snap-in allows me to enable or disable a policy entitled - "Passwords must meet complexity requirements".

However, there is no way to redefine the criteria against which this policy checks.  Indeed I think it is set to:

1)Passwords must be at least six (6) characters long.
2)Passwords must contain characters from at least three of the following four (4) classes:

Description                             Examples

English upper case letters              A, B, C, ... Z
English lower case letters              a, b, c, ... z
Westernized Arabic numerals             0, 1, 2, ... 9
Non-alphanumeric ("special characters") such as punctuation symbols
3)Passwords may not contain your user name or any part of your full name.

Anybody aware of a way to customise the criteria for password comlexity?

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Top Expert 2012

See;en-us;279890& for the criteria. The only way to customize the criteria is to write your own password filter DLL - for a starting point, see

jkr is absolutely correct. Here's the link to the exact procedure and some source code;en-us;q151082

If you're not into doing it yourself (just not bothered to get Windows SDK and troubleshoot a DLL.. ugh!) there's a ready version here:

It enforces at least 7 letters+upper/lower/alpha+specialchar combinations

It's not exactly what you wanted to enforce, but it beats writing your own code!
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Anddd.. (these just keep coming up!) a utility that will create the DLL for you! Easily customizable, a LOT of functionality, and no coding required!

Sounds too good to be true? Yeah it costs $600 .. :)


Excellent!  Now remind me how to split these points for you guys....

Top Expert 2012

>>Now remind me how to split these points for you guys

You can post a Q at CS -

- as fyi, ours is like requiring only three of the four you mention. So we don't have to do lower case, if we do upper case, numeric & symbols, for example.


I've refunded 100 points to enable you to accept the comment for one expert and to post a
"Points for <expertname>" Q for the other expert in the same topic area.

1) Post the link to the original Q in the "Points for <expertname>" and
2) Add in the original Q a comment with the link to the "Points for <expertname>", thus the email notif will warn the expert.


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