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Password Policy options grayed out in secpol.msc and gpedit.msc... non-domain computer

Posted on 2006-07-21
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a computer that is not part of a domain.  As far as I know it has never been part of a domain.  I have logged on as Administrator, and tried to change the password policy so there's no minimum length requirement (I want to setup automatic logon), but the settings are grayed out in both secpol.msc and gpedit.msc.

Any ideas?
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Question by:netsmithcentral
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:bbrunning
ID: 17157680
Is it WinXP Home? If so you can't edit that. It's only available in WinXP Pro
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Author Comment

by:netsmithcentral
ID: 17157782
No, in XP home you cannot even access the secpol and gpedit snap-ins.  It is an XP Pro box.
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Expert Comment

by:bbrunning
ID: 17157837
That's weird, have you tried checking the permissions of the administrator username in computer management?

or

Have you check the policy settings within the registry?

I'm not sure where it would be for that particular policy but for"change password" policies the key is normally under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies
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Author Comment

by:netsmithcentral
ID: 17158304
Yes, I've checked every permission setting relating to the Administrator account.  I can edit other secpol items, just not the password policy ones.  And I've checked in the registry.  Microsoft identifies the key relating to pasword policies as being HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\NotificationPackages .  I've checked according to the KB article, and there's nothing there.
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Watkins
ID: 17158566
If you want to log on automatically, make sure there is only one user account, and give it a blank password. Enable the welcome screen in the user's applet of the control panel. Are the icons next to the greyed out policies the same as the icons of the not greyed out policies?

If you open up the system properties, and choose the computer name tab does indicate domain or workgroup membership?



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Author Comment

by:netsmithcentral
ID: 17158664
.... I know how setup automatic logon, and I'm quite aware that in a domain the domain policy will stop you from changing the local policy.  Here's some info on the system:

XP Pro SP2
Member of a Workgroup (NOT IN A DOMAIN)
Only one user account (Plus Administrator and Guest)
Configured not to use Ctrl-Alt-Delete for logon
Configured to use the welcome screen
Has a 4 character minimum for passwords... this is the problem
The policy (which you change in either secpol.msc or gpedit.msc) is grayed out
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Accepted Solution

by:
Merete earned 500 total points
ID: 17158707
Here's the scoop: By default, Windows XP Home sets the number of days before changing the password setting to "unlimited"--so essentially, you never need to change it. If you're using XP Home (and this applies to the vast majority of home users) you won't see this behavior--unless, of course, you or some oddball software changes the password default.

In XP Pro, the default for when Windows asks for a new password is 42 days. But since many users don't use a password to log in, they have no idea this setting even exists. (Me? I just hit Enter at the password screen)

XP Home users who face the password-changing issue can use these instructions (XP Pro users can follow my instructions above or these):

Click Start, Run, type cmd, and hit Enter.
Type net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited and hit Enter.
Type exit and hit Enter.
http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,123227,00.asp
-----------------------------------------

Browse through these and see if onecan support the changes you want.
Remember youhave xp home.
Windows XP User Profiles
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/win_xp_logon.htm


if relevent:
Changing the password on a locked-out account generates a "domain not available" message
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=324141
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Expert Comment

by:bbrunning
ID: 17163498
Honestly it sound like your security policies are corrupt. I'd do a repair install of windows and see if that helps.
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Watkins
ID: 17164791
One time, a user modified his local security policy to the extent it locked him out of the computer all together.  We were able to get around it by logging on as admin, and deleting the system.dat, and user.dat files then rebooting.  This had the affect of deleting the local policy all together, and upon the next reboot, the policy settings were at their default.

We had declared all was lost by the time we got to this point.  Be sure to back up all of your data before attempting anythin like this.

/F
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Author Comment

by:netsmithcentral
ID: 17173213
I was able to use the command "net accounts /minpwlength:0" to fix my problem.  Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 17173638
:) great thank you.
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