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Delegate account rights - domain admin account password reset.

Posted on 2009-04-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I've set up access for our helpdesk to be able to reset passwords and unlock accounts on user object OUs on my active directory. I used this article for the account unlocking and did something similar for resetting passwords.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/294952 

This seems to work correctly for pretty much all user accounts. However there is a small group of accounts that they still cannot reset the passwords for. It looks to me like the group they cannot reset the password for are Domain Admins. Does anyone know if this is a design feature in Active Directory or if it is just that I haven't delegated the account rights correctly? My domain controllers run Windows Server 2003 Sp1.
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Question by:ESS-IRL
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by:asawatzki
ID: 24138019
Do you really want your Help Desk to have the ability to change Domain Admin account passwords?  That's pretty much equivalent to giving them Domain Admin rights.  In which case, why not just add them Domain Admins and not worry about delegating rights?  I'm pretty sure this is a feature and not a bug because it prevents people from abusing their password changing rights to gain full access to the domain.
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by:Mike Kline
ID: 24138074
They would have to be domain admins to make modifications to other domain admin accounts...as previously stated not a good idea.
Thanks
Mike
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by:ESS-IRL
ID: 24138124
Thanks for the responses guys. Yeah I don't want to give them access. I just wanted to be sure the restrictions were not because I hadn't set things up properly. Don't suppose anyone has a KB or similar on this? I need to send a mail to some boss types and would like something difinitive to close this out pretty quickly in case they request that I set it up so that the helpdesk guys can reset domain admin passwords too.
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Chris Dent earned 2000 total points
ID: 24138422

It is a feature, not a bug.

Accounts which are part of groups with elevated rights have inheritance disabled and an access control list copied from the AdminSDHolder object under the System Folder (AD Users and Computers, View, Advanced Features, System).

It's to stop privilege elevation by resetting passwords on sensitive accounts because of rights delegation implementations just like this one.

Relevant(ish) KB article:

http://support.microsoft.com/?id=817433

And a good blog posting on this one:

http://msmvps.com/blogs/ulfbsimonweidner/archive/2005/05/29/49659.aspx

Chris
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