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Password Policy - Default Domain Policy

Our Default Domain Policy has the following configured for Account Policies/Password Policy:

Enforce Password History = 0 passwords remembered
Maximum password age = 0 days

I would like to set password history to = 10 and maximum password age to = 183.

I don't want to configure this on the Default Domain Policy Object but rather I created a separate GPO and applied to the OUs that need to have this policy enforce.  However, since the Default Domain Policy is higher in the hierarchy the GPO I created doesn't get applied.

How can I get around this?  One thought I had was to set the Enforce password history and Maximum password age to not configured on the default domain policy and enable them on the GPO I created.

I was hesitant to make this change so I thought I'd ask here first before making the change.

Is the any danger in setting "Enforce password history" & "Maximum password age" to not configured on the Default Domain policy?
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3 Solutions
Mike KlineCommented:
You won't be able to, password policy behaves differently, password policies are set at the domain level.  The policy linked at an OU will only affect local machine accounts.

I notice you have 2008 listed.  If your domain functional level is 2008 or higher you can used fine grained password policies (FGPP)  


FGPP can be applied to different users/groups (still not to an OU).  You can find more on FGPP by searching on that term.


You must need to set required options in domain level policy, its by design

No matter how many policies you create at OU level, only domain level password policies will apply
You don't have to link it at the domain head (please try it, if you don't believe it), but you need to use a policy that is targeted at the OU where the DCs are in.
If you need different policies for different people, you need to deploy PSOs. Those require the domain and forest functional level to be server 2008 or higher.
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Hi McKnife,

Sorry, unable to understand your comment, not sure where OU containing DCs came in picture here

If you could please explain....
I am saying that it is a misconception to think the password policy has to be linked to the domain head. That's simply not true. It needs to be applied to the DCs, that's all, so we can use the default domain policy, the default domain controllers policy or any policy we like as long as it is linked to the OU where the DCs are in and is not overridden.
What you are saying is true up to windows 2000
In Windows 2000, password policies are read-only at the domain level. The policy must be applied to the domain controllers for the policy to be applied. If you initiate a password change for a domain password from anywhere in the domain, the change actually occurs on a domain controller.

With windows 2003 and above this behaviour is changed
The policy settings under Account Policies are implemented at the domain level. A Windows Server 2003 domain must have a single password policy, account lockout policy, and Kerberos version 5 authentication protocol policy for the domain. Configuring these policy settings at any other level in Active Directory will only affect local accounts on member servers. If there are groups that require separate password policies, they should be segmented into another domain or forest, based on any additional requirements.

For domain accounts, there can be only one account policy per domain. The account policy must be defined in the Default Domain Policy or in a new policy that is linked to the root of the domain and given precedence over the Default Domain Policy, which is enforced by the domain controllers that make up the domain. A domain controller always pulls the account policy from a Group Policy object (GPO)linked to the domain, which by default is the Default Domain Policy GPO. This behavior occurs even if there is a different account policy applied to the organizational unit (OU) that contains the domain controller.


You are right, Mahesh, I remembered incorrectly. Sorry for creating confusion!
What might have been the source for my fault is that there is also the local policy at the DC (the one configurable via secpol.msc) which is in effect if you decide not to configure anything at the domain level in order not to influence local accounts at the clients, but only domain accounts.

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