Monday, August 29, 2011

Changing the password of directory service restore mode

Just sitting playing around with ntdsutil and the possibility to change the directory service restore mode password. This is a feature that most companies forget, or are not aware of. If you dont know the password for the domain controllers you cant restore the Active Directory database, remember that domain controllers don't have local user database?. So the password you typed in during domain controller setup "dcpromo" are important, but easy to forget. Lots of times it's not documented and different on all dc's

You had to use a tool called "Ntdsutil", an important tool for Directory Services administration, to change password after the first setup of "Dcpromo". Luckily you could run the command from just one of the domain controllers and change it on each any every domain controller by using a line of parameters
Scripting have been the way of doing it automaticly, you had the choices of making an advanced script to collect dc server names or just use a script with manually typed name, but then it was important to update the script to reflex the changes in your active directory envimoment.

In Windows Server 2008 you could download a fix KB961320 that gave a new feature in ntdsutil to sync the password with an ordinary domain users account. This feature are buildt into the Windows Server 2008 R2. To read more about it check out the Technet page here

Still it's giving us a challenge, the new feature cannot change it on any other server then the one executing it, so is it worse then the old?
The answer are "no", because combining it with "Group Policy Preferences" you can create a scheduled task and run it regulary

And how to do it are in this great article from the people at the Microsoft Directory Service team

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