Changing Local Administrator Passwords Remotely

Changing domain and local passwords remotely.

As of May 13 2014 it is no longer possible to create local accounts and assign passwords to them on a domain computer via Group Policy. This was a handy feature when it existed, however Microsoft found that a vulnerability in Group Policy Preferences could allow elevation of privileges.

If you would like further reading on this head over to read about MS14-025.

Here is the KB2962486 article if you would like even more reading on this.

But the basics of it are that Microsoft dropped the ball and the key that was used to encrypt the passwords via Group Policy was published in one of their articles. Total newbs, I hope the incompetent responsible for this got fired for that one.

Either way you can no longer create local accounts on a domain attached computer and set their passwords via group policy. There is a work around but it is no longer fully automated via GPO.

It is a two step process now, and you use the “update” setting instead of “create”  in GPO. You are no longer able to create local account you can however “Update” them. The update feature will create a new account, but it will not set the password. You can use PsTools to set the passwords remotely. Inside the PsTool suite is an executable called PsPasswd.exe that can change local and domian passwords alike.

One thing to note as of this writing is that PsTools, v1.23 of the PsPasswd executable is broken. You will need v1.22 of PsPasswd to accomplish this. It’s not easy to find the v1.22 of the exec but I managed to find a link on the net that works and I’ve shared it via Gdrive.

This works on Windows 7, as for newer versions of Windows I can not comment. I will never move my domain computers to Windows 8+.

Some anti-virus scanners report that one or more of the tools are infected with a “remote admin” virus. None of the PsTools contain viruses, but they have been used by viruses, which is why they can trigger virus notifications. I also assure you I have not altered this zip file in any shape or form, that is beyond me.

PsPasswd usage:

pspasswd [[\\computer[,computer[,..] | @file [-u user [-p psswd]]] Username [NewPassword]

computer Perform the command on the remote computer or computers specified. If you omit the computer name the command runs on the local system, and if you specify a wildcard (\\*), the command runs on all computers in the current domain.

@file Run the command on each computer listed in the text file specified.

-u Specifies optional user name for login to remote computer.

-p Specifies optional password for user name. If you omit this you will be prompted to enter a hidden password.

Username Specifies name of account for password change.

NewPassword New password. If ommitted a NULL password is applied.

For example if you wanted to change a local Admin password on a domain computer named COMPU-DEV1, it would go something like this:

pspasswd \\COMPU-DEV1 -u domain\DomainAdmin -p Password Administrator Password

If you wanted to change the local Admin password on all the computers on the Domain you can execute the following command:

pspasswd \\* -u domain\DomainAdmin -p Password Administrator Password

Alternatively you can do this with a text file. The file needs to contain a single computer name on each line. You can export such file from Active Directory, do this by right clicking the appropriate OU and select Export List… select the Text (Tab Delimited) .txt file format. You’ll have to remove the first line out of the file, and any other columns that aren’t the computer name.

The formatting for PsPasswd with a file is as follows.

pspasswd @c:\locationoffile\computers.txt -u domain\DomainAdmin -p Password Administrator Password


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