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What Is A Domain Admin

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Joining Or Leaving A Domain

How to Reset Forgotten Domain Admin Password on Server 2012

If your computer is part of a domain, joining or leaving the domain wont generally be your job. If your computer needs to be on a domain, it will already be on a domain when its handed to you. Youll usually need the domain administrators permission to leave a domain, so people who sit down to use a domain-joined PC cant just leave the domain. However, you can leave a domain if you have local administrator access on your PC. You wont have administrator access if youre using a locked-down PC, of course.

If you have an old computer thats joined to a domain and you no longer have access to the domain, you can always gain access to the PC by reinstalling Windows. The domain settings are tied to your installed operating system, and reinstalling Windows will give you a fresh system. You shouldnt do this to a work or school PC you dont own, of course!

Domains limit what you can do on your PC. When your computer is part of a domain, the domain controller is in charge of what you can do. This is why theyre used on large corporate and educational networks they provide a way for the institution that provides the computers to lock them down and centrally administer them.

Thats the core concept, although much more can be done with domains. For example, group policy can be used to remotely install software on computers joined to a domain.

Limit The Number Of Domain Admin Accounts And Who Has Access To Them

Ideally, as stated previously, this should be limited to zero accounts except for the default Administrator.

When contemplating the need for a Domain Admin account, consider the follow:

  • Why is it needed?
  • Can the same thing be achieved with a non-domain admin account?
  • Are you avoiding best practice for the sake of ease?
  • Who is going to be responsible for monitoring the account usage and decommissioning it when it is no longer required?

Remember that generic accounts for interactive device usage are poor practice as they essentially anonymise the actions of the person using said account. If two or more people have access to a single account then they each have plausible deniability for any wrong-doing that occurs from that account.

What Is A Windows Domain And How Does It Affect My Pc

Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader’s Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more…

Windows domains are typically used on large networks corporate networks, school networks, and government networks. They arent something youll encounter at home unless you have a laptop provided by your employer or school.

A typical home computer is an isolated entity. You control the settings and user accounts on the computer. A computer joined to a domain is different these settings are controlled on a domain controller.

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Least Privilege For Administrators On Domain

I have been looking into this more seriously of late but I am not sure how, or even if I can implement for Domain Administrators.

I am the main admin for my workplace, but also have a few others who have Domain Admin accounts.

Every user has a simple domain user account which isn’t granted access to any of our servers. When I access our servers I use my specific admin account for it. When I access my local computer I use my normal domain account for it.

How can I implement least privilege for these accounts if the are needed to administer our Domain servers?


Popular Topics in General IT Security

  • datil

    At my last organization we had different levels of administration. Help desk guys were able to reset passwords, others needed to join machines to the domain and some needed Domain Admins privileges. As Richardwright2 mentioned above you have to create OUs if you want to differentiate any permissions. Then you need to delegate the desired permissions to the desired OUs.

    I’ll say that if a user needs to join computers to the domain nothing short of domain admins will work. We spent a lot of time trying to get around that. Had serious issues with domain joins and renaming computers. We had to make them Domain Admins.

    Here is a good thread on delegating permissions.

    Delegate Admin Privileges

  • local_offerTagged Items
  • local_offerTagged Items
  • It Leaves Password Hashes Everywhere

    Add and remove users to AD groups with Group Policy â Microsoft Geek

    Windows provides authentication throughout the network by passing around hashes of the account password, rather than the password itself. These hashes are stored locally in the Windows SAM file and can be copied and cracked by someone with sufficient skill. If a domain admin or similarly high-privileged account gets compromised, you are, for lack of a better term, screwed. At this point you would have two options available:

  • Take the domain offline, change every password and then bring it back online
  • Scrap the whole domain and rebuild it from scratch.
  • You May Like: How Much Does A Custom Domain Cost

    Domain Accounts For Remote Support

    If you are not able to use local accounts, the alternative is to use domain accounts. Instead of adding accounts to the Domain Admins group, one option is to create a group for each domain-joined device, configure Group Policy Preferences to add the groups to the devices, and then add IT staff accounts to the new domain groups as needed. The process of creating groups can be automated using PowerShell.

    While this isnt as bulletproof as using unique local accounts on each device, creating domain groups is more secure than adding accounts to the Domain Admins group. You just need to watch out for token bloat if you add users to many groups.

    How To Become A Domain Administrator

    There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a domain administrator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $39.52 an hour? That’s $82,208 a year!

    Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 18,200 job opportunities across the U.S.

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    Eliminate Use Of Administrator Accounts

    If you are currently using domain admin privileges for managing AD, servers, and end-user devices, devise a plan to remove that access and delegate control to protect Active Directory and other systems from attack or accidental changes. If you want to completely remove administrator rights, a third-party Privileged Access Management solution, such as those provided by BeyondTrust, can help you completely and efficiently eliminate use of administrator accounts.

    How Do I Log Into My Domain Account

    Create Domain Admin Account And Login Using This Account

    How to logon to a domain controller locally?

  • Switch on the computer and when you come to the Windows login screen, click on Switch User.
  • After you click Other User, the system displays the normal login screen where it prompts for user name and password.
  • In order to log on to a local account, enter your computers name.
  • Also Check: How To Find Your Domain Registrar

    Finding Domain Admin Processes

    Ok, enough of my ramblings. As promised, below are 5 techniques for finding Domain Admin processes on the network.

    Technique 1: Checking Locally

    Always check the initially compromised system first. Theres really no point is running around the network looking for Domain Admin processes if you already have one. Below is a simple way to check if any Domain Admin processes are running using native commands:

  • Run the following command to get a list of domain admins:net group Domain Admins /domain
  • Run the following command to list processes and process owners. The account running the process should be in the 7th column.Tasklist /v
  • Cross reference the task list with the Domain Admin list to see if you have a winner.
  • It would be nice if Domain Admin processes were always available on the system initially compromised, but sometimes that is not the case. So the next four techniques will help you find Domain Admin process on remote domain systems.

    Technique 2: Querying Domain Controllers for Active Domain User Sessions

  • Gather a list of Domain Admins from the Domain Admins group using LDAP queries or net commands. Ive provided a net command example below. net group Domain Admins /domain
  • Technique 3: Scanning Remote Systems for Running Tasks

    The original post is: Crawling for Domain Admin with Tasklist if youre interested.

    Technique 4: Scanning Remote Systems for NetBIOS Information

    Technique 5: PSExec Shell Spraying Remote Systems for Auth Tokens

    How To Manage Windows Without Domain Admin Privileges

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  • How to Manage Windows Without Domain Admin Privileges
  • Active Directory is a gateway for hackers to your entire IT infrastructure. Despite this, IT staff are routinely granted privileged access to Active Directory, which leaves the environment susceptible to threats, and may allow malicious actors to infiltrate the deepest levels of your infrastructure, while hiding their tracks. But a few, simple Active Directory security best practices can significantly reduce the risk of a breach.

    The principle of least privilege is a well-known security paradigm that dictates users should be granted only the rights required to perform designated tasks. IT staff are often given domain admin privileges to Active Directory to expedite access to domain controllers and administrative access to servers and end-user devices. But domain admin privileges are not required for managing Active Directory or for supporting servers and workstations. When domain admin rights are required, they should be granted for a time-limited period, and only used on systems secured to the same standards as domain controllers.

    Want to learn more? Join me in my webinar “8-Step Guide to Administering Windows without Domain Admin Privileges

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    Best Practices For Managing Domain Admin Accounts

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  • Best Practices for Managing Domain Admin Accounts
  • Auditors often discover that domain administrator privileges are assigned to IT staff with abandon, and not strictly limited to the just-in-time use on domain controllers that Microsoft and security experts recommend. This is partly due to the default local group configuration on Windows clients, where domain administrators automatically become members of the local Administrators group when a device joins a domain, which in turn gives the local and remote access needed to support end users. In a similar vein, the same applies to domain member servers.

    Check out this on-demand webinar on best practices for managing domain admin accounts to learn pro-tips to protect your organization from critical attacks.

    The risks of using privileged domain accounts on devices that are not secured to the same level as DCs increases the chances that domain administrator credentials could be exposed. Windows caches credentials by default to authenticate users when a domain controller cant be reached, including those of domain administrator accounts that have previously logged in to a device. As such, a compromised workstation or member server can also lead to stolen domain administrator credentials.

    Want to learn more? Watch this on-demand webinar now.

    About Active Directory Groups

    Determine Who Is within the Domain Admins Group Using ConfigMgr

    Groups are used to collect user accounts, computer accounts, and other groups into manageable units. Working with groups instead of with individual users helps simplify network maintenance and administration.

    There are two types of groups in Active Directory:

    • Distribution groups Used to create email distribution lists.

    • Security groups Used to assign permissions to shared resources.

    Also Check: When Will Domain Become Available

    Terminal Server License Servers

    Members of the Terminal Server License Servers group can update user accounts in Active Directory with information about license issuance. This is used to track and report TS Per User CAL usage. A TS Per User CAL gives one user the right to access a Terminal Server from an unlimited number of client computers or devices. This group appears as a SID until the domain controller is made the primary domain controller and it holds the operations master role .

    For more information about this security group, see Terminal Services License Server Security Group Configuration.

    The Terminal Server License Servers group applies to versions of the Windows Server operating system listed in the Active Directory Default Security Groups table.


    This group cannot be renamed, deleted, or moved.

    This security group only applies to Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 because Terminal Services was replaced by Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2.


    Techopedia Explains Administrative Domain

    A good example is a corporate network that spans different regions and is managed by a single office or department. The components within the administrative domain operate mostly with mutual trust and treat all outside entities with suspicion. For large corporations with various offices scattered across the world, this allows the efficient sharing of data and dissemination of information, without strict security interfering with the communication network. Information is typically safe from outsiders, but the real threat comes from inside the domain, specifically when it comes to sending information to outside entities.

    Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Cheap Domains

    How Do I Find My Domain Username And Password

    How to Find a Domain Admin Password

  • Log in to your admin workstation with your user name and password that has administrator privileges.
  • Type net user /? to view all your options for the net user command.
  • Type net user administrator * /domain and press Enter. Change domain with your domain network name.
  • Windows Authorization Access Group

    Domain Admin Login

    Members of this group have access to the computed token GroupsGlobalAndUniversal attribute on User objects. Some applications have features that read the token-groups-global-and-universal attribute on user account objects or on computer account objects in Active Directory Domain Services. Some Win32 functions make it easier to read the TGGAU attribute. Applications that read this attribute or that call an API that reads this attribute do not succeed if the calling security context does not have access to the attribute. This group appears as a SID until the domain controller is made the primary domain controller and it holds the operations master role .

    The Windows Authorization Access group applies to versions of the Windows Server operating system listed in the Active Directory Default Security Groups table.


    This group cannot be renamed, deleted, or moved.

    This security group has not changed since Windows Server 2008.


    Recommended Reading: How To Negotiate A Domain Name

    S To Enable Auditing Using The Group Policy Management Console :

    Perform the following actions on the domain controller :

  • Press Start, then search for and open the Group Policy Management Console, or run the command gpmc.msc.
  • Right-click the domain or organizational unit that you want to audit, and click Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here… If you have already created a Group Policy Object , go to step 4.
  • Name the GPO.
  • Right-click the GPO, and choose Edit.
  • In the left pane of the Group Policy Management Editor, navigate to Computer Configuration Policies Windows Settings Security Settings Local Policies Audit Policy.
  • In the right pane, you will see a list of policies under Audit Policy. Double-click Audit account management, and check the boxes next to Define these policy settings, Success, and Failure.
  • Click Apply, then OK.
  • Go back to the Group Policy Management Console, and in the left pane, right-click the desired OU in which the GPO was linked, and click Group Policy Update. This step makes sure the new Group Policy settings are applied instantly instead of waiting for the next scheduled refresh.
  • Once this policy is enabled, whenever a user is added to the security-enabled group, corresponding events are logged under the DC’s security log category.

    Use Managed Service Accounts For Scheduled Tasks And Services

    When deploying scheduled tasks or custom/third party services to devices, it is recommended that you create a unique Managed Service Accounts for each one to compartmentalise and limit potential attack vectors.

    Managed Service Accounts are a sort of hybrid computer and user account, but inherit mainly from computer accounts, so they will automatically update their passwords on the same scheduled as a computer account . They are also incapable on interactive logins.

    Read Also: How To Add User To Domain Windows 10

    Denying Access To Devices

    So now that you have some background on the credential Tier model and understand why it is important to prevent privileged users from authenticating on untrusted devices, let’s look at some of the ways enterprises can control Tier 0 accounts from logging onto lower Tier devices.

    • Define a policy and trust your Domain Administrator’s to follow the rules.
    • This never works. Prior to working for Microsoft and while working with customers I see this model fail. Admins always try to justify the practice of not protecting the credentials with not enough time to do the proper protection.
  • Manually remove the Domain Administrator from the Local Administrators Group
  • Not only is this an unsupported configuration it doesn’t prevent the Domain Administrator from logging onto the machine. It does remove their local admin rights but it will leave their credential hashes on the device, unless you are using Credential/Remote Credential Guard.
  • Define a set of Group Policies to prevent the Domain Administrator from authenticating to lower Tier devices, this includes network authentication.
  • There are 5 different Group Policies that need to be defined that will prevent Domain Administrators from authenticating on devices. These policies should be linked to both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 devices.
  • Doing a whoami, you can see the identity logged onto the Win10 device is the Domain admin for the domain
  • Opening up the Local Administrators group
    • Deny logon via RDP

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