userAccountControl manipulation

The userAccountControl attribute, which resides on each user and computer object in an Active Directory forest, is responsible for, well, controlling lots of things about those accounts. For example it controls whether an account is locked out, or whether an account is disabled, or whether the password for the account expires.

The feature named User Account Control, introduced in Windows Vista, has nothing to do with the userAccountControl attribute. The naming collision is unfortunate.

The userAccountControl attribute is a bit-field attribute. This means that while many things are controlled by a single attribute value, each unique value can have an impact on an account. For information about all the possible values that the attribute can take, see KB 305144, How to use the UserAccountControl flags to manipulate user account properties.

In a forum I spend time with, a poster wanted to disable the “password never expires” flag on all the user accounts contained within an OU. Of course, you can do this manually, but that is subject to error and is very tedious. So, I provided them a PowerShell script to accomplish their objective. See below, and be aware that you can use the same techniques shown in this script to modify any bit-wise value.

You’ll note the use of “-band” and “-bxor” in the PowerShell script. These stand for “bit-wise AND” and similarly “bit-wise XOR”, respectively. The bit-wise operators ensure that each bit of a value is calculated against each corresponding bit in the paired value.

	$ou = "LDAP://cn=Users,dc=essential,dc=local"


	$objDomain = New-Object System.DirectoryServices.DirectoryEntry( $ou )
	$objSearcher = New-Object System.DirectoryServices.DirectorySearcher
	$objSearcher.SearchRoot = $objDomain
	$objSearcher.Filter = "(&(objectCategory=person)(objectClass=user))"
	$results = $objSearcher.FindAll()

	foreach( $result in $results )
		$user = [adsi] $result.Path
		$value = $user.userAccountControl.Item( 0 )

		( $user.Name.item( 0 ) + ' ' + $value.ToString() )

		if( ( $value -band $ADS_UF_DONT_EXPIRE_PASSWD ) -ne 0 )
			$value = $value -bxor $ADS_UF_DONT_EXPIRE_PASSWD
			$user.userAccountControl = $value
			( "`t" + $ + ' updated to $value' )

Until next time…

As always, if there are items you would like me to talk about, please drop me a line and let me know!

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