Enabling the AD Recycle Bin and Recovering Objects

This is an easy process. Recovering deleted AD objects using the old methods was not. By default, even in new domains, the AD Recycle Bin is not enabled.

Before doing this, the object lifecycle should be understood. Once the AD Recycle Bin is enabled, when an object is deleted it is considered to be logically deleted, which is when the object’s attributes are preserved. It remains in this condition until the “Deleted Object Lifetime” period is met. This value is called the msDS-deletedObjectLifetime attribute, which by default is null, and thus is controlled by the “tombstone lifetime” attribute. At the end of this time point, most of the attributes are stripped away and the object is now in the “Recycled Object Lifetime” period. At this point an object can not be recovered using the AD Recycle Bin and the the object is similar to “tombstoned” objects, the lifecycle of which can be controlled by changing the tombstone lifetime attributes. Default for this time period is 180 days, but older domains may be different. Following this time period, the object is permanently and physically deleted.

Enabling the AD Recycle Bin

PowerShell example from the MS website:

Enable-ADOptionalFeature -Identity 'CN=Recycle Bin Feature,CN=Optional Features,CN=Directory Service,CN=Windows NT,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=com' -Scope ForestOrConfigurationSet -Target 'contoso.com'

Or for the GUI:

Server Manager -> Tools -> Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC) -> Manage -> Add Navigation Nodes -> <Domain Name>(local)

In the Tasks pane, click “Enable Recycle Bin”

Recovering Deleted Objects

Server Manager -> Tools -> Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC) -> Manage -> Add Navigation Nodes -> <Domain Name>(local)-> Deleted Objects

Chose the object to restore and click “Restore” in the Tasks pane. For recovering multiple objects, such as recovering an OU, a search of the web might be necessary to script the recovery.

Note about msDS-deletedObjectLifetime and tombstone lifetime attributes

These can be found and changed using ADSI Edit and PowerShell.

It is worth taking a look at these especially if the existing domain began prior to Server 2003 since the default tombstone dates were typically only 60 days in length.

Disable Screen Auto Lock GPO

I do this in my home test networks. It should NOT be done in a production system or even test systems where access to the server may be easy for many people.

Create a new GPO and link it where appropriate. Then edit the following:

Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Power Management -> Video and Display Settings -> Turn Off the Display (Plugged In)

Enable it and set “Seconds” to 0.

MS Fine-Grained AD Password Policies

The default domain GPO is used to set the password policy in an Active Directory environment. However, according to MS only one GPO is allowed within a domain to be set when dealing with password policies. MS created Fine-Grained password policies to allow for additional password policy settings where required. This may be set via PowerShell commands or using the Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC) tool.

A few cravats:

Fine-Grained password policies can be applied to user objects and global security groups.  If you need to apply the Fine-Grained password policy against an OU, “shadow” groups are required to be applied to the OU. A shadow group can only be applied to one OU and if a user is moved between OU’s, the shadow group membership must also be changed.

There are several methods in which the new policy can be created, such as ADSI.exe, but this will only cover the more common methods of creation.

Create a New Fine-Grained Password Policy via GUI

Open Active Directory Administrate Center (ADAC) as admin:

Server Manager -> Tools -> Active Directory Administrate Center

Or open PowerShell as admin:



Manage -> Add Navigation Modes

In the “Add Navigation Modes window”:

System -> Password Settings Container -> click the double arrow button to add it to the navigation pane -> OK

Create a new password policy:

Select System-Password-Container -> New (under Tasks) -> Password Settings

Enter the appropriate password policy information. Note the name that you give it and set a precedence such as “1”. Under “Directly Applies To”, add the desired security group that the new policy will be applied against.

Fine-Grained Password Policies Using PowerShell

As always, see PowerShell Help for more detailed information than may be shown here. Open Powershell as admin.

To view all policies (or get a policy name):

Get-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy -Filter "*"

To view a single policy:

Get-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy -Identity "<policy name>"

To view all properties in a policy:

Get-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy -Identity "<policy name>" -Properties *

To view detailed properties information:

Get-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy -Identity "<policy name>" -Properties * | Get-Member

To view the group affected by the Fine-Grained Password Policy (can also be seen in the above commands):

Get-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicySubject -Identity "<policy name>"

To Create a new policy:

New-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicy "<policy name>" -ComplexityEnabled:$true  -MaxPasswordAge:"90.00:00:00" -MinPasswordAge:"1.00:00:00" -MinPasswordLength:"12" -PasswordHistoryCount:"24" -Precedence:"1" -ReversibleEncryptionEnabled:$false -ProtectedFromAccidentalDeletion:$true

Apply a security group to a policy

Add-ADFineGrainedPasswordPolicySubject "<policy name>" -Subjects "<group name>"

Check the RSOP for the password policy for a user in the group:

Get-ADUserResultantPasswordPolicy "<user name>"

You can also edit and delete a policy using PowerShell.  Look em up. In both PowerShell and ADAC the “Protect from accidental deletion” property must be changed before deletion can take place.