Category Archives: Basics

How To Display which Fine Grain Password Policy is applied

In this post we look at how to display which Fine Grain Password Policy (FGPP) is being applied to a user.

Fine Grain Password Policies were introducted in Windows 2008, and provide the ability to define different password policies that can be assigned to users or members of a group.  The assigned FGPP will take precedence over the default domain policy, and can be used to provide a different settings depending on your requirements, this could be used to have a more strict password policy for admin accounts.

The FGPP configuration is stored in a Password Security Object or PSO and multiple PSO can be created with different settings.  These are stored in the Password Settings Container under the default name context i.e CN=Password Settings Container,CN=System,DC=w2k12,DC=local.

A user can be assigned multiple FGPP, but only one will be active and used to control the user password requirements.  The msDS-PSOApplied attribute is used to list all the PSO that are assigned directly to user or group objects.  The msDS-ResultantPSO attribute is used to show which FGPP is being applied to the user.

NetTools is able to display the FGPP polices and which FGPP is allocated to a user. (Version 1.30.7 and above required)

If we search for a user using the Quick Search field on the toolbar.

Quick Search

From the search results if we double click on the user's account and open the AD properties dialog, the Logon tab, shows which Fine Grain Policy is being applied and the Fine Grain Password tab shows the settings of that policy.

AD Properties - Logon
AD Properties - FGPP

Mapping Get-ADTrust attributes to the TDO Object

This post provides the details of the mapping between the the attributes displayed by the Get-ADTrust powershell command and the attributes of the TDO object.

Most of the properties returned by the Get-ADTrust command map to the TrustAttribute attribute of the TDO object, so the table below shows which values of the TrustAttribute map to corresponding Get-ADTrust Property.  The NetTools Mnemonic column has the name of the mnemonic that NetTools will display if this value is set.

Get-ADTrust ParameterTDO AttributeNetTools Mnemonic
ForestTransitiveTrustAttributeForest Transitive
SelectiveAuthenticationTrustAttributeCross Organisation
TGTDelegationTrustAttributeTGT Delegration
UsesRC4EncryptionTrustAttributeRC4 Encryption

This table shows the NetDom command argument that is used to change the corresponding TDO attribute.

Get-ADTrust ParameterNetDom Parameter
Directiontwoway or oneside

This page provides the details of the netdom command parameters, and this page provides the details of the TrustAttribute attribute.  This page provides the details of the SID filtering functionality and which SID will be filtered.

The screenshot below shows the enumerate or mnemonics as defined on NetTools.


How To Find Active Directory Effective Rights

NetTools includes the ACL Browser option, which also allows you to see the effective rights for a nominated trustee, it also provides the ability to change the trustees rights to assess the impact this will have trustees access to objects in the AD.   In this post we will look at how to use this option to view the effective rights of a user.

ACL Browser

To configure ACL Browser to show the Effective Rights we need complete the following steps.

How To Display Active Directory Effective Permissions

    Select the ACL Browser

    Open NetTools and select the ACL Browser option under Access Control in the left hand pane.

    Display AD Permissions

    Select the Connection Profile or server to connect to.  See Connection Profiles

    Select the Context you wish to view

    Click Refresh

    You can now navigate through the AD to see the permissions set on the objects

    Select Trustee

    To display the effective rights for a trustee, we need to select the trustee using the Trustee Information dialog, click on the Trustee button

    Trustee Information

    Press the Select button to select the Trustee, enter the name of the trustee, this can be a user, computer, or group.  The click Select.

    Select Trustee

    The Trustee Information dialog will be updated with the SIDs that user in a member of, this is the user's access token, this information will be used to determine the effective rights of the user.

    Trustee Information

    View Effective Rights

    The ACL list is now filtered showing only the permissions that will be applied to the trustee when they try to access the AD object.  In this example for the selected user only one effective permission is shown on the Computers folder and this will be applied to the user when they access the object.

    See the ACL Browser page for information on the icons and there meanings.

    ACL Browser - Effective Permissions

    Modelling Effective Rights

    One of the features of the Trustee Information dialog is that we can model changes to the trustees effective rights.  By using the add and remove buttons we can add or remove groups included in the trustee's access token, which is used to display the effective rights, this allows you to model how group  changes will impact Trustee's access.

    Trustee Information - Added Domain Admins

    In this example above, the access token of the Trustee has been modified to include the Domain Admins group.  Below is the ACL Browser is showing the effective permissions based on the updated access token for the Trustee.  Now two permissions are shown based on the updated access token.

    ACL Browser - Effective Rights

    You can now browser the AD to see what rights that the Trustee has on the objects in AD.  To turn off the Effective Rights view, click on the Clear button in the Trustee Information dialog.

    How To: Clear the group membership for a list of users

    In this post we will look at how to remove the membership of a number of users using the NetTools LDAP Search option. This action is typical in a user deprovisioning activity where user accounts are moved to a separate OU and group membership of the users are removed.

    We could also use LDAP Search to move the user objects to the OU as well, but we will assume that the user accounts are already in the target OU.

    To complete this operation we need to complete the following steps:

    Clear Group Membership Steps

      Get a list of groups that users are a member of

      First go to the LDAP Search option and click on the populate button.


      Click on the OU Selector and select the OU that contains the users that need their group membership cleared.

      OU Selector

      The Base DN will be set to the required OU.

      To limit the scope of the query to only the users that are disabled and have group membership, change the filter to (&(objectclass=user)(useraccountcontrol|=2)(memberof=*))

      Set the Attributes field to memberof

      Change the Search Scope to either One Level or Subtree as required

      Click the More button

      Select the Single Line option -  this will cause each of the user’s group memberships to be displayed on a separate line

      You should have something like this:

      List Group Membership

      Click Go

      You should get a complete list of the group membership for all the users, with each group membership on a separate line in the table view.  The DN field is the DN of the user, and Memberof is the group that the user is a member of.

      Group List Output

      Remove users from groups based on list produced in step 1

      We are going to use the input mode functionality with an update query to remove the users from the groups.  As users are added to groups, so the update query will target the groups and remove the users from each group.

      Right click on the table view and select the Table Input Mode or select Table Input in the options

      Input Mode

      The column headers will change to ##Input and ##Input2, the entries in the columns can now be used as input to the query.   See Input Mode for more details.

      Change the Base DN field to read ##input2 -  which will target the group based on the list of DNs in the ##input2 column in the table

      Input Mode Column Headers

      We now need to change the query to remove the users from the groups.

      Change the Filter to (objectclass=group)

      Change the Attributes field to member=-##input

      Change the Search Scope to Base Level

      Select the Enable Updates options, for more details see Update Queries.

      Deselect the Display Results – this is to increase performance, the remaining membership of the group will not be displayed.

      Remove Group Members

      With the Preview option selected click Go.

      Check all the entries to confirm that each line has a DN and member entry added.  If one or both of these fields are missing on a line, it means that, the group on that line doesn’t exist.  This shouldn’t happen as we just exported the group membership, but someone else might have changed the group membership between the steps being run.

      Preview Results

      Once confirmed unselect the Preview option and click Go

      You will get a warning message, click Yes

      The member field will be changed to Updated if the user was successfully removed from the group, if the update failed an error message will be displayed.

      Update Results

      The details in the table view can be copied and pasted into a spreadsheet to record what changes have been made.  It can also be used to undo the changes that have been made.  By change the Attributes field to member=+##input and running the update query again, the users will be added back into the groups.

      NLTEST Flags – what does 0x20000 mean?

      When running NLTEST /DSGETDC command against a domain controller that is Windows 2012R2 or later, the command will display the normal flags plus an extra flag called '0x20000', but what does the 0x20000 flag mean.  First of all it's not an error code, Microsoft have added an additional feature to Windows 2012R2 and later DCs, but NLTEST hasn't been updated to display this flag correctly, even the Windows 2019 version doesn't have this flag defined.

      The results deplayed by NLTEST /DSGETDC is the information returned by the DsGetDcName API, this information if defined in the DOMAIN_CONTROLLER_INFO structure.

      typedef struct DOMAIN_CONTROLLER_INFOA {
      LPSTR DomainControllerName;
      LPSTR DomainControllerAddress;
      ULONG DomainControllerAddressType;
      GUID DomainGuid;
      LPSTR DomainName;
      LPSTR DnsForestName;
      ULONG Flags;
      LPSTR DcSiteName;
      LPSTR ClientSiteName;

      The Flags member has the following definitions in the dsgetdc.h file

      #define DS_PDC_FLAG 0x00000001 // DC is PDC of Domain
      #define DS_GC_FLAG 0x00000004 // DC is a GC of forest
      #define DS_LDAP_FLAG 0x00000008 // Server supports an LDAP server
      #define DS_DS_FLAG 0x00000010 // DC supports a DS and is a Domain Controller
      #define DS_KDC_FLAG 0x00000020 // DC is running KDC service
      #define DS_TIMESERV_FLAG 0x00000040 // DC is running time service
      #define DS_CLOSEST_FLAG 0x00000080 // DC is in closest site to client
      #define DS_WRITABLE_FLAG 0x00000100 // DC has a writable DS
      #define DS_GOOD_TIMESERV_FLAG 0x00000200 // DC is running time service (and has clock hardware)
      #define DS_NDNC_FLAG 0x00000400 // DomainName is non-domain NC serviced by the LDAP server
      #define DS_SELECT_SECRET_DOMAIN_6_FLAG 0x00000800 // DC has some secrets
      #define DS_FULL_SECRET_DOMAIN_6_FLAG 0x00001000 // DC has all secrets
      #define DS_WS_FLAG 0x00002000 // DC is running web service
      #define DS_DS_8_FLAG 0x00004000 // DC is running Win8 or later
      #define DS_DS_9_FLAG 0x00008000 // DC is running Win8.1 or later
      #define DS_DS_10_FLAG 0x00010000 // DC is running WinThreshold or later
      #define DS_KEY_LIST_FLAG 0X00020000 // DC supports key list requests
      #define DS_PING_FLAGS 0x000FFFFF // Flags returned on ping
      #define DS_DNS_CONTROLLER_FLAG 0x20000000 // DomainControllerName is a DNS name
      #define DS_DNS_DOMAIN_FLAG 0x40000000 // DomainName is a DNS name
      #define DS_DNS_FOREST_FLAG 0x80000000 // DnsForestName is a DNS name

      As you can see 0x20000 is defined in the include file as support for Key List Requests, see the Kerberos Protocol Extension [MS-KILE] section 2.2.11 for more info.  NetTools includes this decode and the result from the same server shows the option for Key List Request are supported.

      How To: Using Search Stats OID 1.2.840.113556.1.4.970

      Active Directory and LDS provide a server side control which when added to a query will provides statistics on the efficiency of the query that was executed, the specific control is OID 1.2.840.113556.1.4.970 - LDAP_SERVER_GET_STATS_OID and the details can be found here.

      The NetTools LDAP Search option provides a simple checkbox option to enable this server side control to be added to queries.  The option is found in the Server Side Controls section, called Search Statistics.  When the query is run and the user has the appropriate permissions the search statistics will be returned.

      When the query is executed the Statistics are displayed in the output panel after the results of the query.  Below are the statistics returned by Windows 2016 server.

      The version of the operating system running on the server, will determine the statistics that will be returned.  As Windows evolved the level details returned by the server has also increased.  Windows 2000 only provided 4 different statistics, Windows 2003 increased this to 6, and for Windows 2008 this increased to 15 and it also introduced a new format which provides more details but the fields are dynamic, rather than the older static fields.

      NetTools detects the Domain Controller Functional level of the server and automatically adjust the control parameters to select the highest level of detail available for the server.

      The table below shows which statistics level are returned by each version of Windows

      2000 2003/R2 2008/R2 2012/R2 2016 2019
      StatsResponseValueV1 x
      StatsResponseValueV2 x
      StatsResponseValueV3 x x x x
      StatsResponseValueV4 x x x x

      The details for each set of Stats can be found below.  

      While NetTools will automatically select the stats level based on the domain controller functional level, it is possible to manually specify the required stats level using the Server Side Controls dialog.  To do this, first uncheck the Search Statistics option, then click on the Controls button in the Server Side Control section and add a control as shown below, the Value to 1 for the corresponding V1,V2, or V3 supported by the server or a Value of 5 for the V4 stats.

      These are the Statistics returned by a Windows 2019 server with the Value set to 1:

      Search Stats:
        Thread Count: 1
        Call Time (ms): 0
        Entries Returned: 3
        Entries Visited: 4
        Filter: ( & (objectClass=user) (name=gary*) ) 
        Index: idx_name:4:N;
        Pages Referenced: 126
        Pages Read: 0
        Pages Pre-Read: 0
        Clean Pages Modified: 0
        Dirty Pages Modified: 0
        Log Records Generated: 0
        Log Records Bytes Generated: 0

      These are the Statistics returned by the same query, with the Value set to 5

      Search Stats:
        Thread count: 1
        Call time (in ms): 0
        Entries Returned: 0
        Entries Visited: 0
        Used Filter: ( & (objectClass=user) (name=gary*) ) 
        Used Indexes: idx_name:4:N;
        Pages Referenced: 27
        Pages Read From Disk: 0
        Pages Pre-read From Disk: 0
        Clean Pages Modified: 0
        Dirty Pages Modified: 0
        Log Records Generated: 0
        Log Record Bytes Generated: 0
        Indices required to optimize: 
        Query optimizer state: ( & (objectClass=user:878204) (name=gary*:4) ) 
        Atq Delay: 0
        CPU Time: 0
        Search Signature: b4cce897-7577-b624-5d18-2f5a9e90754f
        Memory Usage: 26744
        JET LV Read: 0
        JET LV Created: 0
        Total call time (in ms): 0
        Total CPU time: 0
        Number of retries: 0
        Correlation ID: e2a4641a-0714-44cc-b1bf-a0b0ca8e055c
        Links Added: 0
        Links Deleted: 0

      These are the various Stats data lists:

      StatsResponseValueV1 ::= SEQUENCE {
        threadCountTag            INTEGER
        threadCount               INTEGER
        coreTimeTag               INTEGER
        coreTime                  INTEGER
        callTimeTag               INTEGER
        callTime                  INTEGER
        searchSubOperationsTag    INTEGER
        searchSubOperations       INTEGER
      StatsResponseValueV2 ::= SEQUENCE {
        threadCountTag        INTEGER
        threadCount           INTEGER
        callTimeTag           INTEGER
        callTime              INTEGER
        entriesReturnedTag    INTEGER
        entriesReturned       INTEGER
        entriesVisitedTag     INTEGER
        entriesVisited        INTEGER
        filterTag             INTEGER
        filter                OCTET STRING
        indexTag              INTEGER
        index                 OCTET STRING
      StatsResponseValueV3 ::= SEQUENCE {
        threadCountTag INTEGER
        threadCount INTEGER
        callTimeTag INTEGER
        callTime INTEGER
        entriesReturnedTag INTEGER
        entriesReturned INTEGER
        entriesVisitedTag INTEGER
        entriesVisited INTEGER
        filterTag INTEGER
        filter OCTET STRING
        indexTag INTEGER
        index OCTET STRING
        pagesReferencedTag INTEGER
        pagesReferenced INTEGER
        pagesReadTag INTEGER
        pagesRead INTEGER
        pagesPrereadTag INTEGER
        pagesPreread INTEGER
        pagesDirtiedTag INTEGER
        pagesDirtied INTEGER
        pagesRedirtiedTag INTEGER
        pagesRedirtied INTEGER
        logRecordCountTag INTEGER
        logRecordCount INTEGER
        logRecordBytesTag INTEGER
        logRecordBytes INTEGER
      StatsResponseValueV4 ::= SEQUENCE OF SEQUENCE {
            statisticName         OCTET STRING
            CHOICE {
               intStatistic [0]       INTEGER
               stringStatistic [1]    OCTET STRING

      Process Flow for LDAP Search

      This is a quick article that shows the process flow of the LDAP Search feature.  The LDAP Search function consists of a number of functions that are used to execute the query and display the results.  The main function is used to collect and validate the user inputs and connect to the server and execute the query, then a sub function is used to display the results and complete any attribute updates.  The process shown below starts when the user presses the Go button to execute the query.

      How To: Decode LogonHours Attribute

      In this post we look at the LogonHours attribute, which is used to restrict when a user is allowed to logon, and how to decode this attribute.

      The LogonHours attribute has a octet data type that is used to store a 21 byte value which defines when a user is allowed to logon, outside of these hours the user will receive the following error message when they try to logon:

      This may be seen as one of the following errors:

      Error 1327: Account restrictions are preventing this user from signing in. For example: blank passwords aren't allowed, sign-in times are limited, or a policy restriction has been enforced

      Error 1328: Your account has time restrictions that keep you from signing in right now.

      The LogonHours attribute is used to define when a user is permitted to log on, it uses the 21 byte data structure to represent the day’s of the week.  It uses three bytes to represent each day of the week. The three bytes represent the hours of the day, the diagram below shows the mapping of the bytes to days and hours.

      The user's permitted logon hours are displayed in the properties of the user in Active Directory User and Computers under the Account tab. 

      One of the challenges with decoding the LogonHours attribute is that the data is saved based on UTC, as shown in the mapping above, however, Active Directory Users and Computers will display the details based on the local time zone of the computer running ADUC, and will adjust the times based on the time zone offset.   Below we can see that the left hand picture shows the Logon Hours on a computer with the time zone set to UTC, while the right shows the same details but the computer has a time zone set to Melbourne (UTC+10).

      The time zone of the Domain Controller, which authenticates the user will be used to determine, if they can log on, or not.

      This is the value of the attribute based on the permitted logon hours of Monday to Friday 6am to 7pm on a machine with time zone set to UTC, as shown in the left picture above.

      DN> CN=Teena Lee,OU=Domain Users,DC=w2k12,DC=local
      > logonHours: 00 00 00 C0 FF 03 C0 FF 03 C0 FF 03 C0 FF 03 C0 FF 03 00 00 00

      We can see that this aligns with the mapping above, with the Sunday and Saturday bytes set to zeros. Next, this is the value set for the same time window on a machine with the time zone set to Melbourne (UTC+10)

      DN> CN=Teena Lee,OU=Domain Users,DC=w2k12,DC=local
      > logonHours: 00 00 F0 FF 01 F0 FF 01 F0 FF 01 F0 FF 01 F0 FF 01 00 00 00 00

      The Sunday bytes now have values set, as the time was adjusted by -10 hours before it was saved. Next, this is the value set for the same time window on a machine with the time zone set to Pacific Time (UTC-10)

      DN> CN=Teena Lee,OU=Domain Users,DC=w2k12,DC=local
      > logonHours (BIN): 00 00 00 00 C0 FF 07 C0 FF 07 C0 FF 07 C0 FF 07 C0 FF 07 00 00 

      With this one, the hours data is now written into the Saturday bytes due to the UTC-10 offset.

      The LogonHours functionality is limited to a single time zone, and can potentially cause logon issues, if a user travels, or authenticates to a Domain Controller which has a different time zone set.

      The AD Properties dialog in NetTools has a Restrictions tab which displays the Logon Hours, by default it will use the local time zone to display this information, however, there is an option to allow you to manually adjust the time zone to see the impact the user's ability to logon.

      Below is the code used to display the LogonHours in NetTools, the function is called for each square in the grid, the ACol and ARow defining the square that is being queried, the function will colour the square blue, if the LogonHour is set.  The function also automatically adjusts the LogonHours based on the local or user selected time zone.

      void dgHoursDrawCell(TObject *Sender, int ACol, int ARow, TRect &Rect, TGridDrawState State)
      int Index, Col,Row, Mask;
      int Val, Bias;
         // use Col and Row to reflect tz offset
         Col = ACol;
         Row = ARow;
         // change start of week to Monday
         if (Row==6){
            Row = 0;
         } else {
         if (chkLocalTime->Checked){
            Bias = tz.Bias/60;  // get local time zone, tz populated when form is loaded
         } else {
            try {
                Bias = StrToInt(cmbTZOffset->Text);  // get user selection
                Bias = 0;
         Col += Bias;  // add time zone offset
         if (Col > 23) {  // rap pointer to start of next day
            Col -= 24;
         if (Col < 0) {  // rap pointer to end of the previous day
            Col += 24;
         if (Row > 6) Row = 0; // rap pointer to valid data
         if (Row < 0) Row = 6;
         if (Col >=0 && Col <=7) Index=0;  // select the correct hours offset bytes
         if (Col >=8 && Col <=15) Index=1;
         if (Col >=16 && Col <=23) Index=2;
         Index += (3 * Row);  // get correct byte
         Mask = 0x1 << (Col % 8);  // create bit mask for hour based on col number
         Val = HourBuffer[Index] & Mask;  // apply mask to check if set
         if (Val){  // Val is non zero set square to blue
             dgHours->Canvas->Brush->Color = clBlue;
         } else {
             dgHours->Canvas->Brush->Color = clWhite;
         dgHours->Canvas->FillRect(Rect);  // draw the square


      Invalid characters for Office365 Sync

      Office365 specifies a number of characters that can't be includes in a number of key attributes. These invalid characters vary depending on the attribute, for a full list of invalid characters in each attribute see this Microsoft article.

      NetTools includes a predefined query that will show which user objects contain these invalid characters. The query is called Users: Invalid characters for O365, which is available in the LDAP Search option. These are the attributes that are included in the search

            • givenName
            • sn
            • mailNickname
            • proxyAddresses
            • UserPrincipalName 
            • mail

      To run the query first select the LDAP Search Option in the left hand pane, then click on the Populate button, shown in the red square below, to connect to the AD and populate the Base DN field.


      Once the Populate has finished, select the Users: Invalid characters for O365 query from the Favorites dropdown list. If required, change the BaseDN field to limit the scope of the search and then click Go.  A list of all the user objects that contain invalid characters will be displayed.

      The query uses the Regex Display filter option to only display the user objects that have invalid characters.  Here are the the query properties:

      [Users: Invalid characters for O365]
      Attributes=userPrincipalName, proxyAddresses;SMTP, givenName, sn,displayName,mailNickname, mail
      DisplayFilter=userPrincipalName regx [\"|,/:<>+=;?*'] || givenName regx [\"|,/:<>+=;?*'] || sn regx [\"|,/:<>+=;?*'] || mailNickname regx [\"|,/:<>+=;?*'] || mail regx [\"|,/:<>+=;?*'] || proxyaddresses regx [\"|,/:<>+=;?*']

      For more information on the available queries see Redefined LDAP Queries  
      For details on the favorites option see Favorites

      Workaround for SmartScreen

      When running NetTools on a Windows 10 machine, it can sometimes trigger the Microsoft Defender SmartScreen and block the execution of NetTools.  This is because NetTools is not signed and SmartScreen blocks apps that have been downloaded.  This is an example of the SmartScreen dialog that is be displayed.

      To prevent SmartScreen from blocking NetTools, open the properties of NetTools.exe and check the Unblock option and click OK.