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"Yeah. I wrote a script that will do that."

Export and Import Delegated OU Permissions with PowerShell

Posted on August 13th, 2017

There are some delegations of permissions within Active Directory which cannot be made without extra effort. Some properties have been flagged as hidden in a file called Dssec.dat, located in %windir%\System32 on computers with the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) MMC. Dssec.dat is a hidden text file that can be viewed and modified with Notepad. When you open Dssec.dat, you’ll notice that it’s divided into headings based on object class. Be sure to go to the [User] heading to make modifications. Otherwise, you won’t see any effect on the GUI display. For example, to show the PhysicalDeliveryOfficeName and other properties in the GUI, change the Dssec.dat value from 7 to 0 and save the changes. For more, see: Note too, that you can use delegwiz.inf for custom delegations.

If you need to copy the delegations to apply over many OUs within a domain this can be cumbersome.  You have to copy the modified dssec.dat or delegwiz.inf to each systems running the ADUC.  If you choose to simply go with a modified dssec.dat file select the right combination of permissions can be difficult.   Here is my solution:

1) Run the export script, Export-SelectedOUPermissions.ps1,  selecting domain and path which has the permissions you want to copy.
2) Optionally edit the permissions files to change the Identity Reference — the user or group to get the permissions.
3) Run the import script, Import-SelectedOUPermissions.ps1, select domain and destination(s).  You can use the graphical list to put checkboxes beside your selections.

If you are running the import script from within the ISE, the editor will be temporarily minimized to ensure you can see the menus.  You really should run the script in test mode first, and apply your delegation to a test OU before running in production.  Because Set-ACL often fails outside of the local domain with a “server refused” error, I used the .NET ObjectSecurity.SetSecurityDescriptorSddlForm method to apply the changes.

Recently an accidentally removed a complex delegation from an OU at 4:00 pm.  We were able to copy the delegation from another source and have the site back up and running within 10 minutes.


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Filed under Active Directory, Alan's Favorites, My Best, PowerShell, Scripting, Security, Windows Administration | No Comments »

Remove Active Directory Delegations

Posted on February 25th, 2017

Over time, Active Directory delegations tend to accumulate and drift from the standards in the enterprise.  Removing the delegations for a user or group can be slow, especially if you do it manually.  Microsoft has a good article about this process, but none of the methods I found did what I needed.  I wanted a script which could look at all or selected OUs in AD for a delegation, and then delete them all.

Remove-DelegatedOUPermissions.ps1 is an advanced function which can be used to report and remove assigned delegated permissions from OU objects and containers.  You can choose the domain and searchbase, and you can search for full name or partial matches.  For example, if you wanted to report on or delete the delegations for Site1PWAdmins and Site2PWAdmins, you could simply specify “PWAdmins”.  The search is case-insensitive, and you can search for more than one string by separating your search terms with a comma.

This function always creates a log file.  The default name is derived from the domain name, and the default location is the desktop.  The function requires the ActiveDirectory module, but unlike Set-ACL, it can be used to write permissions in another domain.  It supports WhatIf, and a confirmation is required before you commit changes.  Because it is an advanced function, you can use Get-Help for details about use.

Script Text

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Filed under Active Directory, Alan's Favorites, Functions, My Best, PowerShell, Scripting, Security, Windows Administration | No Comments »

Too many permissions in AD

Posted on May 6th, 2011

From MSKB 2001769: When you propagate the permissions on an object such as an organizational unit (OU), group, user, or computer in Active Directory, you may receive the following error:

“Unable to save permission changes on ObjectName. A constraint violation occurred.”

Cause: This will happen when the Access Control List (ACL) size on the object exceeds 64 KB, or approximately 1,820 Access Control Entries (ACEs) depending on the size of the ACEs.

What is the best practice here?  This is what our lead AD admin said:

The way I cleaned this up was as follows:

  • Review the individual accounts on all the OUs to get a list of the permissions those folks were granted.
    • As you might expect, they were granted FULL (for both their admin and regular accounts)
    • PLUS they were granted additional, specific sets (as if FULL didn’t already grant them that)
  • I then created a brand new OUAdministrator group (it covers more than one site, so I figured OU was the best I could do) and plunked only their admin account in that group
    • I gave that group FULL control
    • Then I went through the OUs as follows:
    • Turned on inheritance & applied that change
    • Added the OUAdministrator group to the top OU and granted it FULL (generic)
  • Then on each OU, I went through and deleted the following:
    • All individual user accounts (‘cause they were included in the group)
    • All duplicative permission sets for other groups they had already granted FULL (generic) permissions—they have about 3 or 4 admin groups on the ACLS. Most had FULL (generic) PLUS individual sets of ACLS on long lists of 50 or more attributes for individual objects)
  • I would also have removed broken SIDS at this point, but there weren’t any

Technically, I could also have removed the additional admin groups since they were redundant, but I just needed to get the ACLs down to a manageable size.

This is why granting generic permissions can be a good thing. For example, for folks like workstation/server admins, just grant them FULL (generic) on computer objects. There’s no point in trying to be more specific since they can’t “do” anything bad with computer accounts and it reduces the number of permissions required on the ACL.

The problem is definitely a case of “being too specific”.

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Filed under Scripting, Windows Administration | No Comments »

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All the scripts are saved as .txt files. Newer files have a "View Script" button which will let you save or open a script in notepad. For earlier posts, the easiest way to download with IE is to right click on the link and use "Save Target As". Rename file from Name_ext.txt to Name.ext.

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