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Active Roles 8.1.1 - User Guide

Introduction Getting Started User or Service Account Management Group Management Computer Account Management Organizational Unit Management Management of Contacts Management of Exchange Recipients

Management of group Managed Service Accounts

Active Roles now allows you to administer group Managed Service Accounts. Introduced in Windows Server 2012, group Managed Service Account (gMSA) is a domain security principal whose password is managed by Windows Server 2012 domain controllers and can be retrieved by multiple systems running Windows Server 2012. Having Windows services use gMSA as their logon account minimizes the administrative overhead by enabling Windows to handle password management for service accounts. Group Managed Service Accounts provide the same functionality as Managed Service Accounts introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2 and extend that functionality over multiple servers.

As you can use a single gMSA on multiple servers, gMSA provides a single identity solution for services running on a server farm. With a service hosted on a server farm, gMSA enables all service instances to use the same logon account (which is a requirement for mutual authentication between the service and the client), while letting Windows change the account’s password periodically instead of relying on the administrator to perform that task.

For more information about group Managed Service Accounts, see “Group Managed Service Accounts Overview” at

gMSA management tasks

The Active Directory domain in which you are going to create and administer group Managed Service Accounts must meet the following requirements:

  • The domain has an least one domain controller that runs Windows Server 2012.
  • The domain has the KDS Root Key created.

You can create a KDS Root Key by executing the PowerShell command Add-KDSRootKey on the Windows Server 2012 based domain controller. See “Create the Key Distribution Services KDS Root Key” at for further details.

NOTE: Exchange operations cannot be performed on the on-premises Exchange Server environment using the gMSA account. For example, Remote mailbox, User mailbox, or Contact.

You can use the Active Roles console to perform the following tasks on group Managed Service Accounts:


Creating a gMSA

Perform the following steps in the Active Roles console to create a group Service Managed Account (gMSA).

To create a gMSA

  1. Right-click the OU or container in which you want to create a gMSA and select New | Group Managed Service Account.
  2. In the wizard that opens, complete following fields:
    • Name  Specifies the name of the gMSA in Active Directory.
    • Description  Specifies a description of the gMSA.
    • DNS host name  Normally, you should supply the fully qualified domain name of the server on which you are going to use this gMSA. For example,
    • Account name (pre-Windows 2000)  Specifies the legacy logon name of the gMSA (sAMAccountName). Normally, this setting is identical to the name of the gMSA.
    • Password change interval (days)  Specifies the number of days before a managed password is automatically changed for the gMSA. This setting can be modified only upon account creation. After the gMSA is created, this setting is read-only.
    • Computers or groups  Specifies the computers on which the gMSA can be used to run services. You can add individual computers to this field, or you can add computers to a security group and then add the group to this field.


Managing properties of a gMSA

For an existing group Managed Service Account (gMSA), perform the following steps in the Active Roles console to view or change the properties of the gMSA.

To view or change the properties of the gMSA

  • Right-click the gMSA you want to administer and click Properties.

This opens the Properties dialog box containing the same fields as the gMSA creation wizard (see Creating a gMSA) with the only difference that the Password change interval field is read-only. In addition, the Account is disabled check box on the Account page shows whether the gMSA is disabled for logon, and allows you to disable and re-enable the gMSA.

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