Provide users with local admin access via this nifty script.
- By Bill Boswell
In our environment we set all users to have local
admin access to their PC. We manually add the Domain User to the Local
Administrators group of the PC they use. Is there a way via a logon script
to add the locally logged on user automatically to the local admin group?
I came across the ADDUSERS.exe file, but this requires use of a local
admin account and prompts you for a password. I'm looking to be able to
have a user logon to their PC via our default domain and, when the logon
script runs, to automatically add the users domain account into the local
administrators group of the PC without any user intervention.
Daniel: I think I have a good solution, but it uses Group
Policy Objects so it only works if your clients run Windows 2000 or XP.
There's a Security Group Policy called Restricted Groups. This policy
allows you to specify the membership of a group on a local machine or
in the domain. The policy setting is in Computer Configuration | Windows
Settings | Security Settings | Restricted Groups.
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When you test this policy, be sure to create a test GPO and link it to
a test OU. You don't want to cause havoc on your desktops during testing
if you accidentally overwrite a critical member in a critical local group.
Create the policy setting by right-clicking the Restricted Groups icon
and selecting Add Group from the flyout menu. This opens an Add Group
Don't click the Browse button. This allows you to browse the domain,
but you want to control the membership of a local group. Instead, just
type the group name into the field exactly as it appears in the local
group listing. For example, to control the membership of the local Administrators
group, type "Administrators". (The policy entry is not case-sensitive.)
When you click OK, a Properties window opens. The window has two parts:
"Members Of This Group" and "This Group Is A Member Of."
Click Add next to the Members Of This Group field. The Add Member window
opens. Click the Browse button and browse for a group called INTERACTIVE.
This is a well-known SID representing the user that has logged on at the
console of the machine.
Putting the Interactive group into Administrators gives local admin privileges
to whoever logs in at the console. Use a bit of caution here, because
some applications finesse the local logon feature for network clients.
For example, the IUSR account in IIS is given local logon, so you don't
want to apply this policy to any machines running IIS or Personal Web
Services. To be completely safe, don't link this GPO to any OUs that contain
Because the Restricted Groups policy overwrites the current content of
the specified group, you'll need to also add the Domain Admins group and
the local Administrator account to this restricted group policy. Don't
browse for the Administrator account; just type the word "Administrator"
into the Add Member window. Otherwise, you'll add the domain Administrator
account and the local Administrator account will not have admin rights.
As soon as you click OK on the list of names, the policy gets written
to Sysvol. If you wait for 90 to 120 minutes, the standard background
refresh at the clients will pull the policy from Sysvol and the security
engine will apply the policy to the local SAM. If you want to hurry up
the process for testing, run GPUPDATE at a
Windows XP desktop or SECEDIT /refreshpolicy machine_policy
at a Windows 2000 desktop. Use the Computer Management console to see
the local accounts and groups and verify that the Administrators group
has the members you specified.
A final word of caution. Some applications require local administrative
access. These apps typically install a member in the local Administrators
group. Before you put this Restricted Groups policy into production and
overwrite all the current membership entries, you'll want to sweep the
Administrators group on your desktops to find any non-standard members.
Here's a brief script that obtains a list of member computers in a domain
and prints out the membership of the local Administrators group:
Set RootDSE = GetObject("LDAP://RootDSE")
domainDN = RootDSE.Get("DefaultNamingContext")
Set connection = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
connection.Provider = "ADsDSOObject"
Set command = CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
Set command.ActiveConnection = connection
Command.Properties("Page Size") = 3000
'big page size for lots of computers
Command.Properties("searchscope") = 2 'search entire domain
Command.CommandText = "SELECT AdsPath, cn _
FROM 'LDAP://" & _
"' WHERE objectcategory = 'computer'"
Set rs = command.Execute
On Error Resume Next
Do Until rs.EOF
computerFlatName = rs.fields("cn")
"Members of Adminstrators local group on
" & _
Set administrators_group = GetObject("WinNT://"
computerFlatName & "/administrators,group")
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
WScript.Echo vbTab & "Computer not available."
For Each member In administrators_group.members
WScript.Echo vbTab & member.name
Set administrators_group = Nothing
Err.Number = 0
You can modify the script to use an OU rather than the entire domain
to reduce the network traffic.
Hope this helps.
About the Author
Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.