Offtopic: Windows 7 password settings

Sometimes I have a technical issue that is surprisingly difficult to solve by the normal methods, usually because the search terms are not specific enough to uncover the solution.  Or the solutions that I do uncover aren't relevant.  This is one of those cases.  Nothing to do with knowledge management or continuous improvement - other than I want to have this recorded somewhere, so I don't have to go through it all again.

The steps to change password settings:

  • Type "cmd.exe" in the search area on the "Start" button
  • Right click on the "cmd.exe" that appears, and select "Run As Administrator"
  • The Command window opens
  • Now all the "net accounts" settings will work, including setting the maximum password age to unlimited: "net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited"
  • Celebrate

If you are interested in the details...  

My situation: My password on a Windows 7 machine expires every so often.  It's a personal machine, and I don't want to have to re-set the password.  Or I want the option to set the policy myself, rather than taking the default.

Some background:

  • I am running Windows 7 Home Premium. 
  • I am the only user, and I am an "Administrator"
  • I am not a slouch when it comes to these things

Most of the help I found told me to start the "Local Users and Groups Manager" or find the "Local Security Policy" editor.  Unfortunately, these tools aren't available in Windows 7 Home Premium.

Then, I saw the suggestion to run a function directly from the Command window.  I know how to do that, so I dutifully opened cmd.exe and tried

net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited

And got a message that I am not allowed to do such a thing. ("System error 5 has occurred. Access is denied.")  But I am the Administrator, what the heck?!

Then it turns out that even though I am an Administrator, I need to be "elevated" somehow. No, that doesn't mean breaking out my old 2" creepers.  It means that I have to "run as Administrator" on the applications.  I'm sure there is a logical explanation as to why that is, but it seems rather obscure.  

Follow the steps above.

Here is more information on running applications in Windows 7 as Administrator with Full Elevated Rights.

And here is information on the "net accounts" options, if you are interested in other policy settings, like password length and the like.  Customize the Password Policy in Windows 7 - This page has the same information I just typed here, but searching for it is rather frustrating in the results that come back often don't get you to useful content.

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