You might have seen on certain websites that for registering, you will have to enter a password that matches the criterion set by the website (for example a password should be minimum 8 characters long, should contain lower and upper case letters, etc.). You can implement this feature in Windows 10/8/7 as well, using either Local Security Policy for Windows or using an elevated command prompt for users with other Windows 10/8/7 editions.
Change Windows Password Policy
You can change the following aspects of your Password Policy in Windows 10:
- Enforce Password History
- Maximum password age
- Minimum password age
- Minimum password length
- Password must meet complexity requirements
- Store password using reversible encryption.
Using Local Security Policy
Type Local Security Policy in the start menu search and press Enter. The LSP window will open. Now from the left pane, choose Password Policy from under Account Policies. Now on the right side, six options will be listed.
Details of each of those options are listed below.
1] Enforce Password History
This security setting determines the number of unique new passwords that have to be associated with a user account before an old password can be reused. The value must be between 0 and 24 passwords. This policy enables administrators to enhance security by ensuring that old passwords are not reused continually.
2] Maximum password age
This security setting determines the period of time (in days) that a password can be used before the system requires the user to change it. You can set passwords to expire after a number of days between 1 and 999, or you can specify that passwords never expire by setting the number of days to 0. If the maximum password age is between 1 and 999 days, the Minimum password age must be less than the maximum password age. If the maximum password age is set to 0, the minimum password age can be any value between 0 and 998 days.
3] Minimum password age
This security setting determines the period of time (in days) that a password must be used before the user can change it. You can set a value between 1 and 998 days, or you can allow changes immediately by setting the number of days to 0. The minimum password age must be less than the maximum password age, unless the maximum password age is set to 0, indicating that passwords will never expire. If the maximum password age is set to 0, the minimum password age can be set to any value between 0 and 998.
4] Minimum password length
This security setting determines the least number of characters that a password for a user account may contain. You can set a value of between 1 and 14 characters, or you can establish that no password is required by setting the number of characters to 0.
5] Password must meet complexity requirements
This security setting determines whether passwords must meet complexity requirements. If this policy is enabled, passwords must meet the following minimum requirements:
– Not contain the user’s account name or parts of the user’s full name that exceed two consecutive characters
– Be at least six characters in length
– Contain characters from three of the following four categories:
- English uppercase characters (A through Z)
- English lowercase characters (a through z)
- Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
- Non-alphabetic characters (for example, !, $, #, %)
Complexity requirements are enforced when passwords are changed or created.
6] Store password using reversible encryption
This security setting determines whether the operating system stores passwords using reversible encryption. This policy provides support for applications that use protocols that require knowledge of the user’s password for authentication purposes. Storing passwords using reversible encryption is essentially the same as storing plaintext versions of the passwords. For this reason, this policy should never be enabled unless application requirements outweigh the need to protect password information.
To change any or all these options, just double click the option, select the appropriate choice, and click OK.
Read: How to harden Windows Login Password Policy & Account Lockout Policy.
Using an elevated Command Prompt
Type cmd in the start menu search. From under Programs, right-click cmd and select Run as administrator.
The commands and their explanation is given below.
1] This sets the minimum number of characters a password must contain. Replace the word length with the desired number of characters. The range is 0-14.
net accounts /minpwlen:length
2] This sets the maximum number of days after which the user will have to change the password. Replace days with the desired value. The range is from 1-999. If used unlimited, no limit is set. The value of maxpwage should always be greater than minpwage.
net accounts /maxpwage:days
3] This sets the minimum number of days that must pass before the password can be changed. Replace days with the desired value. The range is from 1-999.
net accounts /minpwage:days
4] This sets the number of times after which a password can be used again. Replace number with the desired value. The maximum value is 24.
net accounts /uniquepw:number
To use a command, just enter it in the command prompt as shown, and press Enter.
To review the settings type the following in the CMD and press Enter:
An overview of all the settings will be shown.
Hope this helps.