Windows account keeps getting locked out! RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have a Windows network with 3 domain controllers and 5 member servers, all running Windows 2003 server. All workstations are XP professional. Since Monday, I have noticed that my user account keeps getting locked out every 6 or 7 minutes. The AD accounts are set to lock out after 4 tries with a wrong password. How do I setup an audit process to find out which computer, user, process or perhaps hacker is trying to access what part of the network on which server that is causing this?


    thank you for your help



    Wednesday, September 26, 2007 4:37 PM

All replies


    You can use LockoutStatus.exe which is part of Account Lockout and Management tools to identify domain controller that are involved in lock-out user account.


    If you have audit account logon security policy enabled, then you can proceed to filter through the security log of domain controller identify earlier for event related to lockout of this account.


    The event log will provide you the error code which can help you identify reason for account lockout and source IP addresss/computer to help you identify which computer that generate the invalid logon attempt.


    You can refer to following article for information related to troubleshooting account lockout issue:


    • Proposed as answer by Shaun Gorman Monday, November 12, 2012 10:45 PM
    Wednesday, September 26, 2007 5:18 PM
  • Thank you for your help.

    I have enabled auditing for account log in events. But, from what I understand, events related to login attempts are logged on computers that are sending the credentials not on the servers receiving requests for logging. If I understand this correctly, I will have to go on a fishing expedition on all workstations and servers trying to find out which computer is sending bad credentials. The exercise will be futile especially in the case of an attack. The computer sending bad credentials may be sitting thousands of miles away beyond my reach.

    Is there any source on any of the Domain controllers that keeps track of such activities?


    Thank you again

    • Proposed as answer by IMTech Wednesday, May 12, 2010 7:27 PM
    Wednesday, September 26, 2007 6:13 PM
  • Sorry wrong click on the proposed part..

    I notice that some of my user's account keep getting locked out, even after I unlock them as well.  By the way, their machines are not joined to the domain. 

    What I did was I went onto their machine and delete all the saved credentials or change all the saved credentials on the machine to the current password.  With that, I was able to stop the account from getting locked out.  If this is too much, you can configure the group policy to not lock out users.  You need to right click on domain in AD, properties, Group Policy tab, edit the "main" Group Policy for the domain, expand Computer Configuration, expand Windows Settings, Expand security settings, Expand account policies, select Account Lockout, then right click on Account lockout threshold and set that to 0 and leave the other two undefined or set it to 0.  This is fix for whole domain...You might not want to do this for security reasons but it will fix your error..if it's the same as mine.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 7:36 PM
  • alternatively, on the domain controller, you can log in as admin, and set the event logging under security in the mmc(event logs) to audit security access failures only. This will pinpoint the problem machine or user trying to access the account, with the time and originating location of the failed login.

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    Monday, November 29, 2010 11:16 PM
  • The most common cause of phantom lockouts is a hung remote session somewhere. The user remains logged in after their password has expired and the password gets reset; however in the original session the original password is still cached and once the Kerberos session ticket expires it tries to renew it causing the lockout.

     Other causes of lockouts include hard coded credentials in:

    • logon scripts & command files (BAT, CMD, VBS, KIX, etc)
    • scheduled tasks

    Microsoft provides a free set of tools called Account Lockout and Management Tools which you can download as the self-extracting file ALTools.exe from the Microsoft Download Center. The remainder of this article examines several of these tools.

    For details please go through below post :

    Dinesh S.
    • Proposed as answer by DineshSMehra Wednesday, December 15, 2010 1:04 PM
    Wednesday, December 15, 2010 1:01 PM
  • Hi Vahid

    If is just one or few accounts has been locked out, try to change username. In certain cases this could be helpfull.

    I have similar case where (for some reason) Croatian caracters in Display name causes problem.

    Otherwise you can track what is going on using ProcesExplorer on suspected workstation (if it is reachable by you)

    Best regards
    Dubravko Marak
    Blog: Windows Server Administration
    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    • Proposed as answer by Koyo1974 Tuesday, July 10, 2012 5:44 AM
    • Unproposed as answer by Koyo1974 Tuesday, July 10, 2012 5:44 AM
    Saturday, May 19, 2012 6:08 PM
  • Depending on which version of Server you are using; in the Security Event Log look for Event ID 644 (Windows Server 2003) or Event ID 4740 (Windows Server 2008).  You should see something like this:

    ---------------- Cut from Event Log -------------------------------------

    A user account was locked out.

    Security ID: SYSTEM
    Account Name: SERVER$
    Account Domain: YOURDOMAIN
    Logon ID: 0x3e7

    Account That Was Locked Out:
    Security ID: DOMAIN\User
    Account Name: User

    Additional Information:
    Caller Computer Name: ComputerName

    ----------------- End of Cut ------------------------------------------------

    This last bit is the important bit, the ComputerName is the PC/laptop or device that the logon attempt was made from; this is your starting point in solving the problem.

    I hope this helps.

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013 11:07 AM
  • Thanks Kwi-Gone-Jim!!

    Really helpful post.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014 8:48 AM
  • For further account lockout investigations you can take a look at Netwrix Account Lockout Examiner free tool. It's basically an improved version of MS Lockout tools, but the main difference is that it's not only determining the source computer, but goes much deeper into trying to determine the actual process causing the lockout, such as service or scheduled task running under stale credentials, mapped network drives, RDP sessions and other things.

    --- Jeff (Netwrix)

    Friday, August 29, 2014 10:16 AM
  • Try this;

    1) Open up the 'Run' box - Windows Key + R

    2) Type the following and hit 'ok' to open the hidden credential manager;

    rundll32.exe keymgr.dll, KRShowKeyMgr

    3) If you see any entries using your domain account, check that the password is correct.  Or just delete the entry if it's not required by selecting 'remove'

    Monday, February 16, 2015 11:53 PM
  • in the Security Event Log look for ... Event ID 4740
    Indeed, event ID 4740 is the very useful event in the Security event log that you want to look for. However, this event will not appear unless it is enabled in Group Policy. To enable it, go to Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Advanced Audit Policy Configuration > Audit Policies > Account Management > Audit User Account Management. See also Audit User Account Management.
    Thursday, November 17, 2016 9:38 PM
  • Solved it using your information. Thank you for sharing!!
    Friday, March 3, 2017 8:22 AM