Minimum password age

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

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.

Configure the minimum password age to be more than 0 if you want Enforce password history to be effective. Without a minimum password age, users can cycle through passwords repeatedly until they get to an old favorite. The default setting does not follow this recommendation, so that an administrator can specify a password for a user and then require the user to change the administrator-defined password when the user logs on. If the password history is set to 0, the user does not have to choose a new password. For this reason, Enforce password history is set to 1 by default.


  • 1 on domain controllers.

  • 0 on stand-alone servers.


  • By default, member computers follow the configuration of their domain controllers.

Configuring this security setting

You can configure this security setting by opening the appropriate policy and expanding the console tree as such: Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Account Policies\Password Policy\

For specific instructions about how to configure password policy settings, see Apply or modify password policy.

For more information, see: