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Windows Thread, Doling out passwords to students in Technical; I thought I would once again pester the EduGeek Hive Mind for the best practices in an area relatively unique ...
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    Blind's Avatar
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    Doling out passwords to students

    I thought I would once again pester the EduGeek Hive Mind for the best practices in an area relatively unique to education.

    How does your school go about giving unique and secure passwords to hundreds of people at a time?

    Before I arrived, my school used the incredibly bizarre method of just forcing students to use their first name and not allowing them to change their password. (I suppose you can imagine what was happening to student files)

    Last summer, I quickly cobbled together a universal password for incoming students and then required them to change it at first login, but this method has several drawbacks.

    Ideally, I would like to give each student a random preset password that would work for their first login, but then have Windows require them to immediately choose their own. The choosing their own bit is easy, the automating and distributing the random one has got me stumped.

    What say you?

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: Doling out password to students

    Here, new student accounts are 'password' and are instructed to change this at their first ICT lesson. It's always worked for us in the past.

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    That's pretty much what I did last summer, but I kept thinking that I was going to have several issues with kids logging in as other people and changing passwords.

    Maybe I'm just paranoid, but this just seems problematic to me.

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    We have a standard password and have it set to reset on first login ... but we also disable the accounts until that first lesson ... which is on a day when only Years 7, 12 and 13 are in.

    Makes life more manageable.

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    Hmm. In theory it's possible but we've never had it happen before.

    To be honest, I think the amount of admin work, time and cost required to initialise and distribute the unique passwords for a new intake far outweighs the time of resetting a handful of passwords in the unlikely event of someone logging in as others and changing that password.

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    we have tried several methods

    we had set all new passwords to expire on 1st login but found new students couldnt work out the password changing screens on thier 1st day.
    cue 100's of calls to helpdesk on thier 2nd day

    then we tried password set to students unique ID but that was a mess as students worked out what other students passwords would be and logged in as them.
    this year I think i will set passwords as thier unique ID but set them to expire in 3 weeks, ample time for them to work thier way around the pc and then set expire to around 7 weeks, all through group policy
    setting completley unique random passwords would be the goal but then you have the headache of passing on that info to the students.
    anything that involves more work for us is usually not gunna happen anyway :P

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    If anyone wanted to do it, this function will generate the random password (so I guess you could add it to the user creation script - and then output to the screen or to a text file).
    It's VBScript - can't remember where I got it from though!
    Code:
    Function generatePassword(passwordLength)
    'Declare variables
    Dim sDefaultChars
    Dim iCounter
    Dim sMyPassword
    Dim iPickedChar
    Dim iDefaultCharactersLength
    Dim iPasswordLength
    'Initialize variables
    sDefaultChars="abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVXYZ0123456789"
    iPasswordLength=passwordLength
    iDefaultCharactersLength = Len(sDefaultChars)
    Randomize'initialize the random number generator
    'Loop for the number of characters password is to have
    For iCounter = 1 To iPasswordLength
    'Next pick a number from 1 to length of character set
    iPickedChar = Int((iDefaultCharactersLength * Rnd) + 1)
    'Next pick a character from the character set using the random number iPickedChar
    'and Mid function
    sMyPassword = sMyPassword & Mid(sDefaultChars,iPickedChar,1)
    Next
    generatePassword = sMyPassword
    End Function

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    @MrCrazy

    This looks good m8, could you elaborate more on what it does and an example of how you'd use it please?

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    It generates a random alpha numeric string, which is helpful as a password (I've also used it for generating verification strings on some websites I do).

    You call it as follows:
    Code:
    generatePassword(5)
    The 5 represents the length of the string, so you could make it shorter or longer.

    I also edited
    Code:
    sDefaultChars="abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVXYZ0123456789"
    to make it alpha numeric (it was just letters before) - so I guess you could add other characters like !#?@ etc

    A user creator script I guess would be as follows (I haven't tested it, as I just specify one password).
    Code:
    password = generatePassword(5)
    
    '<<<< RootDSE is used to obtain the default naming context (saves hard-coding the domain) >>>>
    set objRoot = getobject("LDAP://RootDSE")
    
    '**** Bind to the default users container ****
    set objContainer = getobject("LDAP://cn=users," & objRoot.get("defaultnamingcontext"))
    
    '<<<< Create the user object >>>>
    set objUser = objContainer.Create("user","cn=" & fullname)
    
    '<<<< The sAMAccountName is the username the user will use to logon >>>>
    objUser.sAMAccountName = username
    
    '<<USER'S FIRSTNAME >>
    objuser.givenName = firstname
    objuser.SN = surname
    objuser.DisplayName = firstname & " " & surname
    objuser.userprincipalname = username
    'objuser.FullName = firstname & " " & surname
    
    
    '<<<< Save the changes >>>>
    objUser.Setinfo
    
    '<<<< Set a password >>>>
    objUser.setpassword password
    
    '<<<< Enable the account >>>>
    objUser.AccountDisabled = False
    
    '<<<< Save the changes >>>>
    objUser.Setinfo

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    Re: Doling out passwords to students

    I set passwords to surnames and change on 1st logon - quite easy to build the user accounts in a spreadsheet and copy surnames to the password field.

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    Re: Doling out passwords to students

    Looking at this from a different angle, I could do with a script that i can run from sheduled tasks say once a month that will force users to change the ir password at next logon. But i would also liek the script to force the password to be at least 8 digits.

    Can this be done.

    I only want to run this on staff accounts and not kids so i can't set up a password poilcy s you can only have one per domain.

    Anyone got a sample script?

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    Re: Doling out passwords to students

    I only want to run this on staff accounts and not kids so i can't set up a password poilcy s you can only have one per domain.
    Create a new domain. Put it in the same forest as your current domain. move the staff accounts to it. Apply GPOs and Password policy as required. Job done.

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    Re: Doling out password to students

    Quote Originally Posted by webman
    Here, new student accounts are 'password' and are instructed to change this at their first ICT lesson. It's always worked for us in the past.
    This is what we have been doing for years with no problems.

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    Re: Doling out passwords to students

    webman wrote:
    Here, new student accounts are 'password' and are instructed to change this at their first ICT lesson. It's always worked for us in the past.

    This is what we have been doing for years with no problems.
    I have a script already to do this and i am quite happy to use it but is there an option possible to add a line to the script that forces the user to use - say a minimum of 8 digits in their password.

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    Re: Doling out passwords to students

    I use this to generate passwords, and make each person there own little card with there username and password on.

    http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/

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