Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain. We have a password reset tool that is not working. For some reason when you use it, it resets your password to some unknown value (Not what you changed it to, or what it was before). I have setup a test "user" in the appropriate OU, and I want to be able to see what the reset tool is changing the password to. That way maybe I can maybe understand what's going on. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • What is the password reset tool? Why not just reset the password to a known value and have the user change their password at next login? Jul 21, 2011 at 18:00
  • I'd like to know what this tool is because how is it changing the password to anything other than what it was, if it isn't using Administrator or that user's access tokens with permissions to do so?... Jul 21, 2011 at 18:00

3 Answers 3


AD passwords (just like Windows ones) are stored using non-reversible encryption, so the standard answer is a definite "NO".

There is a GPO settings that will tell AD (or any Windows system) to store passwords using reversible encryption, but there is no built-in tool to decrypt them (although there is some documentation floating around on how to do that). Of course, this is exactly as insecure as it looks.


If you need to see the plain text of what it's setting it to, and you can't get the reset tool to spit that info out itself, then you have two options: enabling reversible encryption, or using a password filter.

With reversible encryption, you can get at the original password, but it's not a pleasant process.

With a password filter, you can dump out all password changes to text, but that's obviously not a good thing for security when it comes to your non-test users.

If you only need to see the hash to see if it was set correctly, though, then you can dump the hash database and compare.

  • Not pleasant process, very harder in C# IMHO. Not samples in github about it.
    – Kiquenet
    Nov 4, 2016 at 12:14

No. The Password attribute is "write-only". There is no mechanism exposed to provide reading of this attribute.

More information:
User-Password Attribute

  • 1
    That's the hash, anyway, which doesn't do a lot of good regarding this question, but you can certainly get at it through unsupported means. As I mentioned in my answer, password filters are an official, supported way to get copies of the plain passwords as they change. It's downhill from there with reversible encryption and attacks against hashes, but an unqualified "no" based on the ldap attribute is a bit.. narrow. Jul 21, 2011 at 18:58

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