Customize Password Age Policy in Windows 7 (frequency, expiration, and history)

Configure password policies settings in Windows 7 As you may already from the previous tutorial, Windows 7 allows you to customize password and security settings on a "per-user" basis; among other things, you can have force users to regularly change their Windows password - a setting which, by default, is turned off (i.e., their password will only change if they do it themselves, or if a computer administrator does it for them). Once you enable this policy for a particular user account, how often they are reminded to update their credentials is based on the "Maximum Password Age ↓" variable, which defaults to 42 days (six weeks). But, as you'll learn in this tutorial, you can also configure the "Minimum Password Age ↓", and keep control over password re-use through the "Enforce Password History ↓" variable - all three of which are explained on this page.

Adjust your password age policy (Password expiration)

Let's first show you how to customize your password age values; note that these settings will affect all user accounts for which you have disable the "Password never expires" option.


Prevent users from changing their password too often

By default, you can change Windows 7 password as often as you'd like; but the Local Security Policy allows you to customize how many days should pass at least until Windows allows user to change their password since the last time they did: this is done through the "Minimum Password Age".

Double-click on "Minimum Password Age" on the right hand side, and you'll get a dialog similar to the one shown earlier; this time, the default value is "0" (zero), meaning that users don't have to wait before being able to update their own credentials. Use the Up/Down arrow buttons or type in a new number of days, and click on the "OK" button to apply the new setting. You are done!

Prevent users from re-using the same passwords

Finally, Windows 7 also gives you control over the number of previously used password it will remember for each user. The default value, shown under "Enforce password history", is "0" (zero). This means that Windows will let users change to whatever password they'd like, even if they have used that very same password earlier. Double-click on that entry on the right, and supply a new number of passwords Windows 7 should remember: if a user tries to change their password to one that they have already used amongst the past {x} changes, Windows will force them to pick another password. Click "OK" to apply.
Make Windows 7 remember previously used passwords

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