Password expires in '0 days'

Ever encountered password expiration problems with Outlook Web Access? This tip will help you figure out why this happens and how to solve the problem.

Has this ever happened to you? You are a user of Outlook Web Access (OWA) 5.5 and Exchange 5.5 (Service Packs 1-3), and one of your OWA users receives an error declaring that his current password is set to expire in "0 days."

Even though he may still be able to log on each time the error recurs, it is a confusing situation.

Why does this happen? The error can appear for a variety of reasons, such as:

1) The account password on the domain controller has in fact expired, and needs to be changed. (In this case, the error is not spurious at all.) The user should change the password in OWA through the Outlook icon bar: Options | Change Password. This should be your first step, since it may resolve the problem quickly.

2) If the account in question is in the local account database of a member server, and not on a domain controller, this message may come up each time the user logs on until the Change Password option is disabled on the account in the member server. To disable Change Password, edit the Constant.inc file in the ExchsrvrWebDataUSA folder on the Exchange server (note that USA is a localization folder; this may vary for other localizations), and under Administrative Settings in the file, set fEnablePasswordMenu = false. (The default is true.)

3) There may be two accounts--one on the local database in addition to the account on the primary domain controller that allows access to the Exchange mailbox. A conflict between these credentials, where the local account password has expired, would cause this error.

4) The IUSR_<computername> account, which is used by IIS for web access permissions, has become corrupt or invalid. This can be done manually through the User Manager, as one would any other account, but the new password must be updated wherever there are references to this account and password in IIS -- usually in IIS's management console. Right-click on the server in question in the IIS console, select Properties, then click Edit under Master Properties, select Directory Security, click Edit under "Anonymous access and authentication control," and then click Edit under the "Account used for anonymous access" page. If you've changed the password, you may need to clear the "Allow IIS to manage the password" checkbox in the next page that comes up.

If none of these actions resolves the behavior, go to the C:ExchsrvrWebdataUSA folder on the server running OWA (note that the folder USA may be different based on your localization), and edit the file root.asp with text editor. Replace the line that reads if cint(days) < 0 then days = 10000 with if cint(days) < 1 then days = 10000, and then save and close the file. This gives OWA a little additional leeway, datewise, to allow people to change their passwords gracefully if they do expire.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.

This was first published in March 2004
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