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Resource Tips and Examples: User and Group on Windows

Puppet's built-in user and group resource types can manage user and group accounts on Windows.

These types were originally developed for *nix systems, and have a few unusual behaviors on Windows. Here's what you'll want to know before using them.

What Puppet Can Manage

Local User/Group Resources

Puppet can use the user and group resource types to manage local accounts.

You can't write a Puppet resource that describes a domain user or group. However, a local group resource can manage which domain users are members of that local group. See the next section for details.

Group Membership

Puppet can use the members attribute of the group type to manage the members of a group.

A local group can include both local and domain users, so while you can't use Puppet to manage domain users, you can use it to manage their local groups.

Groups can also include other groups as members.

Allowed Attributes

The user type in particular has a lot of attributes that don't apply to Windows systems.

When managing Windows user accounts, you can use the following attributes:

Additionally, the uid attribute is available as a read-only property when inspecting a user with puppet resource user <NAME>. Its value will be the user's SID (see below).

When managing Windows group accounts, you can use the following attributes:

Additionally, the gid attribute is available as a read-only property when inspecting a group with puppet resource group <NAME>. Its value will be the group's SID (see below).

Names and Security Identifiers (SIDs)

On Windows, user and group account names can take multiple forms, e.g. Administrators, <host>\Administrators, BUILTIN\Administrators, S-1-5-32-544 --- the last is called a security identifier (SID). Puppet treats all these forms as equivalent: when comparing two account names, it first transforms account names into their canonical SID form and compares the SIDs instead.

If you need to refer to a user or group in multiple places in a manifest (e.g. when creating relationships between resources), be consistent with the case of the name. Names are case-sensitive in Puppet manifests, but case-insensitive on Windows.


Known Issues Prior to Puppet 3.4 / PE 3.2

Before Puppet 3.4 / Puppet Enterprise 3.2, Puppet could not:

  • Add/remove domain users to a local group
  • Add/remove groups to a local group
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