This week is all about managing local administrators via Windows 10 MDM by using restricted groups. There has been many requests for a post like this after I wrote this post about creating local user accounts. And I have to admit that this post has been on my backlog for a long time. Better late than never, I think. Also, I’m definitely not the first to write about this subject, but I do think that I have some new insights that can be really helpfull. In this post I’ll start with an overview of the options for configuring local administrators on Azure AD joined (and Microsoft Inune managed) devices and reasons for using restricted groups, followed by the steps for configuring restricted groups. I’ll end this post by looking at the end-user experience.
Tip: When using Windows 10 version 20H2 or later, use the method as described in this post.
When discussing the local administrators on Azure AD joined devices, it’s often about the Global administrator role and the Device administrator role. These roles are by default local administrator on Azure AD joined devices. Users can be added to the Global administrator role like any other administrator role. Adding users to the Device administrator role, however, is a different configuration. Users can be added by configuring additional local administrators on Azure AD joined devices. These two roles have one thing in common and that is that those roles apply to all Azure AD joined devices. No exceptions. However, there might be scenarios in which it’s required to limit the local administrators on a device, or scenarios in which it’s required to differentiate the additional local administrators for different groups of devices.
Another option to manage local administrator on Microsoft Intune managed devices – which are often also Azure AD joined – is by using restricted groups. For this it’s possible to use the RestrictedGroups section in the Policy CSP. That contains a single node that can be used for adding local administrators (or for adjusting any other existing local group). When specifically looking at managing local administrators, make sure to keep the following in mind:
- By using restricted groups, the provided local administrators will replace the existing local administrators.
- By using restricted groups, which is a configuration node of the Policy CSP, the provided local administrators will be reapplied, within 8 hours, when changed by the user (behavior starting with Windows 10, version 1903).
- The default local Administrator account must be part of the custom configuration, as it’s required for applying a custom configuration.
- Every Azure AD joined device contains two SIDs (one representing the Global administrator role and one representing the Device administrator role) that are by default part of the local administrators.
Note: By default, on Azure AD joined devices, the user joining the device to Azure AD is also local administrator on the device.
By knowing the available configuration options and the different configurations it’s time to look at the configuration steps. The five steps below walk through the configuration. Throughout those configuration steps, I’ll provide the required information regarding the OMA-URI and the XML-value that should be configured.
- Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal navigate to Devices > Windows > Configuration profiles to open the Windows | Configuration profiles blade
- On the Windows | Configuration profiles blade, click Create profile to open the Create a profile blade
- On the Create a profile blade, provide the following information and click Create to open the Create profile blade
- Platform: Windows 10 and later
- Profile type: Custom
- On the Create profile blade, select Settings to open the Custom OMA-URI Settings blade
- On the Custom OMA-URI Settings blade, click Add to open the Add row blade. On the Add row blade, provide the following information and click OK (and click OK in the Custom OMA-URI blade)
- Name: Provide a valid name
- Description: (Optional) Provide a valid description
- OMA-URI: ./Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/RestrictedGroups/ConfigureGroupMembership
- Data type: Select String
- Value: The value should be an XML. That XML should contain a groupmembership-element and that groupmembership-element should contain an accessgroup-element. That accessgroup-element contains the local group that should be adjusted and that accessgroup-element contains member-elements that contain the users that should be added to the local group. For an example see the XML below.
Note: The RestricedGroups section can be used to add members to any local group on a device.
<groupmembership> <accessgroup desc = "Administrators"> <member name = "Administrator" /> <member name = "AzureAD\firstname.lastname@example.org" /> <member name = "AzureAD\email@example.com" /> <member name = "S-1-12-1-2091167666-1329275207-1706997396-915002206" /> <member name = "S-1-12-1-2447031348-1225114094-1633491097-1064162478" /> </accessgroup> </groupmembership>
Now let’s end by having a look at the end-user experience. The best place to look is in the Properties of the Administrators group. That group should reflect the provided configuration, as shown in Figure 4.
This configuration is the most common to be used when the primary user of the device is not a local administrator. A method to provide additional support to the end-user, without the requirement of adding that specific account as a local administrator on all devices.
It’s also good to keep in mind that starting with Windows 10, version 1903, the settings of the Policy CSP actually refresh. When, for whatever reason, the configuration of the local administrators was adjusted, the configuration will refresh within 8 hours. The next device check-in will take care of that.
Another place for verifying the configuration, would be to look at MDM Diagnostic Report. That report will show an overview of the RestrictedGroups setting configuration.
For more information about managing local administrators, refer to the following articles:
- How to manage the local administrators group on Azure AD joined devices – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/devices/assign-local-admin
- Policy CSP – RestrictedGroups – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/client-management/mdm/policy-csp-restrictedgroups