Tip

Default and predefined security templates

Since Windows 2000, predefined security templates have become part of the Windows environment. In this tip, I describe what's in various releases introduced since Windows 2000 and recount how different versions of identical files have different features, along with incredibly brief descriptions.

Predefined Windows Security Template Details
Table 1 describes predefined template files, from %systemroot%securitytemplates. Empty cells mean a file is missing in the corresponding OS; when file sizes change, it's safe to assume contents also change -- usually, to accommodate new security features, version names, and so forth. For more information on .inf files, visit www.microsoft.com/technet/ and search on the filename.

Table 1: Predefined Windows Security Template files

Template filenameWindows 2000 ProWindows 2000 SrvrWindows XP ProWindows Srvr 2003
DateSizeDateSizeDateSizeDateSize
basicdc.inf12/7/199915,25612/7/199915,256
basicsv.inf5/4/2001280,8265/4/2001280,826
basicwk.inf5/4/2001256,9365/4/2001256,936
compatws.inf12/7/199953,96912/7/199953,9698/23/200167,8843/25/200367,613
DC security.inf3/7/200223,0085/1/2003206,978
hisecdc.inf12/7/19996,52412/7/19996,5248/23/20017,784
hiscws.inf12/7/199917,38212/7/199917,3828/23/20018,015
iesacls.inf3/25/20032,098
notssid.inf12/7/19991,357
ocfiless.inf12/7/1999783,20817/7/1999783,208
ocfilessw.inf12/7/1999489,61312/7/1999489,613
rootsec.inf3/25/2003713
securedc.inf12/7/19996,39112/7/19996,3918/23/20017,7893/25/20037,881
securews.inf12/7/19997,01812/7/19997,0188/23/20017,7133/25/20037,835
setup security.inf3/6/2002522,9143/6/2002573,04612/27/2001788,1925/1/2003797,932

Template file descriptions

  • basicdc.inf, basicsv.inf, basicwk.inf: makes NTFS permissions on upgraded machines identical to new installs on domain controllers, servers, workstations
  • compatws.inf: permits admins to change default User group permissions to grant higher-level privileges without promoting members to Power Users group
  • DC security.inf: registry and file settings for Windows 2000 domain controllers
  • hisecdc.inf, hiscws.inf: extends secure*.inf; requires higher-levels encryption, signing, and authentication domain controllers and workstations
  • iesacls.inf: Windows Server 2003 lockdown for Internet Explorer security settings
  • notssid.inf: turns off Terminal Server SIDs on servers where TS not in use
  • ocfiless.inf, ocfilessw.inf: increases local security of optional components: IE, NetMeeting, IIS, etc. on servers and workstations
  • rootsec.inf: specifies new root permissions introduced with Windows XP Pro
  • securedc.inf, securews.inf: defines enhanced security settings least likely to impact application compatibility for domain controllers and workstations
  • setup security.inf: computer-specific template; default security settings applied during installation, including root system drive file permissions

In my next tip, I'll cover default security templates that live in %systemroot%inf, and how they can sometimes save your bacon!


Thomas Alexander Lancaster IV is a consultant and author with over ten years experience in the networking industry, focused on Internet infrastructure.


This was first published in June 2003

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