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Default and predefined security templates

What's in the Windows-supplied 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 and search on the filename.

Table 1: Predefined Windows Security Template files

Template filename Windows 2000 Pro Windows 2000 Srvr Windows XP Pro Windows Srvr 2003
Date Size Date Size Date Size Date Size
basicdc.inf 12/7/1999 15,256 12/7/1999 15,256
basicsv.inf 5/4/2001 280,826 5/4/2001 280,826
basicwk.inf 5/4/2001 256,936 5/4/2001 256,936
compatws.inf 12/7/1999 53,969 12/7/1999 53,969 8/23/2001 67,884 3/25/2003 67,613
DC security.inf 3/7/2002 23,008 5/1/2003 206,978
hisecdc.inf 12/7/1999 6,524 12/7/1999 6,524 8/23/2001 7,784
hiscws.inf 12/7/1999 17,382 12/7/1999 17,382 8/23/2001 8,015
iesacls.inf 3/25/2003 2,098
notssid.inf 12/7/1999 1,357
ocfiless.inf 12/7/1999 783,208 17/7/1999 783,208
ocfilessw.inf 12/7/1999 489,613 12/7/1999 489,613
rootsec.inf 3/25/2003 713
securedc.inf 12/7/1999 6,391 12/7/1999 6,391 8/23/2001 7,789 3/25/2003 7,881
securews.inf 12/7/1999 7,018 12/7/1999 7,018 8/23/2001 7,713 3/25/2003 7,835
setup security.inf 3/6/2002 522,914 3/6/2002 573,046 12/27/2001 788,192 5/1/2003 797,932

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.

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