Resource Tips and Examples: User and Group on Windows

Included in Puppet Enterprise 3.8. A newer version is available; see the version menu above for details.

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

These resource 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

Windows can manage group membership by specifying the groups to which a user belongs, or specifying the members of a group. Puppet supports both cases.

If Puppet is managing a local user, you can list the [groups][groups] that the user belongs to. Each group can be a local group account, e.g. Administrators, or a domain group account.

If Puppet is managing a local group, you can list the members that belong to the group. Each member can be a local account, e.g. Administrator, or a domain account, where each account can be a user or group account.

When managing a user, Puppet will make sure the user belongs to all of the groups listed in the manifest. If the user belongs to a group not specified in the manifest, Puppet will not remove the user from the group.

If you want to ensure a user belongs to only the groups listed in the manifest, and no more, you can specify the [auth_membership][auth_membership_user] attribute for the user. If set to inclusive, Puppet will remove the user from any group not listed in the manifest.

Similarly, when managing a group, Puppet will make sure all of the members listed in the manifest are added to the group. Existing members of the group not listed in the manifest will be ignored. If you want to ensure a group contains only the members listed in the manifest, and no more, you can specify the [auth_membership][auth_membership_group] attribute for the group. If set to true, the default in Puppet 3.8, Puppet will remove existing members of the group that are not listed in the manifest.

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.

Errata

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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