You receive an error message when you try to change your password in Windows NT 4.0

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Article ID: 196465 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q196465
IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information on how to do this, view the "Restoring the Registry" online Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" online Help topic in Regedt32.exe.
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When a user attempts to change his or her password from a computer running Windows NT, he or she is presented with the following error message:

Your password must be at least 0 characters long. Your new password
cannot be the same as any of your previous 0 passwords. Also, your site
may require passwords that must be a combination of upper case, lower
case, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters. Type a password which
meets these requirements in both text boxes.


This problem occurs when the registry entry for strong passwords (PASSFILT) exists, but your current account policy has no password restrictions.


Passfilt.dll implements the following password policy:

  1. Passwords must be at least six (6) characters long.
  2. Passwords must contain characters from at least three (3) of the following four (4) classes:
          Description                             Examples
          English upper case letters              A, B, C, ... Z
          English lower case letters              a, b, c, ... z
          Westernized Arabic numerals             0, 1, 2, ... 9
          Non-alphanumeric                        ("special characters") such
                                                  as punctuation symbols
  3. Passwords may not contain your user name or any part of your full name.
If your current account policy is set to permit blank password, this conflicts with the above requirements for PASSFILT. Therefore, you should change the Minimum Password Length value to be at least six characters, or disable the functionality of PASSFILT. To disable PASSFILT, complete the following steps on the PDC:

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. If you are running Windows NT, you should also update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

  1. Use Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe) to navigate to the following key:
  2. Double-click the "Notification Packages" key and remove the following value:
  3. Click OK and then exit Registry Editor.
  4. Shut down and restart the computer running Windows NT Server.


For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

161990 How to Enable Strong Password Functionality in Windows NT


Article ID: 196465 - Last Review: November 1, 2006 - Revision: 1.2
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
kbprb KB196465

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