A domain user attempts to browse to a website hosted on Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 or higher by using Internet Explorer 6.0 or later. The website is configured to use Kerberos authentication. Instead of receiving the expected web page, the user is presented with an error message similar to the following:
HTTP 400 - Bad Request (Request header too long)
This issue may occur when the user is a member of many Active Directory user groups. When a user is a member of a large number of active directory groups the Kerberos authentication token for the user increases in size. The HTTP request that the user sends to the IIS server contains the Kerberos token in the WWW-Authenticate header, and the header size increases as the number of groups goes up. If the HTTP header or packet size increases past the limits configured in IIS, IIS may reject the request and send this error as the response.
To work around this problem, choose one of the following options:
A) Decrease the number of Active Directory groups that the user is a member of.
B) Modify the MaxFieldLength and the MaxRequestBytes registry settings on the IIS server so the user's request headers are not considered too long. To determine the appropriate settings for the MaxFieldLength and the MaxRequestBytes registry entries, use the following calculations:
NOTE: Depending on your application environment, you could also consider configuring the web site to use NTLM instead of Kerberos to work around this problem. Some application environments require Kerberos to be used for delegation purposes, and Kerberos is more secure than NTLM, so it is recommended that you do not disable Kerberos before considering the security and delegation ramifications of doing so.
By default, the MaxFieldLength registry entry is not present. This registry entry specifies the maximum size limit of each HTTP request header. The MaxRequestBytes registry entry specifies the upper limit for the total size of the Request line and the headers. Typically, this registry entry is configured together with the MaxRequestBytes registry entry. If the MaxRequestBytes value is lower than the MaxFieldLength value, the MaxFieldLength value is adjusted. In large Active Directory environments, users may experience logon failures if the values for both these entries are not set to a sufficiently high value.
For Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 and later, the MaxFieldLength and MaxRequestBytes registry keys are located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\HTTP\Parameters. Configure them as shown in the following table:
(4/3 * T bytes) + 200
(4/3 * T bytes) + 200
Alternatively you may set the registry keys to their maximum values shown below. The Administrator should consider all potential security ramifications if he makes any changes to the registry settings:
IMPORTANT: Changing these registry keys can be considered extremely dangerous. These keys allow larger HTTP packets to be sent to IIS, which in turn may cause Http.sys to use more memory and may increase vulnerability to malicious attacks.
NOTE: If MaxFieldLength is configured to its maximum value of 64KB, then the MaxTokenSize registry value should be set to 3/4 * 64 = 48KB. For more information on the MaxTokenSize setting, please see the Microsoft knowledge base article KB327825 listed below.
More Information about the topics discussed in this article can be found at the following locations:
Http.sys registry settings for IIS
Error logging in HTTP API
New resolution for problems with Kerberos authentication when users belong to many groups
Error message when an Outlook Web Access user tries to access a mailbox in Exchange Server 2003
Article ID: 2020943 - Last Review: 10/26/2015 09:13:00 - Revision: 23.0
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