Q: Can the default encryption types the Kerberos authentication protocol uses in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 cause compatibility problems? Is there a workaround?

A: In Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, the DES encryption types for the Kerberos authentication protocol are disabled by default. This can cause compatibility problems if one of your legacy applications is hard-coded for only DES encryption or if the Windows account that runs a service (the service account) is configured to use only DES encryption. These services or applications will fail unless you reconfigure them to support another encryption type (RC4 or Advanced Encryption Standard, AES) or you enable DES support.

Out-of-the-box Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 machines support the AES (to be more precise, AES128_HMAC_SHA1, AES256_HMAC_SHA1) and RC4 (RC4_HMAC_MD5) Kerberos encryption types. Microsoft only added support for the AES encryption type in Server 2008, Windows Vista, and later OSs. AES is newer and a stronger encryption algorithm than DES. The RC4 encryption algorithm has been supported by Windows Kerberos since the Windows 2000 release and is still supported in Windows 7 and Server 2008. The Kerberos logic on domain controllers will switch to AES encryption when you change your Active Directory (AD) domain to the Server 2008 domain functional level.

To check whether one of your applications or services are hard-coded to use only DES encryption, you can run a network trace when the application or service starts and check the content of the Etype fields in the Kerberos authentication headers.

To determine whether an AD user or computer account is configured for only DES encryption, you must check whether the Use Kerberos DES encryption types for this account option is set on the Account tab in the object properties (which you can access from the AD Users and Computers MMC snap-in).

If you find that you're affected by this problem, you can enable DES encryption for Kerberos authentication on Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 using the Group Policy Object setting Network security: Configure encryption types allowed for Kerberos located in the Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options GPO container, as shown here.

Enabling DES encryption


Microsoft has documented this problem in a  Knowledge Base article.

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