trust relationship failed error

Fix Trust relationship failed issue without domain rejoining


In this article we will discuss the causes of Trust relationship failed error and some solutions on how to restore secure channel between workstation and domain.

In what case we can get this error? For example, when user is trying to login to workstation or server with domain account credential and after entering the username and its password a window appears (with an error message):

The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed

Or the error may be like this:

The security database on the server does not have a computer account for this workstation trust relationship

The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed

trust relationship failed

What is the cause for The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed error?

Let’s try to understand what does this error means and how to fix it.

When you connect the computer to Active Directory domain it sets a password (like for AD users). Trust at this level is provided by the fact that operation is performed by Domain administrator or another user with the same rights.

Each time when domain computer login to the domain, it establish a secure channel with a domain controller and send credentials. In that case, trust is established between the workstation and domain and further interaction occurs according to administrator-defined security policies.

The computer account password is valid for 30 days (by default) and then automatically changes. It is important to understand that the change of password initiated by computer is defined by Domain policies. This is similar to the changing user password process.

Tip. You can configure maximum account password age for domain computers using GPO Domain member: Maximum machine account password age, which is located in the following GPO editor branch: Computer Configuration-> Windows Settings-> Security Settings-> Local Policies-> Security Options. You can specify number of days between 0 and 999 (by default it is 30 days).

domain trust relationship failed

For a single machine, you can configure the machine account password policy through the registry. To do this, run regedit.exe and go to the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netlogon\Parameters key. Edit the value of the MaximumPasswordAge parameter, in which you can specify the maximum period of validity of the computer password in the domain (in days). Other option is to completely disable sending a request for computer password updates, by changing the value of the DisablePasswordChange parameter to 1.

trust relationship failed registry

The Active Directory domain stores the current computer password, as well as the previous one (just in case). If the password was changed twice, the computer that is using old password will not be able to authenticate in the domain and establish a secure connection.

If the password has expired, computer changes it automatically when login on the domain. Therefore, even if you did not Power on your computer for a few months, trust relationship between computer and domain still be remaining and the password will be changed at first registration in the domain.

Trust relationship failed if computer tries to authenticate on domain with an invalid password. Typically, this occurs after reinstalling the OS, then the system state was restore from an image (backup) or snapshot of the Virtual machine, or it was just turned off for a long time. In this case, the current value of the password on the local computer and the password in the domain will be different.

The most obvious classic way to restore trust relationship is:

  1. Reset local Admin password
  2. Move computer from Domain to workgroup
  3. Reboot
  4. Reset Computer account in the domain using ADUC console
  5. Rejoin computer to the domain
  6. Reboot again

This method is the easiest, but not the fastest and most convenient way and requires multiple reboots. Also, we know cases when user profile is not reconnecting correctly after rejoining.

We will show how to restore a trust relationship and restore secure channel without domain rejoin and reboot!

Tip. It is extremely important to make sure that the time difference between the domain controller and the client computer’s less than 5 minutes. To properly configure time synchronization in a domain, see the article Configuring NTP on Windows using GPO.

Using Netdom resetpwd to Fix Trust Relationship Failed

You can find Netdom utility in Windows Server since 2008 version, it can be installed on client PC as part of the RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools) package. The method is fast and efficient. To use it, login to the target system with Local administrator (!!!) credentials (by typing, “.\Administrator” to the logon window) and run following command:

Netdom resetpwd /Server:DomainController /UserD:Administrator /PasswordD:Password
  • Server – name of any domain controller
  • UserD – username with domain admin rights
  • PasswordD – user password
Netdom resetpwd /Server:lon-dc01 /UserD:dsmith /PasswordD:Str0NGestP@$$

netdom reset trust relationship

After successful execution of this command reboot is not required, just logout from a local account and login to the domain account.

You can check for a secure connection to the domain using Netdom by using the following command:

Netdom Verify WK_Salary12 /Domain:corp.contoso.com /UserO:dsmith /PasswordO:*

This method does not always work, because it is not always possible to authorize on the domain controller under the administrator name from the computer to which the trust is lost.

Reset-ComputerMachinePassword using PowerShell

You can reset computer password with the help of PowerShell cmdlet Reset-ComputerMachinePassword. This is the fastest and most convenient way to reset the password of a computer that does not require a reboot. Unlike the Netdom utility, PowerShell 3.0 is already included in all Microsoft OSs starting with Windows 8/Server 2012. You can install it manually (see here) on this platforms: Windows 7, Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 (also requires Net Framework 4.0 or higher).

If you want to restore a trust relationship as a local Administrator, run PowerShell console and execute this command:

Reset-ComputerMachinePassword -Server DomainController -Credential Domain\Admin
  • Server – name of any domain controller
  • Credential – user with domain admin permissions
Reset-ComputerMachinePassword -Server lon-dc01 -Credential corp\dsmith

Reset-ComputerMachinePassword

Command authorization window will appear and you must enter the password you specified for Domain administrator account.

Cmdlet does not display any messages on success, so just change the account, no reboot required.

Tip. Same operation can be performed using Powershell cmdlet Test-ComputerSecureChannel:

Test-ComputerSecureChannel -Repair -Credential corp\dsmith

You can check that secured channel has been successfully reestablished using following command:

nltest /sc_verify:corp.contoso.com

trust relationship fix

The following strings confirm that trust relationship has been repaired:

Trusted DC Connection Status Status = 0 0x0 NERR_Success

Trust Verification Status = 0 0x0 NERR_Success

In addition, you can reset the computer’s password in the domain and use the Nltest utility:

Nltest /sc_change_pwd:corp.Contoso.com

However, unlike Netdom and Reset-ComputerMachinePassword, which provides input of user credentials, Nltest works in the context of the user who launched it. Accordingly, if you log on to the computer under the local account and attempting to execute the command, you will receive an access denied error. Because of this, the method does not always work.

As you can see, it is quite easy to solve Trust relationship failed issue in a domain! Hope this was useful for you!

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