Fast and efficient. These are definitely two words that network administrators love and appreciate, especially in large, complex environments. You can make the process of creating user accounts fast and efficient as well by creating user templates.

By creating a user template, you can make a copy of it when you need to create an account for a new user. Many of the attributes of the user template, such as group membership, will be copied to the new user account. This eliminates the need for you to configure all the account properties each time you have to create a new user account.

If you plan to implement user templates, I would recommend creating a user template for each category of user on your network. For example, you could create a user template for standard users and another one for help desk users.

Creating a user template involves creating a new user account. You can create a user account by opening Active Directory Users and Computers. Right click the Users container, point to New, and click User. Enter the user’s name and logon name. Click Next to configure a password for the account. Select the password options you want to use. Click Next to review your selections and click Finish.

There are a few best practices you can follow when creating a user template.

  • When naming the user template, place a zero or an underscore at the beginning of the user name so it will be at the top of the list when you open the Users container.
  • For simplicity purposes, use the same password for all user templates.
  • Configure the password so it does not expire.
  • Disable all user templates. This can be done by right clicking the account and selecting the Disable option.

Once you have your user template created and have configured all the necessary account properties, you are ready to use the template to create user accounts. Right click the template you want to use and click Copy. Type in the appropriate user name and logon name for the account. Click Next to type in a password for the account that follows your company policy. Clear the Password never expires option and the Account is disabled option. Select the User must change password at next logon option. Click next and click Finish. You should not have to configure any of the account properties because they are copied from the template.