PsTools communication errors

My friend Anthony was getting “access denied” and “logon failure” errors when trying to to run psexec (from one of the PsTools suite) from an XP machine on a domain to an XP machine in a workgroup.  It was something similar to:

PsInfo 1.34 – local and remote system information viewer
Copyright (C) 2001-2002 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals – www.sysinternals.com

Could not connect to machine_name:
Access is denied.

And…

PsInfo 1.34 – local and remote system information viewer
Copyright (C) 2001-2002 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals – www.sysinternals.com

Couldn’t access machine_name:
Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password.

Here are the settings/steps I checked/took that resolved the issue:

1. ping – was able to ping the machine by hostname.  So no problem here.

2. net share – verified the ADMIN$ share was enabled.  Again no problem here.

3. Remote Registry service – verified the service was started because the PsTools suite makes use of RPC calls via port 445.  Was fine here.

4. Administrator password – verified the Administrator did not have an empty password.  Was set here.

5. Test account – created a test account to use for psexec (e.g., psexec \\computer_name notepad.exe -u test -p test).  Was available here.

6. Access hidden share – tried to access C$ and found that user name field grayed out.  This tipped off the problem – cool!

To fix it, I had to set the Network Access: Sharing and security model for local accounts security option Classic – local users authenticate as themselves.

Access it via Start > Run > secpol.msc > Local Policies > Security Options (see screenshot below).

image

Apparently, updates to Windows XP now sets this security option to Guest only – local users authenticate as Guest, which denies the ability to implicitly or explicitly use of a specific user name/password combo.

Hope this helps someone out there.  Peace.

4 thoughts on “PsTools communication errors”

  1. Ohhh man, thank you i was searching for this solution for ages…. I had to change Network Access: Sharing and security model for local accounts …. Once again THANKS a lot ….

  2. That’s great, this problem has had me scratching my head for ages!!!
    I have another small problem related to this. I have over 600 machines that require this setting changed. Is there a way of changing the security options by command prompt/batch file?

  3. You most likely can accomplish this by changing the registry key below to ‘0‘ via a Windows PowerShell script. Check out the Group Policy Cmdlets; Set-GPRegistryValue might be it.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\forceguest

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