User password is set to NULL when you use Group Policy Preferences to create a user account
You may encounter one or more of the following symptoms when you create a new user account by using Group Policy Preferences in the Group Policy Management Editor window on a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008:
- The user account password is set to NULL when you update some of its properties and then press the Apply button.
- The user account password is set to NULL when you set the length of the user account password to a range of 16-23 characters.
- The whole setting file (groups.xml) file is deleted when you create a user account and then press the Apply button. Therefore, all user settings are lost.
When you encounter one or more of these issues, the user cannot log on to the computer by using the new user account. Additionally, the user account password is not set as expected, and the user account password does not comply with a strong password policy. Therefore, there is a security issue.
For more information on this issue, including potential causes, workarounds, and resolutions, see: Microsoft KB Article KB971357.