You Have Exceeded the Maximum Number of Computer Accounts

KB ID 0001536


A few weeks ago, this was asked in a forum, and while I knew what the problem was, I’d never seen it myself. So I recreated the problem on the test network to look at why it happened, and how to fix / get around the problem.

You have exceeded the maximum number of computer accounts

The following error occurred attempting to join the domain {domain-name}

You computer could not be joined to the domain, You have
exceeded the maximum number of computer accounts you are
allowed to create in this domain. Contact your system|
administrator to have this limit reset or increased.

To be honest there’s no way I can think of to reset that limit, (short of deleting and recreating your domain user account!) So what’s going on? Well every authenticated domain user has the RIGHT to join a computer to the domain, and the amount of computers they can join is limited to 10 (ten).

Exceptions / Users Not Affected

Members of the domain admins group, and users that have been delegated the right to create a computer object are exempt this limit. 

Solution Option 1 – Use an Administrative Account

Pretty straight forward, the easiest way to avoid this is to add computers to the domain using an account that’s a member off the Domain Admins Group.

Solution Option 2 – Raise The Limit From 10

This limit is set at a Domain level, i.e. it’s not set on a particular user, so you have to raise the limit for ALL Users. To do this log onto a domain controller and launch Adsiedit.msc > Connect To > Default Naming Context > OK.

ASDSI Edit default Naming Context

Select CN={Your Domain} > Properties > Locate ms-DS-MachineAccountQuota > Edit > Change the value from 10 to something greater.


Solution Option 3 – Delegate Create Computer Object Right

Locate the OU (or container) that your new computer objects get added to, (I say container because ‘Computers’ is NOT an OU) > Right Click > Delegate Control > Next > Add your domain user > Next > Create a custom task > Next.

Delegate Create Computer Access

Only the following object in the folder > Tick: Computer Objects > Tick: Create selected object in this folder > Next > Tick: Property specific > Tick: Read All Properties > Next > Finish

Delegate Add Computer Access

Solution Option 4 – Pre-Stage Computer Objects in Active Directory

Not very scalable, but you can pre-create the computer object before the computer is joined to the Domain, (providing you know its computer-name / host-name). This can be done in Active directory Users and Computers.

Pre-Stage Computer Account in AD

Then you can simply join the computer to the domain.

Pre-Staged Computer Account Domain Join

How Does This Work

When a computer is joined to a domain a few things happen, the account you are using is checked, if it’s a normal, (not delegated or non domain admin) user, then the SID (Security Identifier) of that user is stamped on the COMPUTER object in a value called ms-DS-CreatorSID 


What does NOT happen: There is NOT value on the USER object that increments by one for each machine joined to the domain, the ONLY reference is on the COMPUTER object. Yes this seems inefficient, but there we go that’s how it works.

If the user has delegated rights to create computer objects, or is a member of domain admins then, ms-DS-CreatorSID is left empty, (if you query it using PowerShell or programatically it will return ‘null’).

Finding Out Who Joined a Computer to The Domain

Because of the way this is stamped on the computer, and not the user, then if you want to find out how many computers a particular user, or users, have added it’s not straight forward! If it’s something that’s happened recently you can look on your domain controllers in the security log for Event 4741.

Event ID 4741

Or if you need to do something complicated, then scripting is your friend!

Getting a List of Computers Joined to a Domain (By User)

Use the following PowerShell, (this is one command if it gets wrapped after you copy/paste it).

Get-ADComputer -Filter * -Properties ms-DS-CreatorSID | Where-Object -FilterScript { $_."ms-DS-CreatorSID" -ne $Null } | Format-Table -AutoSize -Property Name,@{Label='User';Expression={(New-Object System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier($_."mS-DS-CreatorSID".Value)).Translate([System.Security.Principal.NTAccount]).Value}}

Like so;

See Which User Joined a Computer To a Domain

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links


Author: PeteLong

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  1. Wholly smoke – this is magnificent documentation.

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  2. This is super helpful and clearly laid out, thank you!

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  3. Pete, thank you, great information.
    While investing a BIG Active Directory environment (and from a remote Admin machine) I had to tune the query, so that it left-filters the input:

    Get-ADComputer -Filter {ms-DS-CreatorSID -like ‘*’} -Properties ms-DS-CreatorSID,Created | Format-Table -AutoSize -Property Name,Created,@{Label=’User’;Expression={(New-Object System.Security.Principal.SecurityIdentifier($_.”mS-DS-CreatorSID”.Value)).Translate([System.Security.Principal.NTAccount]).Value}}

    So you don’t have to extract all the computer and rigth-filter with Where-Object.

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    • Thanks for the feedback Claudio.

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