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Authentication Options

When you are deciding how users are going to be accessing Project Server, you can choose among several authentication options, based on your individual needs. In most cases, using Windows NT authentication will provide the easiest method, as users will not have to remember an additional username and password. In relationship to functionality, Windows and Project Server authentication are the same.

Using Project Server and/or Windows Authentication

Project Server authentication lets users log in using the predefined logins within Project Server. The method in which users are logged in to Windows will have no effect on their Project Server accounts.

If an organization chooses to use Windows authentication only, those with Project Server accounts will not be allowed to log in. These logins are based on the method in which the current user is logged in to Windows.

In a mixed environment, both of these authentication schemes are available and can be used in conjunction with one another.

Microsoft Project Server Authentication Only

Each user must log in to Project Server by going to the Project Server home page and then entering his or her username and password. This method has no association with the current user that is logged in to Windows. A common use for Project Server Authentication is to allow access to the Project Server for users who do not have a network login. For example, a contractor/consultant may need access to task information for project.

Windows Authentication Only

When you use the Windows authentication method for logging in to Project Server, user security is based on the account that is currently logged in to Windows. When the user tries to access the Project Server home page, he or she is not presented with the Project Server login screen but is instead taken directly to the Project Server home page, already logged in.

Mixed Authentication

Choosing this method of authentication allows users to log in using both Project Server and Windows NT authentication. This option is the most versatile. For example, your primary users could use Windows Authentication and your Help Desk might use Project Server accounts so that they can view the Project Server functionality as it is being provided to the end user. It is also helpful for supporting users at their computer workstations, as it allows the support person to log on as an administrator without having to create a Windows profile on the user's computer.

Changing the Authentication Method

You can change the authentication option that your Project Server environment is using by following these steps:

From within Project Server, select Admin, Manage Security.

Under Security Options, select User authentication. You have three options, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. You can easily change the authentication options for your server to Windows, Project Server, or mixed.

The Authentication Options Screen

The authentication options screen, W.2, gives you the following options about how your environment should operate:

  • Specify How Users Should Be Authenticated by the Microsoft Project Server— As discussed previously, you can select the authentication option your environment will use. To do so, click the button next to your selection.

  • Password Length for Microsoft Project Server Authentication— This option allows you to set the minimum length of user passwords for Microsoft Project Server authentication. To change this, simply replace the existing value in the text box.


If you decide to change the minimum password length after accounts have already been created, the change will not affect them. The new length requirement applies only to new accounts that are created and to passwords that are changed on existing accounts.

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