AD FS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Applies To: Windows Server 2016

How can I upgrade/migrate from previous versions of AD FS?

You can upgrade an AD FS 2012 R2 farm using the “mixed farm” process described here. It works for WID or SQL farms, though the document shows only the WID scenario.

If you need to upgrade from AD FS 2.0 or 2.1 (Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012), you must use the in-box scripts (located in C:\Windows\ADFS).

What third party multi-factor authentication providers are available for AD FS?

Below is a list of third party providers we are aware of. There may always be providers available that we do not know about and we will update the list as we learn about them.

Gemalto Identity & Security Services

inWebo Enterprise Authentication service

Login People MFA API connector

RSA SecurID Authentication Agent for Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services

SafeNet Authentication Service (SAS) Agent for AD FS

Swisscom Mobile ID Authentication Service

Symantec Validation and ID Protection Service (VIP)

Are third party proxies supported with AD FS?

Third party proxies can be placed in front of the Web Application Proxy, but any third party proxy must support the MS-ADFSPIP protocol to be used in place of the Web Application Proxy.

Where is the capacity planning sizing spreadsheet for AD FS 2016?

The AD FS 2016 version of the spreadsheet can be downloaded here. This can also be used for AD FS in Windows Server 2012 R2.

How do I replace the SSL certificate for AD FS?

The AD FS SSL certificate is not the same as the AD FS Service communications certificate found in the AD FS Management snap-in. To change the AD FS SSL certificate, you’ll need to use PowerShell. Follow the guidance in the article below:

Managing SSL Certificates in AD FS and WAP 2016

Does the proxy SSL certificate have to be the same as the AD FS SSL certificate?

  • If the proxy is used to proxy AD FS requests that use Windows Integrated Authentication, the proxy SSL certificate must be the same (use the same key) as the federation server SSL certificate
  • If the AD FS property "ExtendedProtectionTokenCheck" is enabled (the default setting in AD FS), the proxy SSL certificate must be the same (use the same key) as the federation server SSL certificate
  • Otherwise, the proxy SSL certificate can have a different key from the AD FS SSL certificate, but must meet the same requirements

How can I configure prompt=login behavior for AD FS?

Why would I need to worry about prompt=login?

Some Office 365 applications (with modern authentication enabled) send the prompt=login parameter to Azure AD as part of each authentication request. By default, Azure AD translates this into two parameters:

wauth=urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.0:am:password, and wfresh=0

This can cause problems with corporate intranet and multi factor authentication scenarios in which an authentication type other than username and password is desired.

Now that AD FS has native support for the prompt=login parameter, you have the option of configuring Azure AD to send this parameter as-is to your AD FS service as part of Azure AD and Office 365 authentication requests.

What version(s) of AD FS support prompt=login?

  • AD FS in Windows Server 2012 R2 with the July 2016 update rollup

  • AD FS in Windows Server 2016

How do I configure my Azure AD tenant to send prompt=login to AD FS?

Use the Azure AD PowerShell module to configure the setting.

Note: The prompt=login capability (enabled by the PromptLoginBehavior parameter) is currently available only in the ‘version 1.0’ Azure AD Powershell module, in which the cmdlets have names that include “Msol”, such as Set-MsolDomainFederationSettings. It is not currently available via ‘version 2.0’ Azure AD PowerShell module, whose cmdlets have names like “Set-AzureAD*”.

Important: every time you set the PreferredAuthenticationProtocol, SupportsMfa, or PromptLoginBehavior settings on your Azure AD tenant, you must be sure to configure all three to your desired setting, even if you are not changing the values of all three settings. If you do not set all three, there is a risk that one or more of the settings for which you don’t provide a value will be reset to their default settings, potentially causing a system outage.

To configure prompt=login behavior, use the cmdlet syntax below:

PS C:\>Set-MsolDomainFederationSettings –DomainName <your domain name> -PreferredAuthenticationProtocol <your current protocol setting> -SupportsMfa <$True|$False> -PromptLoginBehavior <TranslateToFreshPasswordAuth|NativeSupport|Disabled>


  • the required PreferredAuthenticationProtocol and SupportsMfa parameter values can be found by viewing the PreferredAuthenticationProtocol and SupportsMfa settings, respectively, in the output from the cmdlet:

    PS:\>Get-MsolDomainFederationSettings -DomainName <your_domain_name> | fl *
  • TranslateToFreshPasswordAuth means the default Azure AD behavior of sending wauth and wfresh to AD FS instead of prompt=login

  • NativeSupport means that the prompt=login parameter will be sent as is to AD FS

  • Disabled means nothing will be sent to AD FS

How can I configure browsers to use Windows Integrated Authentication (WIA) with AD FS?

AD FS 2016 now has an improved default setting that enables the Edge browser to do WIA while not also (incorrectly) catching Windows Phone as well:


The above means you no longer have to configure individual user agent strings to support common Edge scenarios, even though they are updated quite often.

For other browsers, configure the AD FS property WiaSupportedUserAgents to add the required values based on the browsers you are using.

View the current setting

PS C:\>$strings = Get-AdfsProperties | select -ExpandProperty WiaSupportedUserAgents

Add additional strings or regex match expresssions

PS C:\>$strings = $strings+”newstring”
PS C:\>Set-AdfsProperties -WiaSupportedUserAgents $strings

How long are AD FS tokens valid?

Often this question means ‘how long do users get single sign on (SSO) without having to enter new credentials, and how can I as an admin control that?’ This behavior, and the configuration settings that control it, are described in the article here.

The default lifetimes of the various cookies and tokens are listed below (as well as the parameters that govern the lifetimes):

Registered Devices

  • PRT and SSO cookies: 90 days maximum, governed by PSSOLifeTimeMins. (Provided device is used at least every 14 days, which is controlled by DeviceUsageWindow)

  • Refresh token: calculated based on the above to provide consistent behavior

  • access_token: 1 hour by default, based on the relying party

  • id_token: same as access token

Un-registered Devices

  • SSO cookies: 8 hours by default, governed by SSOLifetimeMins. When Keep Me Signed in (KMSI) is enabled, default is 24 hours and configurable via KMSILifetimeMins.

  • Refresh token: 8 hours by default. 24 hours with KMSI enabled

  • access_token: 1 hour by default, based on the relying party

  • id_token: same as access token

Why does AD FS installation require a reboot of the server?

HTTP/2 support was added in Windows Server 2016, but HTTP/2 can't be used for client certificate authentication. Because many AD FS scenarios make use of client certificate authentication, and a significant number of clients do not support retrying requests using HTTP/1.1, AD FS farm configuration re-configures the local server's HTTP settings to HTTP/1.1. This requires a reboot of the server.

How can I ensure my AD FS and WAP servers support Apple's ATP requirements?

Apple has released a set of requirements called App Transport Security (ATS) that may impact calls from iOS apps that authenticate to AD FS. You can ensure your AD FS and WAP servers comply by making sure they support the requirements for connecting using ATS.
In particular, you should verify that your AD FS and WAP servers support TLS 1.2 and that the TLS connection's negotiated cipher suite will support perfect forward secrecy.

You can enable and disable SSL 2.0 and 3.0 and TLS versions 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 using the guidance here.

To ensure your AD FS and WAP servers negotiate only TLS cipher suites that support ATP, you can disable all cipher suites that are not in the list of ATP compliant cipher suites. To do this, use the Windows TLS PowerShell cmdlets.