Creating New Azure AD User Accounts and Updating Passwords with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

Manage User Accounts with the New-MgUser and Update-MgUser Cmdlets

In March 2022, I wrote about the basics of Azure AD account management using the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. One of the things that I left out of that article was Azure AD account creation. I omitted this detail because it was already covered in another article, where I compare creating an account using cmdlets from the old Azure AD module and the SDK. I’ll cover the basic points here

Connecting to the Microsoft Graph SDK

Before we can create or update accounts, we must connect to the SDK endpoint with the required permissions:

Connect-MgGraph -Scopes User.ReadWrite.All, Directory.ReadWrite.All
Select-MgProfile Beta

Password Profiles

The New-MgUser cmdlet creates a new account. To run New-MgUser, we need a password profile. A password profile is a Microsoft Graph resource that contains a password and associated settings. It can be as simple as a password with no settings, but a password profile can also include settings like ForceChangePasswordNextSignIn to force a user account to change their password after they next sign into Azure AD.

New-MgUser uses a hash table for the password profile. The example code shown below populates the hash table with a new password (generated using the GeneratePassword .NET method as a random 10-character string containing special characters, numbers, and upper- and lower-case letters). The ForceChangePasswordNextSignIn setting is True to force the new user to set a new password after they sign in.

Add-Type -AssemblyName 'System.Web'
$NewPassword = [System.Web.Security.Membership]::GeneratePassword(10, 3)
$NewPasswordProfile = @{}
$NewPasswordProfile["Password"]= $NewPassword
$NewPasswordProfile["ForceChangePasswordNextSignIn"] = $True

The hash table now contains values like this:

Name                           Value
----                           -----
Password                       4i_gb6OK?{
ForceChangePasswordNextSignIn  True

Creating a New Azure AD User Account with New-MgUser

To create the new account, run the New-MgUser cmdlet. It’s obviously important to include as many details as possible about the new user account, especially the settings exposed by Microsoft 365 in places like the user profile card or the Organization Explorer feature in Outlook and Teams.

# Azure AD Account Creation - the hard coded way
$DisplayName = "Jeff Atkinson"
$NewUser = New-MgUser -UserPrincipalName "" `
  -DisplayName "Jeff Atkinson (Information Technology)" `
  -PasswordProfile $NewPasswordProfile -AccountEnabled `
  -MailNickName Jeff.Atkinson -City NYC `
  -CompanyName "Office 365 for IT Pros" -Country "United States" `
  -Department "IT Operations" -JobTitle "GM Operations" `
  -BusinessPhones "+1 676 830 1101" -MobilePhone "+1 617 4466615" `
  -State "New York" -StreetAddress "1, Avenue of the Americas" `
  -Surname "Atkinson" -GivenName "Jeff" `
  -UsageLocation "US" -OfficeLocation "NYC"
If ($NewUser) { Write-Host ("Successfully added the {0} account" -f $NewUser.DisplayName) 
  } Else { Write-Host ("Failure adding the {0} account - exiting" -f $DisplayName); break }

The usage location is a two-character ISO-3166 country code to show where the account consumes services, and it’s important to set the value correctly so that the license assignment works properly. After creating a new account, you’ll need to assign it some licenses to allow access to Microsoft 365 services. See this article for more information.

The code to add a new account shown above is a one-off command. However, it’s the principal that counts and it is straightforward to take the code and amend it so that it uses parameters or input such as a CSV file (like that shown in Figure 1) holding details of new users. In the latter case, after loading the records into an array, you could then loop through the records to add each account. Here’s an example of doing just that:

CSV file to drive Azure AD account creation
Figure 1: CSV file to drive Azure AD account creation

# Azure AD account creation - driven by data imported from a CSV file
$Accounts = Import-CSV c:\temp\Accounts.CSV
ForEach ($Account in $Accounts) {
  $NewPassword = [System.Web.Security.Membership]::GeneratePassword(10, 3)
  $NewPasswordProfile = @{}
  $NewPasswordProfile["Password"]= $NewPassword
  $NewPasswordProfile["ForceChangePasswordNextSignIn"] = $True
  $MailNickname = $Account.First + "." + $Account.Surname
  $DisplayName = $Account.First + " " + $Account.Surname
  Write-Host ("Processing the {0} account" -f $DisplayName)
  $NewUser = New-MgUser -UserPrincipalName $Account.UserPrincipalName `
  -DisplayName $DisplayName `
  -PasswordProfile $NewPasswordProfile `
  -MailNickName $MailNickName -City $Account.City `
  -CompanyName $Account.Company -Country $Account.Country `
  -Department $Account.Department -JobTitle $Account.Title `
  -BusinessPhones $Account.Phone -MobilePhone $Account.Mobile `
  -State $Account.State -StreetAddress $Account.Street `
  -Surname $Account.Surname -GivenName $Account.First `
  -UsageLocation $Account.Location -OfficeLocation $Account.Office `
 If ($NewUser) { Write-Host ("Successfully added the {0} account" -f $NewUser.DisplayName) 
  } Else { Write-Host ("Failure adding the {0} account - exiting" -f $DisplayName); break }

Finishing up Azure AD Account Creation

To complete the account creation process, you might want to send email to the administrator accounts with details of the new account (Figure 2). This task is easily accomplished with a Graph method to create and send email (explained in this article).

Email notification about the creation of a new Azure AD user account

Azure AD account creation
Figure 2: Email notification about the creation of a new Azure AD user account

To help illustrate the flow of creating a new account complete with license assignment and email notification, I’ve uploaded a script to GitHub. The code is not a functional script because it contains once-off commands. Instead, it’s for you to play with and create your own version.

Updating a User Account with a New Password

To change an Azure AD account password, create a password profile as above and then run the Update-MgUser cmdlet. If you don’t want to force the user to create a new password after they sign in, make sure that the ForceChangePasswordNextSignIn setting in the password profile is false, and then run:

Update-MgUser -UserId -PasswordProfile $NewPassword

Updating a user’s password generates a continual access evaluation (CAE) event for CAE. This means that “enlightened” applications like the Office web apps learn about the existence of the new password and will force the user to reauthenticate with the new password to continue working.

Azure AD Account Creation Not Hard with the SDK

Creating a new Azure AD user account with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK isn’t difficult. The hardest thing might be to come up with a good temporary password to assign to the account. Good luck if you’re moving scripts from the old Azure AD or MSOL modules before Microsoft deprecates these modules in 2023. It just takes a little time and maybe a lot of persistence.

Insight like this doesn’t come easily. You’ve got to know the technology and understand how to look behind the scenes. Benefit from the knowledge and experience of the Office 365 for IT Pros team by subscribing to the best eBook covering Office 365 and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

One Reply to “Creating New Azure AD User Accounts and Updating Passwords with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK”

  1. Thank you for showing the new method for this. The only thing that concerns me (and maybe it’s because I’m missing some pieces of information), but with PS7 the default going forward which doesn’t use .NET, the Password Generator function doesn’t work. I loved using this for other scripts but you need to use 5.1. Do you know if 5.1 will continue to be available in later versions of Windows or will they be incorporating these helpful components into 7 or later?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.