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ADFS 2016 prompts for credentials via a popup (and doesn’t work)

Setup ADFS in my home lab. There’s a single server called rak1adfs01.raxnet.global. The ADFS service is called adfs.raxnet.global and in DNS this is a CNAME to the server. 

When I go to https://adfs.raxnet.global/adfs/ls/IdpInitiatedSignon.htm I get a login prompt and even though I enter the correct credentials it doesn’t let me in. This is unlike what I am used to at work where we get a forms based screen and that works. 

To troubleshoot this I went to the authentication options on ADFS and under the Intranet section I unticked Windows Authentication and Microsoft Passport Authentication, leaving only Forms Authentication ticked. 

Screen Shot 2018 12 14 at 5 59 50 PM

Restarted the ADFS service and went back to ADFS page again – voila! it signs in. So the issue is definitely the WIA authentication. 

I noticed that when the prompt comes up it has my server name in it (rak1adfs.raxnet.global) rather than the ADFS service name (adfs.raxnet.global). That didn’t make sense – sounded like my browser was trying to authenticate against the server directly. 

Screen Shot 2018 12 14 at 6 03 18 PM

Could be an SPN issue? According to this article I am supposed to have an SPN of the form host/adfs.raxnet.gloabal and that does exist. 

Looking at the SPNs of rak1adfs01.raxnet.global (my ADFS server) I don’t see anything tying it to my service account. I came across another article, for a single ADFS server, which suggests setting up an SPN for http/<servername>. 

Once I did that WIA started working. (If I delete this SPN and create one for http/adfs.raxnet.global WIA fails again. I guess my issue is that since it’s a single server currently it is being treated as a single server case rather than an ADFS farm). 

I went back and enabled the Forms Authentication and everything works as usual. 

Lessons learnt: 1) WIA takes precedence over Forms Based Authentication; and 2) SPNs must be created against the single server if you have a single server install (even though you might be thinking of it as a farm install because you plan on installing more servers later). 

As an aside, some useful links: 

  • Here’s an example of a simple authentication app you can setup that uses ADFS
  • If you don’t want to install an app but just want to test ADFS authentication you can always go to https://fqdn.domain.com/adfs/ls/IdpInitiatedSignon.aspx. This will only work on ADFS 2016 if you enable it
  • Lastly, one more SAML test app that you can install. 
  • The two SPNs that are required for ADFS.

ADFS 2016 prompts for credentials via a popup (and doesn’t work) by rakhesh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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