Error: No-Start-Connection in AD Connect Export Sync

Getting this error while exporting the objects in AD Connect. You will also see the below result in Sync service.

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Resolution:- To resolve this issue go to Connectors, go to the properties of the connector giving the above error, select “Connect to Active Directory Forest” option and provide the credentials to connect. Once this is successful then sync will start again.

Difference Between Azure AD Connect and Single Sign-On Options

Azure AD Connect offers customers a number of ways to enable a “Single Sign-On” (or SSO) experience for users. I think it is important to understand the differences in these options, so that when you deploy Azure AD Connect into customer environments, you can pick the right solution to suit the business needs.

Single Sign-On is an experience, wherein a single logon event (like logging into your local workstation) will automatically qualify you for login to other, disparate systems (e.g. Office 365)–in other words, you have all the tokens, exchanges and mechanisms in place that are needed just from your primary logon event. From the user’s perspective: after signing into the local Active Directory network on their workstation using a corporate email address, they might then open a web browser, point it at https://mail.office365.com, and automatically be signed into their Office 365 mailbox, without having to provide credentials a second time. This is (so to speak) a “true” SSO experience.

There are three primary methods we can use to achieve “true” SSO:

  1. Password Hash Synchronization with Seamless Single Sign-On enabled
  2. Pass-Through Authentication with Seamless Single Sign-On enabled
  3. Active Directory Federated Services

I am actually going to start with this last option, which was in fact, the original. Many early adopters of the 365 platform ended up with this type of configuration.

Pass-Through Authentication with Seamless SSO

Pass Through Authentication or PTA is the simplified cousin of AD FS. It works both very similarly, AND very differently from the above solution.

Similar to AD FS, it means that all logins rely on the local Active Directory for authentication and sign-in–we still have that same annoying dependency. However, because the cloud authentication takes place via the local Azure AD Connect service, and does not require a complex AD FS server infrastructure or SSL certificates, it might be preferred in some scenarios. You would still want the redundant ISP links, but there are no additional requirements. Therefore, if you are faced with the challenge of keeping passwords and authentication events on-premises, and the customer also wants to keep the complexity down with a lighter on-premises footprint, then PTA is your best option (be sure to also enable SSO in the AAD Connect configuration wizard when choosing this option).

Pass-Through Authentication with Seamless SSO

Pass Through Authentication or PTA is the simplified cousin of AD FS. It works both very similarly, AND very differently from the above solution.

Similar to AD FS, it means that all logins rely on the local Active Directory for authentication and sign-in–we still have that same annoying dependency. However, because the cloud authentication takes place via the local Azure AD Connect service, and does not require a complex AD FS server infrastructure or SSL certificates, it might be preferred in some scenarios. You would still want the redundant ISP links, but there are no additional requirements. Therefore, if you are faced with the challenge of keeping passwords and authentication events on-premises, and the customer also wants to keep the complexity down with a lighter on-premises footprint, then PTA is your best option (be sure to also enable SSO in the AAD Connect configuration wizard when choosing this option).

Active Directory Federated Services (AD FS)

With AD FS, you need to deploy an on-premises service called Active Directory Federated Services, and it’s best if you make this service highly available. In this configuration, passwords never leave the on-premises Active Directory.  When someone attempts to sign-in to the Azure AD application, there is a configuration bit in the tenant that says “I’m not in charge of authentication, I have to go check in with <insert corporate AD FS web address here>.” This is super cool for security and compliance, because all authentication attempts are still logged against the local Active Directory.

But it is super uncool for many small businesses, because it requires setup and installation of AD FS, which also means that the cloud-based applications are dependent on the local Active Directory. So, if the corporate internet connection is down, so is your email. Wait a minute… why did we move our email to the cloud again? To prevent this scenario, our design would need to include:

  1. Properly configured AD FS infrastructure with SSL Certificates
  2. At least 2x AD FS web servers on separate links/ISP’s for HA
  3. Planned recovery from total loss of this site/infrastructure

Not a popular option for these reasons (complexity + dependency).

There are a couple of other considerations that might come into play. Most notably, the only solution here that supports the on-premises Multifactor Authentication Server is (unfortunately) AD FS. It is still possible to enable MFA for cloud-based applications using Azure AD MFA provider with the other options, but you do not have the ability to bring MFA to your network locally, without AD FS. Just something to be aware of.  On the flip side, it is worth noting that Azure Identity Protection (which requires additional licensing, e.g. P2) is not compatible with AD FS (because the authentication attempts must happen against Azure AD for Azure ID Protection reports to work).

Another consideration that applies only to PHS w/ SSO enabled: there may be a delay between, for example, disabling an account on-premises, and having that change updated in the cloud (because AAD Connect only synchronizes every 30 minutes by default). Furthermore, users who have passwords synchronized to Azure AD will technically have their cloud passwords set to never expire, and the password policies that apply on-premises will control when they need to update their password–but it is enforced on-premises only. Therefore it is possible, for example, to sign-in to cloud-based resources, even if the password on-premises has expired, because until the user changes the on-premises password, the old value will not be overwritten in the cloud.

There may be other small differences, but these are the noticeable ones that matter most to small businesses. I have summarized all of these points into this table for ease of reference:

Azure Active Directory Single Sign-On Using Azure Ad Connect

Azure Active Directory Seamless Single Sign-On: Quick start

Deploy Seamless Single Sign-On

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Seamless Single Sign-On (Seamless SSO) automatically signs in users when they are on their corporate desktops that are connected to your corporate network. Seamless SSO provides your users with easy access to your cloud-based applications without needing any additional on-premises components.

To deploy Seamless SSO, follow these steps.

Step 1: Check the prerequisites

Ensure that the following prerequisites are in place:

  • Set up your Azure AD Connect server: If you use Pass-through Authentication as your sign-in method, no additional prerequisite check is required. If you use password hash synchronization as your sign-in method, and if there is a firewall between Azure AD Connect and Azure AD, ensure that:
    • You use version 1.1.644.0 or later of Azure AD Connect.
    • If your firewall or proxy allows DNS whitelisting, whitelist the connections to the *.msappproxy.net URLs over port 443. If not, allow access to the Azure datacenter IP ranges, which are updated weekly. This prerequisite is applicable only when you enable the feature. It is not required for actual user sign-ins.

Note

Azure AD Connect versions 1.1.557.0, 1.1.558.0, 1.1.561.0, and 1.1.614.0 have a problem related to password hash synchronization. If you don’t intend to use password hash synchronization in conjunction with Pass-through Authentication, read the Azure AD Connect release notes to learn more.

  • Use a supported Azure AD Connect topology: Ensure that you are using one of Azure AD Connect’s supported topologies described here.

Note

Seamless SSO supports multiple AD forests, whether there are AD trusts between them or not.

  • Set up domain administrator credentials: You need to have domain administrator credentials for each Active Directory forest that:
    • You synchronize to Azure AD through Azure AD Connect.
    • Contains users you want to enable for Seamless SSO.
  • Enable modern authentication: You need to enable modern authentication on your tenant for this feature to work.
  • Use the latest versions of Office 365 clients: To get a silent sign-on experience with Office 365 clients (Outlook, Word, Excel, and others), your users need to use versions 16.0.8730.xxxx or above.

Step 2: Enable the feature

Enable Seamless SSO through Azure AD Connect.

If you’re doing a fresh installation of Azure AD Connect, choose the custom installation path. At the User sign-in page, select the Enable single sign on option.

Note

The option will be available for selection only if the Sign On method is Password Hash Synchronization or Pass-through Authentication.

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If you already have an installation of Azure AD Connect, select the Change user sign-in page in Azure AD Connect, and then select Next. If you are using Azure AD Connect versions 1.1.880.0 or above, the Enable single sign on option will be selected by default. If you are using older versions of Azure AD Connect, select the Enable single sign on option.

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Continue through the wizard until you get to the Enable single sign on page. Provide domain administrator credentials for each Active Directory forest that:

  • You synchronize to Azure AD through Azure AD Connect.
  • Contains users you want to enable for Seamless SSO.

After completion of the wizard, Seamless SSO is enabled on your tenant.

Note

The domain administrator credentials are not stored in Azure AD Connect or in Azure AD. They’re used only to enable the feature.

Follow these instructions to verify that you have enabled Seamless SSO correctly:

  1. Sign in to the Azure Active Directory administrative center with the global administrator credentials for your tenant.
  2. Select Azure Active Directory in the left pane.
  3. Select Azure AD Connect.
  4. Verify that the Seamless single sign-on feature appears as Enabled.

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Important

Seamless SSO creates a computer account named AZUREADSSOACC (which represents Azure AD) in your on-premises Active Directory (AD) in each AD forest. This computer account is needed for the feature to work. Move the AZUREADSSOACC computer account to an Organization Unit (OU) where other computer accounts are stored to ensure that it is managed in the same way and is not deleted.

Step 3: Roll out the feature

You can gradually roll out Seamless SSO to your users using the instructions provided below. You start by adding the following Azure AD URL to all or selected users’ Intranet zone settings by using Group Policy in Active Directory:

  • https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.com

In addition, you need to enable an Intranet zone policy setting called Allow updates to status bar via script through Group Policy.

Note

The following instructions work only for Internet Explorer and Google Chrome on Windows (if it shares a set of trusted site URLs with Internet Explorer). Read the next section for instructions on how to set up Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome on macOS.

Why do you need to modify users’ Intranet zone settings?

By default, the browser automatically calculates the correct zone, either Internet or Intranet, from a specific URL. For example, “http://contoso/” maps to the Intranet zone, whereas “http://intranet.contoso.com/” maps to the Internet zone (because the URL contains a period). Browsers will not send Kerberos tickets to a cloud endpoint, like the Azure AD URL, unless you explicitly add the URL to the browser’s Intranet zone.

There are two ways to modify users’ Intranet zone settings:

Option

Admin consideration

User experience

Group policy

Admin locks down editing of Intranet zone settings

Users cannot modify their own settings

Group policy preference

Admin allows editing on Intranet zone settings

Users can modify their own settings

“Group policy” option – Detailed steps

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Editor tool.
  2. Edit the group policy that’s applied to some or all your users. This example uses Default Domain Policy.
  3. Browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page. Then select Site to Zone Assignment List.

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  1. Enable the policy, and then enter the following values in the dialog box:
    • Value name: The Azure AD URL where the Kerberos tickets are forwarded.
    • Value (Data): 1 indicates the Intranet zone.The result looks like this:Value: https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.comData: 1

Note

If you want to disallow some users from using Seamless SSO (for instance, if these users sign in on shared kiosks), set the preceding values to 4. This action adds the Azure AD URL to the Restricted zone, and fails Seamless SSO all the time.

  1. Select OK, and then select OK again.

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  1. Browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page > Intranet Zone. Then select Allow updates to status bar via script.

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  1. Enable the policy setting, and then select OK.

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“Group policy preference” option – Detailed steps

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Editor tool.
  2. Edit the group policy that’s applied to some or all your users. This example uses Default Domain Policy.
  3. Browse to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry > New > Registry item.

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  1. Enter the following values in appropriate fields and click OK.
    • Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains\microsoftazuread-sso.com\autologon
    • Value name: https.
    • Value type: REG_DWORD.
    • Value data: 00000001.

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  1. Browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page > Intranet Zone. Then select Allow updates to status bar via script.

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  1. Enable the policy setting, and then select OK.

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Browser considerations

Mozilla Firefox (all platforms)

Mozilla Firefox doesn’t automatically use Kerberos authentication. Each user must manually add the Azure AD URL to their Firefox settings by using the following steps:

  1. Run Firefox and enter about:config in the address bar. Dismiss any notifications that you see.
  2. Search for the network.negotiate-auth.trusted-uris preference. This preference lists Firefox’s trusted sites for Kerberos authentication.
  3. Right-click and select Modify.
  4. Enter https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.com in the field.
  5. Select OK and then reopen the browser.

Safari (macOS)

Ensure that the machine running the macOS is joined to AD. Instructions for AD-joining your macOS device is outside the scope of this article.

Google Chrome (all platforms)

If you have overridden the AuthNegotiateDelegateWhitelist or the AuthServerWhitelist policy settings in your environment, ensure that you add Azure AD’s URL (https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.com) to them as well.

Google Chrome (macOS only)

For Google Chrome on Mac OS and other non-Windows platforms, refer to The Chromium Project Policy List for information on how to whitelist the Azure AD URL for integrated authentication.

The use of third-party Active Directory Group Policy extensions to roll out the Azure AD URL to Firefox and Google Chrome on Mac users is outside the scope of this article.

Known browser limitations

Seamless SSO doesn’t work in private browsing mode on Firefox and Edge browsers. It also doesn’t work on Internet Explorer if the browser is running in Enhanced Protected mode.

Step 4: Test the feature

To test the feature for a specific user, ensure that all the following conditions are in place:

  • The user signs in on a corporate device.
  • The device is joined to your Active Directory domain. The device doesn’t need to be Azure AD Joined.
  • The device has a direct connection to your domain controller (DC), either on the corporate wired or wireless network or via a remote access connection, such as a VPN connection.
  • You have rolled out the feature to this user through Group Policy.

To test the scenario where the user enters only the username, but not the password:

  • Sign in to https://myapps.microsoft.com/ in a new private browser session.

To test the scenario where the user doesn’t have to enter the username or the password, use one of these steps:

  • Sign in to https://myapps.microsoft.com/contoso.onmicrosoft.com in a new private browser session. Replace contoso with your tenant’s name.
  • Sign in to https://myapps.microsoft.com/contoso.com in a new private browser session. Replace contoso.com with a verified domain (not a federated domain) on your tenant.

Step 5: Roll over keys

In Step 2, Azure AD Connect creates computer accounts (representing Azure AD) in all the Active Directory forests on which you have enabled Seamless SSO. To learn more, see Azure Active Directory Seamless Single Sign-On: Technical deep dive.

Important

The Kerberos decryption key on a computer account, if leaked, can be used to generate Kerberos tickets for any user in its AD forest. Malicious actors can then impersonate Azure AD sign-ins for compromised users. We highly recommend that you periodically roll over these Kerberos decryption keys – at least once every 30 days.

For instructions on how to roll over keys, see Azure Active Directory Seamless Single Sign-On: Frequently asked questions. We are working on a capability to introduce automated roll over of keys.

Important

You don’t need to do this step immediately after you have enabled the feature. Roll over the Kerberos decryption keys at least once every 30 days.