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Chapter 17. Re-enrolling an IdM client

17.1. Client re-enrollment in IdM

This section describes how to re-enroll an Identity Management (IdM) client.

If a client machine has been destroyed and lost connection with the IdM servers, for example due to the client’s hardware failure, and you still have its keytab, you can re-enroll the client. In this scenario, you want to get the client back in the IdM environment with the same hostname.

During the re-enrollment, the client generates a new Kerberos key and SSH keys, but the identity of the client in the LDAP database remains unchanged. After the re-enrollment, the host has its keys and other information in the same LDAP object with the same FQDN as previously, before the machine’s loss of connection with the IdM servers.


You can only re-enroll clients whose domain entry is still active. If you uninstalled a client (using ipa-client-install --uninstall) or disabled its host entry (using ipa host-disable), you cannot re-enroll it.

You cannot re-enroll a client after you have renamed it. This is because in IdM, the key attribute of the client’s entry in LDAP is the client’s hostname, its FQDN. As opposed to re-enrolling a client, during which the client’s LDAP object remains unchanged, the outcome of renaming a client is that the client has its keys and other information in a different LDAP object with a new FQDN. Thus the only way to rename a client is to uninstall the host from IdM, change the host’s hostname, and install it as an IdM client with a new name. For details on how to rename a client, see Renaming IdM client systems.

What happens during client re-enrollment

During re-enrollment, IdM:

  • Revokes the original host certificate
  • Creates new SSH keys
  • Generates a new keytab

17.2. Re-enrolling a client by using user credentials: Interactive re-enrollment

This procedure describes re-enrolling an Identity Management (IdM) client interactively by using the credentials of an authorized user.

  1. Re-create the client machine with the same host name.
  2. Run the ipa-client-install --force-join command on the client machine:

    # ipa-client-install --force-join
  3. The script prompts for a user whose identity will be used to re-enroll the client. This could be, for example, a hostadmin user with the Enrollment Administrator role:

    User authorized to enroll computers: hostadmin
    Password for hostadmin@EXAMPLE.COM:

Additional resources

17.3. Re-enrolling a client by using the client keytab: Non-interactive re-enrollment


  • Back up the original client keytab file, for example in the /tmp or /root directory.


This procedure describes re-enrolling an Identity Management (IdM) client non-interactively by using the keytab of the client system. For example, re-enrollment using the client keytab is appropriate for an automated installation.

  1. Re-create the client machine with the same host name.
  2. Copy the keytab file from the backup location to the /etc/ directory on the re-created client machine.
  3. Use the ipa-client-install utility to re-enroll the client, and specify the keytab location with the --keytab option:

    # ipa-client-install --keytab /etc/krb5.keytab

    The keytab specified in the --keytab option is only used when authenticating to initiate the enrollment. During the re-enrollment, IdM generates a new keytab for the client.

17.4. Testing an IdM client

The command-line interface informs you that the ipa-client-install was successful, but you can also do your own test.

To test that the Identity Management (IdM) client can obtain information about users defined on the server, check that you are able to resolve a user defined on the server. For example, to check the default admin user:

[user@client ~]$ id admin
uid=1254400000(admin) gid=1254400000(admins) groups=1254400000(admins)

To test that authentication works correctly, su to a root user from a non-root user:

[user@client ~]$ su -
Last login: Thu Oct 18 18:39:11 CEST 2018 from on pts/0
[root@client ~]#