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Windows 7 Home to Domain?

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June 29, 2009 5:20:48 PM

This is a little 'unclear' in the comparison chart.

Windows 7 Pro includes "Domain Join" so does that mean you won't be able to join Home Premium machines to a domain and will only be able to use workgroups? Or is that just a 'different' way to join it to the domain, with the ability to do that still in all versions of 7?

My spouse and I are both IT professionals, and are looking to go to Win7 at home... and the Home pricetag is much more friendly for 5 PCs than the Pro price tag... but since we run a DC at home, we need to be able to join our machines to it. We don't NEED anything that Pro/Ultimate have to offer... except this one pesky question I'm not finding an answer to.

This is probably a dumb question, but like so many people, we skipped right over Vista, and have always run XP Pro at home.

More about : windows home domain

a b $ Windows 7
June 29, 2009 5:37:15 PM

From what I've read, you can't connect either of the home versions to a domain, but I can't remember where I've read this, so I'm afraid I can't link you up.
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June 29, 2009 5:58:03 PM

No you can't join a home edition of XP, Vista or 7 to a domain.
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June 29, 2009 7:51:37 PM

I was afraid of that... with the way they were pushing 2008 Home Server, I'm surprised this 7 Home Premium wouldn't allow connection to a DC.

Then again, I've been assuming that 2008 Home Server was DC enabled (only ever worked with the business server end of things)
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June 29, 2009 10:04:36 PM

From what it looks like "home group" is just another way of saying "workgroup"... at least it looked that way the brief second I looked at it.
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June 30, 2009 5:05:21 AM

Just has a quick look into "home group" and you create the group on one PC and the other ones join it (a little bit like a DC) rather than just typing in the same workgroup name.
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October 27, 2009 8:50:05 PM

According to the following article XP home Unlike Pro is NOT able to join a Domain but you can still access data on a Windows 2000 Domain server : http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/wxp...

I'm guessing Windows 7 can still access shared files on a domain server in the same way perhaps?
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a b $ Windows 7
October 27, 2009 8:54:21 PM

Yes, that should be the case. You are able to log on to the domain when accessing it's shares, but you cannot join the computer to the domain.
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January 26, 2010 1:01:44 AM

I just got in my new HP laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium for home/personal use - and was initially dismayed that I couldn't find our main print server/network server in our home. I could easily connect to the network, find the modem. I read this and started to think "Dang, I got the wrong OS".. but I just figured it out. I went to Computer (Formerly My Computer), right-clicked, and selected properties so now I'm seeing the system properties. Down the screen where it shows the computer name, etc, I clicked to Change Settings and was able to change the workgroup from the default WORKGROUP to our work group (Uses the old default name of MSHOME) I am now able to see the print server/network and the printer. Now I just need to download the correct drivers for my printer... but I can now see it :-)
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January 27, 2010 1:50:46 PM

I too just got an HP Laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium installed. I run 2003 SBS at home with a DC. I was surpised to see that the HP Laptop was able to connect to my LAN's printers and was able to 'see' all the LAN files and folders, even without having to log in to the domain. How is that possible? I bought the Windows 7 Pro upgrade, but now I am wondering if I wasted my money on the upgrade, because I may not need it after all. Did I waste my money?
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March 4, 2010 8:09:40 PM

yes, you wasted your money. Windows 7 Home Premium can't "join" a domain but only means that the computer can not be centrally managed using Group Policies and Active Directory. However, it has no affect on whether you can use LAN files and printers. Microsoft is trying to upsell everyone who is "networking" into buying the Professional edition. But like XP, the home edition works find if you just want to share files and printers. If you want to control password expirations, block screen saver access, or control who can log on to which machines and during which hours, then by all means, go with Professional. But if you want to surf the web, create some documents, and twitter, don't worry about it.

Ron from Maine
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March 4, 2010 8:27:00 PM

Yes, that's what I found out after the fact. However, the other thing I may have found out that I really needed is MS Exchange for Outlook Mail, which I currently run from SBS 2003 Server. My other dilemma is that my family (and myself for that matter) wants all the flexibility in the world wanting to log in to any of our 8 PC's and laptops and receive and send e-mails from any computer. I believe that I need Windows 7 Professional in order to log in into the DC to be able to do that with MS Outlook. Am I right?

Thanks,
Eduardo
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a b $ Windows 7
March 4, 2010 9:00:49 PM

Yes, you are correct... if you NEED to join the domain, then you NEED at least the Professional edition. You could also opt for the Ultimate edition, but the extra features probably aren't worth the extra money for you. Another thing is that I remember XP Home being limited to networks of 5 PCs or less... if that limitation still exists in Windows 7, then you'll also need Pro.

Since you have so many computers... a TechNet subscription might be the way to go. It will probably be cheaper than buying copies of Windows for all those machines and you get to try out things much earlier than the general public. Definately something to consider.

Of course, the whole thing seems like overkill to me for a home network. Of course if you have the time and the expertise... that does make a huge difference. Having 8 computers probably would be motivation enough for me to learn... but since I only have 2 it would be a waste of time.
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March 25, 2010 6:41:36 PM

rscme2003 said:
yes, you wasted your money. Windows 7 Home Premium can't "join" a domain but only means that the computer can not be centrally managed using Group Policies and Active Directory. However, it has no affect on whether you can use LAN files and printers. Microsoft is trying to upsell everyone who is "networking" into buying the Professional edition. But like XP, the home edition works find if you just want to share files and printers. If you want to control password expirations, block screen saver access, or control who can log on to which machines and during which hours, then by all means, go with Professional. But if you want to surf the web, create some documents, and twitter, don't worry about it.

Ron from Maine


How do you get Win7 Home to access a domain's shared files and folders?
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a b $ Windows 7
March 29, 2010 4:36:58 PM

When you attempt to access a network share, Windows should prompt you for a domain username and password. Once you enter this information, you should have access to the domain's shares. For example when you type into the Run box:
\\server\sharedfoldername and hit enter, you should get that username and password prompt.
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April 13, 2010 6:24:27 PM

I'm currently using the limited starter edition, which is fine for home use (which I suspect is why MS has imposed such heavy restrictions on the types of machines it can arrive pre-installed on) but also need to connect to our school network to access the photocopier and shared internet connection.

Currently, I can access any computer on the network, and I can see the photocopier, but I can't access the internet connection or actually print to the photocopier.

Our internet is provided wirelessly, but is routed through the server and that doesn't seem to like anythng that isn't plugged directly into its 'domain'

I have had a go at finding a simple way to add this computer from the server side of the relationship; but no joy.

Like many, the 'features' in Pro are overkill for me - all I need is a version of Windows that will happily access the networks shared resources, rather than just the files it contains.

I can't work out whether this thread says that's possible with Home Premium or not...

Quote:
But if you want to surf the web, create some documents, and twitter, don't worry about it.
suggests that it IS, but
Quote:
Yes, you are correct... if you NEED to join the domain, then you NEED at least the Professional edition.
suggests that Pro is the only solution.

Can anyone clarify this?

I'd obviously prefer to avoid paying for the features of Pro, knowing that I will use a tiny percentage of them. Ideally, there'd be a patch that would allow starter edition to connect... but I can't see that happening.

Of course, I could just strip windows 7 off my netbook and install XP... but that seems to defeat the purpose of the ... well, everything.

... the funny thing is, that I actually got the netbook with the simple intention of trialling them as replacements for our aging school desktop units; I am so impressed that I'd quite like to replace my bulky laptop with it.

If they can't even connect to the school network out of the box though, they aren't going to be particularly fit for either purpose... :pt1cable: 

(edit: The ODD thing is that we had 30 linux based eepc's on loan a year or so ago, and they connected to the wireless internet without any issues at all... I wonder if there is something else in the way.)
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a b $ Windows 7
April 28, 2010 3:14:20 PM

Do your computers need to join the domain in order to access the internet? If so, then you have your answer... Pro is the only solution. You cannot join a domain with Starter or Home Premium. However, if you have access to a machine with Home Premium, I'd be interested to know if you can get internet access with it... as I've never heard of having to be joined to a domain to access the internet.

One school I went to had a bunch of Dell netbooks (one of which I was there to repair) and they were preloaded with Win 7 Pro... it's an option you might want to consider. Starter just isn't what you'd call "feature rich". While you may not use many of the features of Pro, it's your only choice if you need to join to the domain.

What is happening when you try to connect them to the wireless?
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May 11, 2010 3:17:59 PM

As far as I can tell, to use the internet connection and printers on the server we need to be linked into the domain - which as you've pointed out can't be done with starter.

However, it DOES connect to the wireless network within the school without any issues and I can access files on the server.

The wireless notification icon shows 'connected but without internet access'. As you've pointed out though, it does seem rather odd. However, our internet connection comes through a cache box which sits beside the server, and we have to use a proxy for all connections within school, so it might be conflicts with aspects of that setup, rather than a specific lockout. We struggle to get adobe updates using their current download interface through it, as well as quicktime video, for some reason.

I keep meaning to try it through the Linux based Splashtop on my netbook, but haven't had time to sit down and tap the wireless details into it yet. As I said, our earlier explorations with EEPc's didn't show any connectivity problems, so I think it's worth exploring that.

As a simple workaround I now leave my XP laptop in the classroom, work on the netbook at home, and effectively use it as a big USB stick with a screen. I come in in the morning, switch them both on and then just use shared folders to get at everything I've prepared at home. Obviously not the cleanest solution, but it works...

For the school, we're currently looking at pricing on Fizzbook Spin's, which look to be a good buy if we can get them cheaply in bulk; although we're clearly going to have to get them pre-installed with Pro which ups the unit price by £70.
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May 11, 2010 3:34:56 PM

Addendum:

I'm typing this through the Spalshtop connection, through the school internet connection.

So It's obviously something in the Windows 7 settings, or a hardwired lockout linked to internet via a domain... will need to probe a bit more, I think.
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a b $ Windows 7
May 11, 2010 11:03:20 PM

Compugirl,

You cannot join Windows 7 Home Premium computers to a domain. Domain access is only for Windows 7 and above.

Should you require additional assistance and guidance, Microsoft does have an official Windows 7 Support Forum located here http://tinyurl.com/9fhdl5 . It is supported by product specialists as well as engineers and support teams.

Jessica
Microsoft Windows Client Team
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May 21, 2010 3:52:38 AM

If you're using windows server 2003 or below, you just need to include and entry in the registry to connect:

1. Access HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
2. Create a new DWORD entry (if it does not exist) named LmCompatibilityLevel
3. Modify this entry and change the value to 1
4. Reboot

We're able to connect to our server in the office using Windows 7 Home Basic and Home Premium, its a fact.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 4, 2010 2:13:14 PM

Connecting to a server isn't the issue... it's connecting to a domain. You can easily file share with a server and Home editions of Windows; it's the connecting to a domain that is exclusive to Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise.
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June 4, 2010 2:15:17 PM

meekiah said:
If you're using windows server 2003 or below, you just need to include and entry in the registry to connect:

1. Access HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
2. Create a new DWORD entry (if it does not exist) named LmCompatibilityLevel
3. Modify this entry and change the value to 1
4. Reboot

We're able to connect to our server in the office using Windows 7 Home Basic and Home Premium, its a fact.


Dos this regisrty entry need to be made on the server
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a b $ Windows 7
June 4, 2010 2:59:56 PM

I haven't had to make any registry changes... we run Server 2003 R2 and Windows 7 Pro at the office. Win 7 home is also able to connect to our file shares... just not the domain.
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June 9, 2010 3:25:55 PM

I'm using Windows 7 starter and would like to connect to file shares on a Server 2003 network.

I gather from above that I could do this (though not really join the domain) with 7 Home, but it's not working for me with 7 starter. Am I just doing something wrong, or do I need to upgrade to 7 Home?

I changed my workgroup name to the name of the Domain and am using a username/password that exists on the domain. I even added a computer in Active Directory with the same name.

I can see all the computers on the network, but if I try to connect to any I get an error saying invalid username and password. It appears to be using the computer name, not the workgroup name, as the domain.

UPDATE: I've succeeded. I thought I had already tried this, but here's what I just did to connect with Win 7 starter:
1.) Change the computer name on your Windows 7 starter machine to the name of your domain. Your workgroup name doesn't seem to matter. I just left mine as 'WORKGROUP'. I don't know if it matters, but I also didn't add anything for a dns suffix.

Actually, that's pretty much it. From there it works fine. If you're using a username/pwd that exists in your Active Directory, you can connect to network shares normally. Otherwise, you'll have to provide a valid username/pwd.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 9, 2010 6:26:50 PM

I should have thought of that... if it was putting the computer name in automatically and you couldn't change it, then name the computer the same name as the domain. Of course, the problem is that this only works for one computer... since each computer must have a unique network name. There has to be a way to do this without renaming the computer...
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June 10, 2010 7:36:23 PM

It does seem like there should be a better way.

On the up side, this would work for multiple computers. When I'm connected to the server with my netbook, the server just lists an internal IP as computer name. So, I imagine there wouldn't be a conflict with multiple connections (though I haven't tried it yet).

Still, it does seem awfully slapdash.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 21, 2010 6:20:44 AM

I believe Meekiah's registry modification should do the trick.
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July 21, 2010 1:46:14 PM

Guys.

There is "NO WAY" to join any Domain using any of the HOME usage Windows software. To join domains, you may need - no matter what!!! - any kind of XP Professional, Vista Prof or Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional ou Ultimate. Starters or home edition are useless for that purpose.

HOWEVER (NOTE, HOWEVER ONLY) you may "use and join the usage" of a company network using any kind of Starters or Home Windows. Here is the tricky part: When you were using XP Home, you could just modify one or two registry keys and the XP would operate as Professional, 'cause the kernel of XP home and prof are the same. Be carefull: this registry modification will guide you to use a non-registrered XP Copy, since this is a hack. Note that I´m not showing how to do it.

If you are planning to use either Vista or 7 home/starter, AS LONG as your username and password on the home edition match the domain controller, you will probably don´t face any problem at all.

Lets pick an example: yourdomain\yourusername and yourpassword.
If you use on yourhomexp\yourusername and yourpassword (SAME ONES) the DC will grant you access to the network shares "IF AND IF ONLY" the networkshares have full access to anyone. If the networkshares have AUTHENTICATED USERS access only, it will ask you ONCE and only ONCE for a domain username and password.

Regarding Internet Access, there is no problem at all. Beware that using a GroupPolicy, the SysAdmin may enter some guidance or modifications to your IExplorer to use a specific Proxy. If you know the proxy policies you can enter them manually on your local IExplorer without any policy.

DOMAINS and DOMAINCONTROLLERS are intended to force, diminish and to guide a lot of Group Policies into corporate computers, which may dramatically decrease IT work. Try to immagine a corpnetwork with 500 PCs using NON-PROFESSIONAL Versions of Windows. IT would mandatorily enter 500 PCs to create any policy, while using DC they need only to apply a single GPO and it is done. REMEMBER: GPOs are for IT Administrative purposes, HOWEVER you can force manually any gpo into your computer locally. The issue here is to use GPOs for AdmPurposes for any company with more than 20 PCs to minor the work. Thats all.

Anything else or different than that could be easily done or made using HOMEs or STARTERs editions. The main differences fomr XP Home to XP Prof. are: ability to join domains, loopback features for developers. Any other changes are minor and does not affect most users.

I personally have home a Windows 2008 R2 as personal home server and all workstations are XP Home with some login scripts for netshares and other things. Why? Just because it looks better for my 3 and 7 year old kids to have their Avatars on the login screen instead of login prompt from domain. Also, on a domain there is no way to have multiple users using the same machine. On Home XP or Home Vista or Home 7, you can leave your session running, hit CHANGE USER and other users may use the machine while your login is still active and running in background, thus is not possible on DOMAIN.

Basically is this: PROFESSIONAL is for companies and IT People, while HOME have basicakky same functions without Domain needs.

Hope this help. Please reply case you need some more help.

Luis Closs
IT Administrator.
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August 5, 2010 6:17:05 PM

Not only will home premium not allow joining a domain, it will also not cosistently allow owa or outlook clients to connect to an exchange server.
xp home would at least do that.
only workaround that we found that worked was a 3rd party vpn client. thus avoiding the microsoft malware that is built into windows 7 home editions.
hth

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August 26, 2010 1:46:47 PM

Hi everybody,
Is this post finally closed and clear or does anyone else need some more info?

Also, closing out this subject, I do understand that it may be possible to connect Windows 7 Home and Outlook to an Exchange Server, HOWEVER, it makes no sence for it. Exchange Servers are widely used by corporations. I´d rather assume that it is much, much more easy to install a Windows 7 Prof. or Ultimate for that need and usage instead of looking for some tweek for Outlook and Exchange. This is like "cheese and guava". They have been made for each other, as "Windows 7 Prof or Ultimate + Outlook + Exchange". Normally I don´t like to find a way out or workaround that would be much more simpler to do by reinstalling a new OS. You may find, discover and face other unrelated problems by such approach. Just as a case, while using an "N-Lite Clean Windows XP", I have faced some problems connecting third party modems and cell phones just because it was so cleaned the XP that the needed stuff were wipped out.

So, keep my suggestion: if a problem has two different solutions, the easiest one seems to be the correct one.

Keep in touch. If someone needs more AD/DC problems.
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a b $ Windows 7
August 26, 2010 3:24:36 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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