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How To Skip Domain Joining for Server 2012 Essentials Clients

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In Server 2012 Essentials, clients were required to join the Server 2012 Essentials domain, which can be a real issue for some users.  Microsoft posted a workaround; we bring you details.

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One of the major complaints about Server 2012 Essentials from WHS/WHS2011 users has been the requirement that clients join the Server 2012 Essentials domain.  Well, Microsoft has published a workaround, although it does remove some functionality.  Here is what was posted:

This post describes a tempory solution that allows client computers to connect to Windows Server 2012 Essentials without joining the Windows Server 2012 Essentials domain. Please read the following Notes carefully before you take any actions.

Description

When deploying Pro/Enterprise/Ultimate Windows client computers in a Windows Server 2012 Essentials network, joining the Windows Server 2012 Essentials domain is mandatory. If the client computer is already joined to another domain, you are required to manually leave the existing domain; otherwise, the client deployment process will be blocked.

Currently we have received requests from customers asking for the option to skip domain joining in a client deployment. As a result, in this article we provide a solution so that the client can connect to the server and utilize the majority of client features without joining the domain.

Before you take any action, please read the following note.

Note:

If you skip joining the domain, the following areas will be impacted:

    • All features that require that you be joined to the domain will not be available, including domain credentials, Group Policy, and VPN.
    • Any third-party add-ons and applications that require that you join the domain will not be working properly.
    • Skipping domain joining in an off-premises client deployment is not supported.
    • This solution is only supported on the following Windows client versions:
      • Windows 7 Professional
      • Windows 7 Enterprise
      • Windows 7 Ultimate
      • Windows 8 Pro
      • Windows 8 Enterprise

To skip joining the domain during a client deployment

  1. On your client computer, go to Start and search for command prompt “cmd“.
  2. In the search results, find cmd.exe and run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command prompt:
    reg add “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\ClientDeployment” /v SkipDomainJoin /t REG_DWORD /d 1
  4. Complete the steps on the Connect Computers to the Server Help topic.

This is good news!  If you plan on implementing Server 2012 Essentials, you now have a choice to join clients to the domain.

Technet Posting
Jim McCarthy
My tech interests include WHS, media streaming, and gaming, among others!

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