Windows Server 2012 Essentials – How to Skip Domain Join to Install the Client Connector


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The Essentials Experience Role on Server 2012 provides (amongst other things) full client backup and restore capabilities – much like the now discontinued Windows Home Server. However, on Server 2012 joining the domain is mandatory for clients.

There is a workaround and it is possible to connect clients to the server without joining the domain – simply enter the following command in an elevated command prompt:

reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\ClientDeployment" /v SkipDomainJoin /t REG_DWORD /d 1

Below is a registry file that produces the same result:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; ##############################################################
; Skip Domain Join on Server 2012 R2 - Windows Server Essentials
; ##############################################################

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\ClientDeployment]
"SkipDomainJoin"=dword:00000001

We can now Connect Computers to the Server without joining the domain.

Note that domain features will not be available for clients that connect to the server in this way. This is only supported on Windows 7 & 8 (Professional and above).

Sources:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/aa40963c-7235-40f7-85f5-8f8d030a7c13/how-to-skip-domain-joining-during-client-deployment-in-a-windows-server-2012-essentials-network?forum=winserveressentials

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2 thoughts on “Windows Server 2012 Essentials – How to Skip Domain Join to Install the Client Connector

  1. Michael, I have replaced a WinServer 2003 Std server with a WinServer 2012 R2 Foundation server, and would like to NOT use the domain option. I simply need to “join” (map drives successfully) to this server from two Win7 Home Premium (HP), one Vista HP, and (still) one WinXP SP3 desktop PCs in a small office environment. After reading the posts, I am unclear if this registry entry will work for me, AND is this done on the server, OR desktops? Thanks for your help!!

    1. Hi Bert, this is a tweak for the client machines so that they can connect to the server without joining a domain. It will only work for Windows 7 and 8 Professional and above.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

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