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Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain

In some cases you want to connect a client computer to the Windows Server Essentials domain without actually joining it to the domain because it is already joined to another domain or you just want to stay in ‘workgroup’ mode. Remember that if you do this common stuff that works if joined to a domain like Group Policies and Folder Redirection will not work.

The procedure in this tutorial is done on Windows 10 Pro client and NOT on the server.
  1. Right click the Start Menu and choose Command Prompt (Admin)
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  2. Accept the UAC warning
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  3. Run this on the Windows 10 Pro Client reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\ClientDeployment" /v SkipDomainJoin /t REG_DWORD /d 1
    reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Server\ClientDeployment" /v SkipDomainJoin /t REG_DWORD /d 1
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  4. Skip this step if your server is a Windows Server Essentials 2016 and run the Connector from http://servername/connect. Only for WSE 2012 R2: You will need to install the updated Connector first from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40285 and run it from the Start Menu as shown in the screenshot.
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  5. Accept the UAC warning and click Yes.
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  6. It has found our server and click Next
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  7. Use the domain admin credentials for this and click Next.
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  8. You can optionally give the computer a name.
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  9. Make a choice for backing up the computer.
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  10. Finish
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain
  11. The computer is still bound to a workgroup and the little console is installed.
    Connect computers to a Windows Server Essentials server without joining the domain

About www.server-essentials.com 

www.server-essentials.com is founded by Mariette Knap, a Dutch Microsoft MVP. www.server-essentials.com is a community for IT Consultants and Business Owners who, themselves, take care of the IT infrastructure and Employees who do that little extra in the company to keep things running. Our forum is for discussing all things ‘IT’ and more.  Our documentation is top notch and written by and for the community.

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