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Joining a Windows 7 Computer to an NT 4.0 Domain

Friday, October 28, 2011

If you are looking for a way to join a Windows 7 computer to a legacy NT 4.0 domain, get ready for some bad news. Windows 7 cannot join an NT 4.0 domain. It’s not supported by Microsoft even if you could.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2-based computers cannot be joined to a Windows NT 4.0 SP6A domain. There are no workarounds for this behavior. There is a work-around for Windows Vista and 2008, but it is not supported. To work around this problem for Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, create the computer account in the Windows NT 4.0 domain before you join the Windows Vista-based client computer to the domain. Again, this is not supported by Microsoft, but is an option.

When you try to join a Windows Vista-based computer, a Windows 7-based computer, or a Windows Server 2008 R2-based computer to a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 domain, you may receive the following error messages:

  • The following error occurred attempting to join the domain domainname:
  • Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password
  • The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted

This summary applies specifically to:

  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

If you are still running a Windows NT 4.0 domain, it may finally be time for you to get that directory upgraded.

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