[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of JoAnn McKimpson from the SBS Marketing Team]
Easily and Securely Add Computers to Your Domain Network by Using Domain Join
These days, we’re all focused on how to do more with less. In this blog, we’ve covered quite a few ways that you can save time and money by using the great new features included in Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS) 2008 and in Windows 7. Today, we’ll focus on how you can use Windows SBS 2008 and Windows 7 Professional to create a network that makes it easy to manage your computers and user accounts.
If you have a small business with only five employees, you could buy a laptop that runs Windows 7 Home Premium for each of your employees and not network them. However, with this setup, you would have to manage each computer separately. Alternatively, if you purchased a laptop that runs Windows 7 Professional for each employee and a Windows SBS 2008 server, you could use Domain Join to add each user to the domain and then manage the entire domain from one intuitive console.
When your users are joined to the domain, you’ll get:
- Centralized network administration. A centralized view of the entire network from any computer on the network provides the ability to track and manage information about users, groups, and resources in a distributed network. This single point of administration for multiple servers simplifies the management of workstations and servers, such as installing patches and upgrading applications.
- Single sign-on for resource access. A user needs only one account and password to use multiple network resources, such as file shares and databases. As an administrator, you can provide discretionary access to these resources for individual users and groups.
- Group Policy and certificate autoenrollment. Administrators can manage Domain Join clients through Group Policy. By joining the domain, your clients can take advantage of the prefabricated Group Policy objects that are available on every Windows SBS 2008 installation. Group policies provide not only fine-grained management of settings on the computers but also a rich set of controls to apply specific policies to specific sets of computers.
- Application publishing. IT administrators can publish applications to the domain. Users who are joined to the domain can then search for and install the applications from a single location. This saves time remembering file server names and shares or requesting the administrators’ help.
- Device sharing. Users can search for printers, fax machines, and other devices that have been published in Active Directory.
As you can see, thanks to Windows SBS 2008 and Windows 7 Professional, Domain Join can drastically ease the pain of connecting computers and devices to your company’s domain.
Although you can connect your own computer to the domain manually, adding a computer by using Domain Join saves time and ensures correct setup. Before using Domain Join there are a few prerequisites that must be met. First, make sure you have completed the Internet Connection Wizard and the Internet Address Wizard. Next, make sure that the most recent SBS 2008 Update Rollup, currently Windows SBS 2008 Update Rollup 4 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/979454), is installed. Once you’ve installed the update rollup, run the easy-to-use wizards to add a new user account and computer. The user can now join the domain with only the name of the local domain and a valid user account on the domain. The entire process takes only a few minutes.
Add a New User Account
Let’s say you’re the IT administrator at a small financial firm. You know that Kim, a new hire, will be starting work tomorrow. You want to get her set up so that she can be productive on her first day, so you create a new user account for her.
To create a new user account, follow these steps:
- Browse to the Users and Groups tab.
- In the Tasks pane, click Add a new user account.
- Fill in the fields with the appropriate user information, and then click Next.
- Provide the password for the new user, and then click Add User Account.
- Click Finish.
A confirmation screen is displayed:
Kim’s user account has been created, so all that remains is to add her computer to the domain.
Add a Computer
To add Kim’s computer to the domain, follow these steps:
- Log on to the computer.
- Start Internet Explorer, and then visit https://connect.
- Click Start Connect Computer Program.
- Click Run.
- Click Yes if you are prompted by User Account Control.
- Click Set up this computer for other users.
- Click Next.
- Enter your network administrator user name and password, and then click Next.
- Provide a name and a description for the new computer, and then click Next.
- Select the user who you want to assign to this computer, click Add, and then click Next. For this example, select Kim.
- Click Next again.
Note: During this step, if Kim was an existing employee in a Workgroup environment, you could choose to migrate her local profile (user settings and files) to her new domain profile.
- Assign local administrator permissions for Kim as needed, and then click Next.
- Confirm Kim’s data and permission selections, and then click Next.
- Click Restart to complete the wizard.
Now that Kim has a user account and is joined to the domain, you can give her access to your printer and fax machine.
To share the printer or fax machine on the network, follow these steps:
- Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Printers.
- Right-click Fax, click Run as administrator, and then click Sharing.
- Click to select the Share this printer check box, accept or type Fax in the Share name box, and then click OK.
Tomorrow morning, Kim will be ready to start work with a computer that is connected to the domain and that is ready to print or send and receive faxes. This will help her be successful on her first day of work and will minimize the time you have to spend getting her up to speed.
Thanks to the Domain Join feature in Windows SBS 2008, you can provide your users with secure access to resources on your Windows SBS 2008 server. The intuitive wizards help you get set up quickly so that you can focus on what’s important: running your business.
For information about managing user accounts and computers, read the following TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc794289(WS.10).aspx
For more information about how Windows SBS 2008 and Windows 7 Professional are better together, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
For information about a trial version of Windows SBS 2008, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/trial-software.aspx
For a test drive of Windows 7 Professional, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/business/windows-7-test-drive/