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Joining New Wireless Computers to the Domain

Published: September 1, 2010

Updated: October 4, 2010

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows XP

The easiest method to join new wireless computers that are running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP to the domain is to physically attach the computer to a segment of the wired LAN (a segment not controlled by an 802.1X switch) before joining the computer to the domain. This is easiest because wireless group Policy settings are automatically and immediately applied and, if you have deployed your own PKI, the computer receives the CA certificate and stores it in the Trusted Root Certification Authorities certificate store, allowing the wireless client to trust NPS servers with server certs issued by your CA.

Likewise, after a new wireless computer is joined to the domain, the preferred method for users to log on to the domain is to perform log on by using a wired connection.

Computers running Windows Vista

In cases where it is not practical to join computers running Windows Vista to the domain by using a wired Ethernet connection, or in cases where the user cannot log on to the domain for the first time by using a wired connection, you must use an alternative method. This guide provides the following alternative methods to configure profiles that allow users to join computers to the domain and then log on, or log on to the domain by using a wireless connection:

  • Method 1. A member of the IT staff joins a wireless computer running Windows Vista to the domain and configures a Single Sign On bootstrap wireless profile. In this method, the IT administrator connects the wireless computer to the wired Ethernet network and joins the computer to the domain. Then the administrator distributes the computer to the user. When the user starts the computer without using a wired connection, the domain credentials that they manually specify for the user logon are used to both establish a connection to the wireless network and to log on to the domain.

    For more information, see Join the Domain and Log On by using Wireless Method 1.

  • Method 2. The user manually configures the wireless computer running Windows Vista with bootstrap wireless profile and joins the domain based on instructions from an IT administrator. The bootstrap wireless profile allows the user to establish a wireless connection and then join the domain. After joining the computer to the domain and restarting the computer, the user can log on to the domain by using a wireless connection and their domain account credentials.

    For more information, see Join the Domain and Log On by using Wireless Method 2.

Computers running Windows XP

In cases where it is not practical to either join computers running Windows XP to the domain by using a wired Ethernet connection or the user cannot log on to the domain for the first time by using a wired connection, you must manually configure a connection profile. This guide provides the following alternative methods to configure a profile that allows users to join computers running Windows XP to the domain by using a wireless connection, and then log on to the domain by using a wireless connection:

  • Method 3. The user manually configures the properties of the wireless connection in Network Connections on the wireless computer running Windows XP, based on instructions from an IT administrator. The configuration allows the user to establish a wireless connection and then join the domain. After the computer is joined to the domain and restarted, the user can log on to the domain by using a wireless connection and their domain account credentials. For more information, see Join the Domain and Log On by using Wireless Method 3.

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