Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

After installing a Windows Server and configuring the initial settings, one of the first steps that will be needed is to become a member server, ie to join it in the local Active Directory environment. This can be done either through the GUI or using PowerShell / SConfig for the Core version of Windows Server.

Of course, before you start troubleshooting why you can not complete such an easy process, it is a good idea to know what are the basic prerequisites for joining a computer in the domain. Hint: Check the DNS server settings.

Also, before proceeding, it is a good idea to change the name of the server so that you can identify it more easily in your environment.

Windows Server 2016 AD domain join using the GUI

Open the Server Manager window and go to the Local Server section. Here, click Workgroup.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

In the window that appears, click the Change button.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

Then, in the Member of section, enable the Domain option, type the domain name of your local Active Directory, and click OK.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

You will then be prompted to enter the login information of a domain user who has the right to include the server in the domain, such as the domain administrator.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

The corresponding successful domain login message will be displayed. At this point, you will be prompted, and it is a good idea not to skip it, to restart the server to complete the process.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

Windows Server 2016 AD domain join using PowerShell

Open a PowerShell window with administrator rights and type the following command by changing DomainName to yours and DomainUser with a domain user account.

Add-Computer -DomainName DomainName -Credential DomainUser

For example, the command would look something like this:

Add-Computer -DomainName meraki.edu -Credential Meraki\Administrator

After the command runs, you will need to type the user’s password and then restart the machine to complete the process. Since you have the PowerShell window open, use the Restart-Computer cmdlet to do so immediately.

Windows Server 2016 AD domain join using SConfig

Type sconfig at the command prompt or PowerShell to enter the Server Configuration environment.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

Type 1 to begin the domain registration process.

Type D to continue.

Type the Active Directory domain name.

Type the user who has the right to join the server in the domain. Once you press Enter you will be prompted to enter the password.

You will also be prompted to change the computer name if desired.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

That’s it! Once you join it in the domain, you will be then prompted to restart the server to complete the process.

Join Windows Server 2016 to an Active Directory domain

About Dimitris Tonias 143 Articles
My name is Dimitris Tonias, IT Pro, G(r)eek, focused on Server, Virtualization, and Cloud technologies.

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