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I have a problem with a Windows 7 PC that had been a member of the domain. When I try to logon to this PC with domain credentials I get a message similar to

The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain could not be established.

Now I need to reestablish the membership of the PC in the domain. But since I can't logon I can't change neither the computer name nor the domain membership.

  • How can I re-trust PC and domain?
  • Can I add or renew the membership from the domain controllers console?


There are no active local accounts on the machine that I could use to logon.

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Do you have access to AD UC? –  Tanner Feb 21 '13 at 15:23
Access to what? I assume: AD=active directory UC=?? But: Yes, I have administrative rights to the domain. –  harper Feb 21 '13 at 15:33

7 Answers 7

Stop fighting with this problem from the client side. If you can't log in to the domain, you're either going to have to log in with an enabled local account, or use a boot CD to enable one.

Try removing the machine from Active Directory Users and Computers. It should be in the Administrative Tools on your server. Open the OU (organizational unit) that contains the computer. Find the computer, right click on it, and hit delete.

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It might not hurt to be patient and just let replication do its thing, depending on how many DCs you have. If your domain is pretty simple (no sites and just two DCs) you could use repadmin /replicate to force replication. Give this a read before doing so.

Now add the PC again using AD UC and either wait for replication or force it.

If it still whines at you, give netdom /remove a try (man page here) and see if that will get it off your domain. If you have trouble with that, take a look at this question. It's a different scenario but essentially the same concept: trying to remove a computer from a domain when it can't contact the DC.

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This will delete the PC from the domain, won't it? How do I use the domain authentication to logon at the PC when it is not a domain member anymore? Can't I add it with ADUC? –  harper Feb 21 '13 at 17:00
You're right. Hadn't had my coffee yet... –  Tanner Feb 21 '13 at 17:08

You may have to log in using credentials that are local to that machine. When the OS was first installed, there is a local account that is set up.

Log in with that account using the Computer Name as the domain (ex. MYCOMP\JSmith). Usually the local machine administrator account is present but disabled by default.

Once you are logged in as a local user, you should be able to leave and rejoin the domain.

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Leaving and re-entering the domain is the preferred fix to this. However, sometimes it just doesn't work and you'll also need to change your computer name if Active Directory doesn't understand the change for whatever reason. –  Lee Harrison Feb 21 '13 at 14:28
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It's only possible to add the PC when you have the administrators rights at the PC and the right to change the DC.

Therefore it is necessary to reset the administrators password at the PC. One way to perform this task is the use of the installation DVD and use the repair console. This allows you to regain the full control.

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At first try to log in with Administrator (Computer name\Administrator), then unjoin domain to WorkGroup then reboot.Now your PC is in WorkGrup as local account. Now try to join domain again.(Right click on My computer->Property->Change->Doamin->Ex Fu-com.com -> Then it will as administrator password for Server then enter user name as administrator and then password. then reboot your computer. Now your computer is in domain try to login with you User ID and password.

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Please read before post. The last sentence (after Edit) shows that I can't use local accounts. –  harper Jan 18 at 13:26

This trick comes to be via my Active Directory study group. I suggest that everyone join a usergroup and/or a study group. It’s not that we don’t know AD, it’s that we forget or miss new features. A refresher course is fun too.

Occasionally a computer will come “disjoined” from the domain. The symptoms can be that the computer can’t login when connected to the network, message that the computer account has expired, the domain certificate is invalid, etc. These all stem from the same problem and that is that the secure channel between the computer and domain is hosed. (that’s a technical term. Smile )

The classic way to fix this problem is to unjoin and rejoin the domain. Doing so is kind of a pain because it requires a couple of reboots and the user profile isn’t always reconnected. Ewe. Further if you had that computer in any groups or assigned specific permissions to it those are gone because now your computer has a new SID, so the AD doesn’t see it as the same machine anymore. You’ll have to recreate all of that stuff from the excellent documentation that you’ve been keeping. Uh, huh, your excellent documentation. Double Ewe.

Instead of doing that we can just reset the secure channel. There are a couple of ways do this:

In AD right click the computer and select Reset Account. Then re-join without un-joining the computer to the domain. Reboot required. In an elevated command prompt type: dsmod computer “Computer DN” – reset. Then re-join without un-joining the computer to the domain. Reboot required. In an elevated command prompt type: netdom reset MachineName /domain DomainName /User0 UserName /Password0 {Password | *} The account whose credentials you provided must be a member of the local administrators group. No rejoin. No reboot. In an elevate command prompt type: nltest /Server:ServerName /SC_Reset:DomainDomainController No rejoin. No reboot.

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The only solution, if you have a PC / Server Trust issue, (after reset, recreate on DC, etc.) to resolve it without any restore!

Disable all NICS, so it can't verify the trust relationship with the logon DC. Then login with a previously logged in administrator level domain account (must reside in local PC Administrators Groups) that was previously logged in i.e. to leverage the cached credentials. My Problem was I moved a W7 VM from prod to a test lab, and anticipated a trust to be broken, however not that i was not able to login with Local admin / user accounts, or even with the "old domains" cached credentials.

Disable the NIC's and cached credentials works, then you can rejoin to domain with netdom join.

If you run out of cached Credentials tries (depends on local OS Policies / GPO - up to 50), do a system restore to a previous days, this will work, too.

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I have had this happen and what worked for me is to log in on admin account and re add to workgroup, then re add to domain after that.

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There are no active local accounts on the machine that I could use to logon. This answer is also similar to the accepted answer. –  Rsya Studios Nov 28 '14 at 23:43

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