The company that I work for continuously hires new people, and I'm the one who has to go and purchase new computers. The majority of them, if not all, come pre-installed with Windows Home editions. I'm noticing that the Windows 7/8 Home editions are unable to connect to domains. I'm having to buy the upgrades to the Pro editions. I'm trying to understand as to why the Home edition of the OS is unable to connect to domains?

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    Because its not a feature of that version of Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8?
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 17:25
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    If Home Premium had this feature then there would be no reason for businesses to purchase Professional and Enterprise versions. The good news is Windows 8 Professional does support joining domains which should be used anyways in an office.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 17:30
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    How are we suppose to know we are not Microsoft
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 17:33
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    There is no technical limitation beyond the fact it literally does not support doing so. Beyond that discussions which only internal staff at Microsoft can answer are not productive.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 17:42
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    All editions are identical to the extent that some of the features are removed. Vista included all editions on the same disk, the edition is selected by the product key. So basically when you buy Upgrade, you buy unlock for the features you need. Most users at home do not need to connect to domain, thus this feature is removed and costs less than Professional, where the latter is targeted at businesses. Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 19:54

7 Answers 7


Microsoft doesn't allow Home editions of Windows to join domains because they figure that home users won't be connecting to any type of domain. Although that does suck, you do have to purchase the professional version of Windows in order to get that feature.

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    This is not entirely true, home pc's are routinely used on domain networks, its called pass through authentication. This allows most functions of being part of the domain like you can with Pro.
    – Moab
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 14:09

Don't be fooled by some of these answers, while you can't join a domain there are ways you can connect to a domain for running applications that require it if you have a domain account. You can use the runas /netonly command:

runas /netonly /user:mydomain\username "pathToFile/file.exe"

You will be prompted to enter a password and if the username and password provided does indeed match a domain user the given program in pathToFile/file.exe will run as if you where on the domain mydomain.

For example if you happen to need to access a database domain for running SSMS:

runas /netonly /user:dataxstream\username "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\...\Ssms.exe"

Using this approach I was able to do all of my work related task on a Windows Home Edition computer.

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    You can also add the user name and password of the home pc to the domain server, set home pc to same workgroup as domain server, then you can use pass through authentication to access files on the server.
    – Moab
    Commented Oct 10, 2015 at 14:06

It's basically market segmentation by Microsoft. They have decided that the Home editions cannot connect to the domain so they can price and support different products in a different way. You will continue to have to upgrade the Home editions unless you can find a vendor, such as CDW (just what my employer uses), that will provide the business versions pre-installed. Many of these vendors will ship next day, but for a price. It's up to you and your employer if you want to go that route.

Microsoft has also ensured that Home users likely will never use domains with the advent of the home group in 7 and 8, possibly Vista as well, though I'm not sure.

  • Home Group does not exist in Windows Vista. Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 19:57

JustinD is on the right track.

The reason is simply that novice users like “grandmothers” are not expected to need that “advanced” functionality. Home users who check email, use social networks, play games, etc. are rarely going to need to connect to a domain and will rather connect directly to their modem or router.

Domains on the other hand are, um, the domain—pun intended—of enterprises, schools, etc. who need more advanced system administration and gateway-management abilities.

Therefore, Microsoft can put advanced functions like this in a different edition and provide a cheaper version for home users and a more expensive one for organizations.



A license property doesn't allow it. Only the Professional Editions (pro/Enterprise) or the Ultimate have the license value WorkstationService-DomainJoinEnabled set.


As was indicated in another answer, this is market segmentation. Home users have no need to join a computer to a domain, but business users often absolutely require it. Economics 101 here.

One option you have is to purchasecomputers that come with a Professional Edition of Windows pre-installed. These do exist, and it's likely cheaper to get your license this way than to pay for the upgrade seperately.

An even better option is to start using volume licensing. If you have 5 or more Windows computers at your business, you qualify for the volume licensing program. This can yield a huge saving over the retail pricing.


Problem solved by adding a line to registry. If you's using Windows Server 2003 or below:

  1. Access HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
  2. Create a new DWORD entry called LmCompatibilityLevel
  3. Modify the entry and set the value to 1
  4. Reboot

We're able to connect to our server in the office using Windows 7 Home Basic and Home Premium.

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