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Windows 7 Unable to Join Domain Fix

Yesterday I hit a reasonably strange problem, which took me quite some time to resolve, long enough, in fact, to prompt me to post this in the hope that anyone else encountering can avoid the circuitous route I took!

Symptom:

Windows 7 system unable to browse local domain resources (file shares etc) but access to Internet was fine. Was able to ping all local servers and DNS functioned correctly. Decided to remove system from domain and re-add. Upon attempt to re-add process was as normal, including request for domain administrator username & password, but despite using correct credentials, domain join would fail with message:

“The following error has occurred when trying to join the “xyz” domain: network path not found.”

Possible Fixes:

Tried (try in order below as one of these may fix for you);
i) Checked that other Windows 7 systems could leave & rejoin domain. (They could, so it was clearly a machine specific issue)
ii) Reboot, followed by Disabling & Enabling NIC, followed by reboot.
iii) Check that current network is set to “Work” type /category.
iv) Disabling Windows Firewall (or other firewalls) & any anti-virus / anti-malware, (remember to re-enable!).
v) Using another NIC (in this case WiFi).
vi) “Removing” NIC from Device Manager & rebooting.
vii) Removing system’s old account from Active Directory “Computers” container.
viii) Reinstalling TCP/IP stack. (netsh int ip reset in command prompt as admin)
ix) Remove & re-add “Client for Microsoft Networks” Client.
x) Run “sfc /scannow” from an elevated command prompt.

None of these fixed it for me and so was just considering a re-install, however I first tried the following, which did work!

Solution:

  • Remove ALL “Clients” / “Services” / “Protocols” from NIC (except IP4 & IP6 which are non-removable and would have been fixed by step “viii”, above, if they were the problem)
  • Reboot and re-add the above (this included, in our case, a “minimum working set” of; “Client for Microsoft Networks”, “Link-Layer Topology Discoverer Responder” & “Link-Layer Topology Discoverer Mapper I/O Driver”)
  • Following their removal, rebooting & their re-addition, the system was able to join to domain as normal!

Hope this helps someone avoid my pain and as ever, feedback is appreciated on additional options / extra steps etc! 😉

28 thoughts on “Windows 7 Unable to Join Domain Fix”

  1. What a pain! I assume you don’t know what caused it to fail in the first place?

  2. I seemed to have caused this exact problem by doing “vi” above while trying to resolve an intermittent wireless network dropout.

    Removing the clients, services, and protocols, then rebooting, re-adding, then rebooting again, I reconnected to my domain automatically.

    Thank you!!!

  3. If you are using a DC under linux (samba 3 or 4), make sure that the daemon “smbd” or “smbd4” are running; besides the deamons “samba4” and “winbindd”. That caused the problem for me, the credentials of the DC admin could be verified, but without “smbd” joining the domain failed.

  4. Had the same problem today (hence the landing here from Google…) – however, it was a client-side application firewall from Sophos that was blocking traffic. Had to set the primary location and then unblock all traffic from this location to be able to join to the domain and/or read shares.

    I noticed this when it, like the IPv4/IPv6 above, couldn’t be removed from the NIC….

  5. Richard,

    Solution ix worked for me. Removing the clients, services, and protocols, (except IP4 & IP6 which are non-removable and would have been fixed by step “viii”, above, if they were the problem), then rebooting, re-adding, then rebooting again, I ran the http://connect & then reconnected to my domain automatically.

    thanks a million for the time saver:)

  6. Had this exact issue, thank you for posting this information but none of these potential solutions worked for me.

    I eventually resolved the issue after exhausting all these options (and more) by running “sfc /scannow” from an elevated command prompt.

    If i had more time i would review the sfc logs for clues at to what exactly fixed this but hopefully this is enough to maybe help someone else.

    cheers.

  7. Thanks Ray, I think I’ll add that in as an “official” step to the list. SFC is one of the staple options to have on any list when troubleshooting Windows…

  8. For future reference, this worked for me:

    Had the same problem today (hence the landing here from Google…) – however, it was a client-side application firewall from Sophos that was blocking traffic. Had to set the primary location and then unblock all traffic from this location to be able to join to the domain and/or read shares.

    Thanks to Jon for the answer I needed and Richard for the page I found it on!

  9. Thank you. I finally could solve a problem like yours using your method.
    I’m almost sure that in my case the problem was caused by a Siemens software which adds a network protocol to the TCP/IP v4 stock, but even after uninstalling the software the problem remains the same. Using your method now it is working ok.
    Thanks again.

  10. Richard, You are a life saver! Been working all day on this trying all the other suggested solutions but to no avail! Trying to join a Windows 7 Pro (32 bit) laptop to Windows Server 2012 Domain and kept getting the network path not found error. Your solution did the trick and now the user and I are happy! I was pulling my hair out so thank you for keeping me from going bald and shaving my head!

  11. great instructions, only step that i have to add is to untick the “avg network filter driver” in the network adapter properties. maybe if i had done that first it might of worked straight away.

  12. Oh my god, this worked. After searching for ours in several forums, your tip to remove all of the clients/services/protocols did it.

    Thank you man.

  13. Disable temporarily any third party antivirus and firewall and try to join the domain again – That’s it – 🙂

  14. Terry Mcgonigal led me to the correct solution. Sophos Client Side Firewall was the culprit.

  15. I ran into this after migrating from 2008 R2 DC to 2012 R2. Tried all steps in this article and more (burflags, etc), but the final step solved it. Make sure to capture settings. BTW this was a lab with only one DC. Haven’t had any problems since.

    it was — Remove ALL “Clients” / “Services” / “Protocols” from NIC (except IP4 & IP6 which are non-removable and would have been fixed by step “viii”, above, if they were the problem)

  16. Number iii worked for me.
    [[[[ iii) Check that current network is set to “Work” type /category.]]]]
    Thank you.

  17. Just wanted to say thanks for writing this article. I ran into the problem on another PC, and got frustrated because I couldn’t figure it out. Did a bunch of research, and just set the PC aside because I didn’t have the time to figure it out. Issue popped up on another PC today, found your article and fixed the issue by re-installing all “Clients” / “Services” / “Protocols”.
    It doesn’t make sense, but it’s working again. Thank you.

  18. After many hours of trying things, what finally worked for me was mentioned on another site buried in the comments, which said: “make sure the following services are started on the workstation: Workstation, DHCP Client, DNS Client, Server, TCP/IP Netbios helper, Computer Browser ”

    I was missing the TCP/IP Netbios helper service and copied the registry key lmhosts from a working system and imported the key. Reboot. Voila!

    Wanted to add it here to your already excellent list of things to try. Thank you.

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