Quick Look: Windows 7 in the workplace – Joining a Domain

If you are a Windows XP user that’s new to Windows 7, there are some subtle improvements to how you accomplish certain task. For instance, joining a business network is much faster, but a bit different. Lets take a look doing that.

What is a Domain?

A domain if you don’t know is a server computer running a Network Operating System such as Windows Server, UNIX or Linux that manages and provides resources such as file sharing, printers and secure authentication to client computers running Windows.

In Windows XP and prior versions of Windows, at the log on dialog, a Log on list box is usually provided from which, a list of available Domains can be selected and authenticated to. Windows Vista and Windows 7 takes a different approach for both simplicity and security reasons by supplying the appropriate Domain for a user depending on his/her role or organizational unit. In the case of simplicity, users won’t be confused if they see a list of Domains and accidentally selects one or attempts to log on to the wrong one. All you need to remember is your Domain, Username and Password when logging on from different computers.

Click Start, type: Domain

Hit Enter

On the System Properties dialog, click Change

Enter the appropriate name of the domain, in my case, its ‘mrdee.com’, click ‘OK’, this will now present the credentials dialog, enter your username and password, then click ‘OK’. All of this information should be provided to you by your administrator.

Once you have successfully joined the Domain, you will be asked to restart your computer to apply the necessary settings. What we have done so far, should be familiar to Windows XP users who have joined a computer to a domain, now its on to the log on experience.


When you reach the welcome screen, you will be greeted by the Secure Logon prompt. This is used by Administrators to define thresholds for how many attempts can be made before you can successfully log in to your computer. If the Administrator sets the threshold at 3 and an unauthorized individual goes past that, the computer will designate a waiting period (also defined by the Administrator) before the individual can attempt logging on again. It is also used to protect the system from programs that mimic a logon to retrieve password information.

You might be saying, so where is the option to log on to the Domain. As you can see, I am shown instead my local log on computer information. To log on the domain, click ‘Swith User’.

Click, ‘Other User’

Because I logged on to my Domain before, I will only need to enter my credentials in this case. If your Domain is not displayed, simply type the following ‘DOMAIN\Username’ ie. MRDEE/adacosta, then enter your password. From now on, when you start your computer, you will see your Domain account. see picture below:

Domain and my username.

Now suppose I need to log back into my local account which I had created on the computer before joining a domain? Simply, click the ‘Switch User’ button, enter the ‘MACHINE-NAME\Username’ ie. WIN7X64-ACER\User. You can find your machine name by checking the Advanced System Properties > Computer Name (tab) > Full computer name:.

Thats it, you have successfully logged on to your workplace domain. Remember, you will need additional information such as your username and password, the domain you will be logging on to when attempting to do this, so have those pieces of information ready and you should be good to go.



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