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How to setup laptop for access to the domain and when out in the field not connected to the domain

Posted on 2010-11-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have a new Server 2008 network, previously netware and workgroup only.

Have a laptop that will be connected to the domain and used out of the office.

What do I have to do to confgure the network so that when it is not connected to the domain and is out in the field the user can access the notebook and be presented with the same profile information as when in the office (desktop, outlook file, start;programs, etc.)

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Question by:cwsoft05
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chapmanjw earned 144 total points
ID: 34108839
By default, once a user authenticates with the domain, their user credentials are cached on the local machine so that if they log in without network connectivity to the AD server they can still login.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 143 total points
ID: 34108840
Simple.  Logon to the computer once as the user who will need it.  Windows caches the last 10 logons by default, so once logged int, you can disconnect it from the network and still logon and get the same profile config.  (Easy to test too).
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by:cwsoft05
ID: 34108873
That appears easy, but today in our office, on our 2003 domain, a user had either inadvertently connected to the domain or always had (we don't have everyone connected to the domain as it is a mixed netware/windows environment and not everyone needs access to the windows server) and when they went home, they got a message that they could not find the domain controller.  

To test, a member of our IT staff connected to the domain, then disconnected the network cable and then again tried to login with the domain and got the same message.

So your comments do not appear to always work.  Why did it not in the case of a different 2003 network laptop or workstation when not connected to the network.

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by:chapmanjw
chapmanjw earned 144 total points
ID: 34108877
See the information on this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/172931/en-us
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 143 total points
ID: 34108881
When a machine is connected to a network, it will look for the domain controller.  When it is not, it will used cached credentials UNLESS you have altered how cached credentials work on your network.

As for the IT Staff member who tested this - did they disable wireless too?
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LVL 11

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by:dekkar
dekkar earned 142 total points
ID: 34108926
I havent had this kind of problem since the windows 95/NT era.....

Our Server 2003 domain, and recently the 2008 domain will always let a user log into the machine while it is off the network...


Do all of your users have access to the Novel side of things? Possibly setup a machine with no Novel settings at all and see if it is any different.

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Author Comment

by:cwsoft05
ID: 34108929
This was also tested on a desktop (no wireless card).  Network cable was removed.  Said it could not find the domain as mentioned in the kb link above, indicating that caching would be disabled.  As for wireless access on the laptop.  Don't know if it was disabled, but if wireless was used, it likely did not have the key and the wireless is on a 192.168.1.xxx segment, not 172.16.xx.xx segment and thus cannot see the domain controller by design.

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Author Comment

by:cwsoft05
ID: 34108935
Netware is our primary network and will continue to be.  Removing netware from the scenario is not an option.
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Author Comment

by:cwsoft05
ID: 34108944
You say when it is connected to a network, it will look for a domain controller.  In a hotel, it is always connecting to the hotel's wireless network for Internet access so I am not clear on your comment.  They cannot disable wireless and get internet access.  You are implying that if wireless is enabled, it will try to access the network and look for a domain which will fail.

Thus, please clarify.
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by:wamanma
wamanma earned 71 total points
ID: 34109009
There are two ways by which you can achieve the desired result.

1. Enable Interactive logon: Number of previous logons to cache (in case domain controller is not available) in Active directory Group Policy. You can find this setting in Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Security Options, find the Interactive logon: Number of previous logons to cache, enable the setting and accept the default value of 10. By doing this once the laptop user logins to domain, his logon information would be cached in the laptop.

2. You can create a local user in the laptop and ask the user to login with local account if he is not in the office.

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by:dekkar
dekkar earned 142 total points
ID: 34109088
I understand that no netware is not an option...... but you have to find out why its happening...


IF it is in fact the netware client that is causing the issue, then you have a starting place to solveing it...

At the moment its all a bit as a mystery as to why its happening.



Our laptop machines can be on any network, wireless or not, and still log in as a domain account no problems.

IF you do have the domain cacheing settings correct (which they are by default) then I would start to think its something else.


Get a vanilla windows machine on the domain, with no software on it...... and test it.... IF it still doesnt work, you know there is a policy in AD somewhere causing it.
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