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could not join computer to network, unexpected error has occured

Posted on 2013-01-22
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Last Modified: 2013-03-05
This question has a few elements to it so I'll try to describe the problem concisely. I'll explain why I did what I did last Friday and maybe someone will have an idea how to solve it or a better solution.

The facts:
Local dentist was hacked last month. Easily broken passwords is my guess. Dozens of new user accounts were created but we disabled them. Fearing issues with active directory, I recommended we create an entirely new domain setup. My plan was to get the new network running then connect all the computers even as the old server was still running and operation, so I could connect the computers quickly after work without interruptions for them.

There is a bit of a time issue, I need to do this once they stop working on noon Friday while their dentist management software Dentech is still available for tech support, as they need to do a few things on their end during the installation. Users need local admin rights for the software.

Last Friday happened. New SBS 2011 server had arrived on time and I went to work. Everything is going smoothly and I begin connecting computers to the new domain. That was the plan anyway. The first computer I tried connecting with the "server connector" (consists of going to the server name in a browser with a /connect after to dl software) and I repeatedly get the error "cannot connect to the network. an unexpected error has occured" after the connector has been running a few minutes.

I troubleshooted this feverishly, knowing the deadline marched closer. I did basically everything I could google.

Any idea what was going on? Would a normal migration be better? I'd say yes but I'm leery because of potential AD issues.

This is a unique situation. If I had to guess I would say that there are dhcp issues somewhere. I'm creating a new network alongside a current one. The old server was 2k3. I think it might have had a dhcp role, but I'm not sure if I should do something about it since I'm creating a new network. Thanks for your time.
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Question by:drewmun
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13 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38804491
If you are setting a new domain and not migrating you will need to take the pc off the old domain and back to a workgroup
Then rejoin to the new domain either using the connect method (sometimes this will still not work in my experience)

You will need to know or reset the local admin password on the pc to be able to login back to the temporary workgroup
To prevent locking yourself out of the machine

Once you have added the user you will need to copy any local work favourites etc from the old profile to the new user profile
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38804495
Sorry meant to say either using the connect method or using the traditional join a domain from control panel
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:David Atkin
ID: 38805090
Also, make sure that the PC's are using the new server for DNS.

Disable DHCP on the old server and use the new server.

Run the connect wizard by going to: "http://connect".  You don't need to put the server name as its already in DNS pointing to the Server.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38805096
As an SBS 2011 not being migrated I assumed the old box was no longer on the network

Two SBS boxes cannot co-exist except in a migration
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LVL 77

Accepted Solution

by:
Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 38805236
I have blogged about reasons why the "Connect" wizard fails and how to resolve.  It may be of some help:
http://blog.lan-tech.ca/2012/06/07/sbs-connect-connectcomputer-wizard-fails/

At the end of the article it references Profwiz, a tool for joining the domain.  You may want to use it as the http://connect wizard will not import profiles from a PC that was once joined to ANY domain.
http://blog.lan-tech.ca/2012/06/07/sbs-connect-connectcomputer-wizard-fails/
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Expert Comment

by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38805270
I knew I had seen a great article on this - just could not remember where :-)
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 38805294
Thanks cpmcomputers  :-)
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Author Comment

by:drewmun
ID: 38806352
I should have clarified that i had removed the computer from the old domain and joined a workgroup. Changing dns settings was also something i tried.

The old server was running while this was going on, there was still one dentist cleaning teeth and I was trying to not disrupt them.

The new computer is sbs, the old one was 2k3. They are on the same network and ip range but different domains.

The computer actually joined the domain, but the connector failed. I ran the connector because its recommended and the easiest way to add computers and give the user local admin rights. Is there another way to do it?
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 38807428
As outlined in the link I provided, using the connect wizard with SBS 2003 was extremely important, but with SBS 2008/2011 there is very little advantage except that with a PC that has NEVER been a member of a domain it will import the profile.  The wizard will not do so for a PC that has previously been a member of any domain so manually joining or using Profwiz are often a good alternative.  The features that were pushed out with the wizard with SBS 2003 and done now through group policy.

Having said that 90% of the time when the wizard fails it is due to having multiple NIC's or incorrectly configured DNS.  The PC joining the domain must point ONLY to the new server for DNS, and the new server should be the DHCP server, which will also hand out the correct DNS/Domain suffix.
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Author Comment

by:drewmun
ID: 38808251
Could I just give dhcp responsibilities to the router? I know sbs 08 preferred to be the dhcp server while 2012 essentials prefers the router to do it. Haven't worked with a sbs 11 box yet.
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 38808370
You can but why?  
There are many advantages to having the Server as the DHCP server and none to have the router as the DHCP server.

Chances are if you are using the router for DHCP it is why the connect wizard is failing.

If you do use the router as the DHCP server, it is compulsory is that the router hand out ONLY the Windows DNS server for DHCP and the domain suffix, if you do that with your router you "should" be OK, but a router will by default add the ISP's DNS which will break your LAN DNS.

The Windows server also has more DHCP scope options, it allows for reservations, a DHCP address lease table to see all assigned addresses, filtering, and proper DNS registration which the router may not do.  It also is a central point of management.

Though the default configuration with server 2012 Essentials, which does not involve Exchange, is to use the router as the DHCP server, it is recommended you change it to have the server as the DHCP server.  The assumption with having the router as the DHCP server with 2012 E is that the installer is not familiar with managing a DHCP server.  It also has services enabled that do not exist with SBS 2011 to maintain the client server relationship.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:ChiefIT
ID: 38822374
Rob is exactly right. The router can't be the DHCP server, nor can the 2003 server, because they will conflict. In addition, the router doesn't host the SRV records needed for a domain. Your hunch on DHCP is correct. This is a DHCP problem.

Prevent both the router and the old server from providing DHCP. Then re-enable your new server as the DHCP server. A win server that provides DHCP will become disabled in the event of seeing a rogue DHCP server on the network (like your router)
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Author Closing Comment

by:drewmun
ID: 38955588
I ended up using profwiz and it worked great!
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