Joining Laptops to a Domain

I want to add a couple of laptops to my AD network. These laptops are used both in the office and at home. How do I add these laptops to my AD network so that if the laptops are being used outside the office it can go online without the user changing any DNS address? I understand, for best practices, I need to put in my server IP address as the DNS address for the laptops when they are connecting to the AD network. If not, how do I configure the laptops so that the users have smooth experience both inside and outside the network?
Also can someone tell me which software to install on my server to monitor the health of my server and be able to inform me via email of impending trouble ie hard drive crashes, memory problems, etc. etc. Am running windows server 2012 R2.

Thanks
Nana ColeAsked:
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ivan rosaCommented:
For your first question, if they are outside the office and wanting to connect to the Internet then you would need to add their accounts local to Windows,
Hit "Windows key" + "pause/break"
The find the option for user profiles then add the user
If you wanting to connect remotely to the office then You would need to get a VPN server in your office

For you second question I haven't come across to a global program that actually allows you to do that, i would think maybe SCCM will get somewhat "heartbeats" for computers,..at least tell you their connectivity, unless somebody else would know for a specific program
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Andy SCommented:
Users will need to login to the laptop for the first time while in the office once after that they should be able to log in while not connected to the network with no problems.
 
Smooth experience will depend on each application and configuring that so it works externally just as well as internally.
Mail is usually the big one, if you use O365 they will have a pretty good experience out of the box, otherwise it might take a bit of re-configuration, but should be worth it.
You may need to slightly re-configure exchange, but you should be able to setup their mail profiles to use exchange over https. for example my laptop connects to mail.XXXXX.com. then it doesn't matter where I am mail works..

For personal files, simple solution is to turn on file sync... then they can access their files offline.

As for monitoring your server, I'd start with the hardware vendor's software, Dell and HP both have good software. that will alert you on predictive failures. If you're not keen on that the next easiest is probably spiceworks, although it will do far more than you are asking for..
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The users laptops must be running Windows Vista Business, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 10 Pro.  Non-Pro versions (other than Enterprise or Ultimate) cannot be joined to the domain.  Did you purchase these laptops with the correct operating systems?

As for monitoring, pick two: cheap, comprehensive, easy.  Monitoring solutions allow you to get two of those three.  If you want something easy and comprehensive, it won't be cheap.  If you want something cheap and comprehensive, it won't be easy.

The closest to all three is probably SpiceWorks.  Otherwise, you'll be using various tools or spending money.
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Nana ColeAuthor Commented:
The laptops are all running windows 7 pro. I don't have exchanged server and we do not use office 365. again do I need to put the IP address of the server as the DNS address on the laptops? Thanks
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Nana ColeAuthor Commented:
I don't SpiceWorks is exactly what am looking for. We have a very small 10 user network. Any software I can buy that I can install on the server to do the monitoring?
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rindiCommented:
Just set their NIC's to DHCP so they get thier IP's, gateway and DNS settings automatically. While in the office they'll get the correct DNS settings from your Office's DHCP server, and as long as that server is setup properly, you will be able to connect to the AD without issues.

When out of the Office the home DHCP server will assign the IP, gateway and dns entries, and even while it won't be connected to the AD domain, it'll use cached credentials to authenticate, and it'll just connect to the internet normally through the home router. Just make sure you don't use a proxy server, that could complicate matters.
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Nana ColeAuthor Commented:
The solution was exactly what needed to be done for the laptops. Thanks a million.
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