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How to Join a Windows 8, 8.1 Client to Windows Domain - Active Directory

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In this article, we will show how to add a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 client to a Windows Domain / Active Directory. The article can be considered an extention to our Windows 2012 Server article covering Active Directory & Domain Controller installation.

Our client workstation, FW-CL1, needs to join the Firewall.local domainFW-CL1 is already installed with Windows 8.1 operating system and configured with an IP address and a DNS server set to, which is the domain controller. It is important that any workstation needing to join a Domain, has its DNS server configured with the Domain Controller's IP address to ensure proper DNS resolution of the Domain:

windows-8-join-active-directory-1Figure 1. FW-CL1 IPconfig

Now, to add the workstation to the domain, open the System Properties of FW-CL1 by right-clicking in the This PC icon and selecting properties:

windows-8-join-active-directory-2Figure 2. System Settings

Next, click Advanced system settings option in the upper left corner. The System Properties dialog box will open. Select the Computer Name tab and then click on the Change… button to add this computer to the domain.

windows-8-join-active-directory-3Figure 3. System Properties

In the next window, select the Domain: option under the Member of section and type the company's domain name. In our lab, the domain name is set to firewall.local. When done, click on the OK button.

windows-8-join-active-directory-4Figure 4. Adding PC to Domain

The next step involves entering the details of a domain account that has permission to join the domain. This security measure ensures no one can easily join the domain without the necessary authority. Enter the domain credentials and click OK:

windows-8-join-active-directory-5Figure 5. Enter Domain Credentials

If the correct credentials were inserted, the PC becomes a member of the domain. A little welcome message will be displayed. Click OK and Restart the PC to complete the joining process:

windows-8-join-active-directory-6Figure 6. Member of Domain

The detailed operations that occur during a domain join can be found in the %systemroot%\debug\NETSETUP.LOG file.

At a higher level, when you join a computer in Active Directory, a Computer Account is created in the Active Directory database and is used to authenticate the computer to the domain controller every time it boots up.

 This completes our discussion on how to join a Windows 8 & Windows 8.1 Client to Windows Domain - Active Directory.

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