I was recently in the position that I needed to rebuild a workstation at a remote location, but wanted to end up with it joined to the domain, and able to install software via the SCCM Software Center. Enter Offline Domain Join (djoin.exe)!
Offline Domain Join allows the creation of a machine account and the establishment of a trust relationship between a computer running Windows and a Domain. As part of the process, group policy information can also be transferred to the machine that will be joined to the domain.
Assuming Direct Access is available, the appropriate group policy information for Direct Access can be transferred as part of the process, and this should then allow the remote machine to establish a connection to the domain and from there all remaining group policy information can be transferred, the Configuration Manager client installed etc.
Information on ‘djoin.exe’ including examples for use can be found at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/offline-domain-join-djoin-step-by-step
My scenario was:
- The machine account already existed in the correct OU and was a member of the appropriate groups for Direct Access (the machine name had already been used; this was a rebuild) and therefore I needed to use the ‘/reuse’ parameter.
- The only group policy information I wanted to transfer to the remote machine was for Direct Access. I anticipated that all other group policy information would be transferred automatically once a Direct Access connection had been established.
In my case, the command I used on the provisioning server were:
djoin /provision /domain domain.com /machine MyWorkstation /savefile MyWorkstation-blob.txt /reuse /policynames “Direct Access Client”
The resultant blob should be transferred securely – take note of what the TechNet page says on the matter:
The base64-encoded metadata blob that is created by the provisioning command contains very sensitive data. It should be treated just as securely as a plaintext password. The blob contains the machine account password and other information about the domain, including the domain name, the name of a domain controller, the security ID (SID) of the domain, and so on. If the blob is being transported physically or over the network, care must be taken to transport it securely.
On the remote workstation, the command I used was:
djoin /requestODJ /loadfile MyWorkstation-blob.txt /windowspath %SystemRoot% /localos
At this point you’re prompted to reboot the workstation. Once the reboot was complete, I left the machine for a few minutes to allow it to establish a connection, then signed in. Everything worked as anticipated and I could log in as a domain user and a Direct Access connection was established. Following a group policy update, the Configuration Manager client was transferred and installed, and a short time later the Software Center became available and I could add software made available from SCCM.