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An ideal answer would at least include:

  1. Critical configuration of the PC before it could join
  2. How the PC finds the Domain servers
  3. What happens when the PC cannot find any domain servers
  4. What connections are made from the PC to the domain
  5. How the Domain records that a machine joined the Domain
  6. How the PC drops disconnects from the Domain/AD monitors for stale connections
  7. Difference in this process between Windows 2008 R2 and previous versions of Windows Server

That is all I could think of for now but I'm sure, as answers come in, I'll think of more.

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Are you asking us to explain it to you, or asking us to help you explain it to someone? –  DanBig Jan 14 '11 at 18:49
    
Duplicate.serverfault.com/questions/61191/… –  DanBig Jan 14 '11 at 18:50
    
@Dan: Thanks did not see that question before. However, it's not specific enough for me. But looking through those answers. –  Belmin Fernandez Jan 14 '11 at 18:52
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If you want this kind of detailed answer, which isn't to solve a problem or improve something, you'd really do better to read whitepapers, implementation guides, and certification guides for AD and Windows Server on the MS site. –  mfinni Jan 14 '11 at 18:56
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In this case you will get a good idea of the process by looking at the Samba docs about joining a domain. They go into far more detail about the process then the common Microsoft docs. samba.org/samba/docs/man/Samba-HOWTO-Collection/… If you want even more detail you could look at the source. –  Zoredache Jan 14 '11 at 18:59
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm going to skip some detail, because the vendor docs and samba docs linked in the comments are really what you should be reading.

  • Critical configuration of the PC before it could join

You need to be on a network that can talk to the domain controllers, as well as be using either MS DNS servers or a slave the is properly replicating the MS DNS server zones.

  • How the PC finds the Domain servers

Domain controllers are identified by querying DNS for the MS SRV records - these are stored in _msdcs.<yourdomain>.tld this is all auto populated don't mess around in here unless you REALLY know what you are are doing.

  • What happens when the PC cannot find any domain servers

You can't log in with an active directory account - unless you have logged in previously (and are off the network IIRC under Win7) and are able to use cached credentials.

  • What connections are made from the PC to the domain

this Technet Document Tells you which ports need to be open, and by extension what protocols are needed to talk on an AD Netork

  • How the Domain records that a machine joined the Domain

What is called a computer account is created in Active directory, this contains a GUID for that computer as well as the machine account password.

  • How the PC drops disconnects from the Domain/AD monitors for stale connections

For the first part, you just reverse the procedure that you used to join a domain - join a work group. For the second part, it doesn't really monitor stale connections - although if you don't talk to the DC for long enough the machine password will expire and you won't be able to create a secure connection to the domain.

  • Difference in this process between Windows 2008 R2 and previous versions of Windows Server

AFAIK none

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The problem here is that it is still possible to join a NT4 machine to a 2008r2 domain, depending on the settings. If you include all the various legacy methods that may be used by a client you would have an extremely long answer about everything that could happen during a domain join. –  Zoredache Jan 14 '11 at 19:43
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  1. Umm... the PC has to have network connectivity and support being joined to a domain (Windows XP Home should go home)

  2. DNS

  3. Nothing

  4. Several: DNS, LDAP, and RPC being a few of them

  5. ? Not sure I understand what you're asking

  6. ? See number 5

  7. Don't know but I suspect it's not any different

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with 5 and 6: Rephrased it. Also, for 2. and 4., I'd like more details not neccessarily from yourself but if anyone else could help: which DNS records are looked up by the PC, what does the PC use the LDAP connection, etc. –  Belmin Fernandez Jan 14 '11 at 18:57
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@Nimmy Lebby, have you considered putting a new/clean Windows machine to a port which is mirrored to a second port, which you have a sniffer running on? If you are really curious a packet capture will show what is going on in excruciating detail. –  Zoredache Jan 14 '11 at 19:02
    
Very good idea. –  joeqwerty Jan 14 '11 at 19:10
    
+1, 4 also Kerberos. 5. A machine account is created in the LDAP directory. 6. Not sure what you mean still, TCP connections are all handled the same (basically). –  Chris S Jan 14 '11 at 19:14
    
@Zoredache +1 that is a good idea. I'd try to get that setup. Perhaps post it in the original question in case others are interested. –  Belmin Fernandez Jan 14 '11 at 19:14
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