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I've started to deploy tablets to certain staff that are often out of the office and I'm wondering how to consolidate their login credentials so that they can still login to their machine with their normal domain credentials, when they're disconnected or connected to a generic (home) network connection.

Basically, I'd like to have no barriers for them checking their mail (via outlook 2k3), checking network folders, and plainly logging into the machine. (They can login to the machine using the local user account, but the preferences aren't consistent and don't propagate between the accounts).

I'd be fine with the network folders being unavailable (as I don't think it'd be possible anyway) but at least I'd like their e-mail and xp login to work as expected.

The machines are running xp pro, the server is SBS 2k8, and exchange 2k3.

Exchange is available via web @ mail.company_domain.com/exchange but my users don't want to have to think "Oh I have to check my e-mail via the web if I'm not in the office." because they're so accustomed to using outlook and its myriad features (and I don't blame them tbh).

Is this possible?

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2 Answers 2

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They'll still be able to log in to XP using their cached domain credentials, regardless of where they plug the network cable in / connect their wifi to (unless I'm misreading what you're asking). If a domain controller for your domain isn't available, then the cached credentials kick in. If you're looking for them to be able to use domain resources as if they were sitting on your network, then you're looking at setting up a VPN connection for them. Either that or opening a whole bunch of ports on your firewall and doing some fancy dns configs, which is NOT in the realm of recommended approaches.

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It is perfectly possible to log on to a domain-joined computer using domain credentials if such computer is disconnected from the domain, as long as the user credentials are cached; i.e. the user should have succesfully logged on to said computer at least once. Standard behaviour for Windows systems is to cache credentials of the last logged on user, so if DOMAIN\UserA logs on, logs out, disconnects and then logs on again, the logon will be succesful; but if DOMAIN\UserB tries to log on when the computer is disconnected, this won't succeed. The number of cached logons is configurable via GPO.

About Outlook/Exchange: there's a specific feature in those softwares to allow you to use Outlook to access you Exchange server from outside the company network; it used to be called RPC/HTTPS, but nowadays it goes by he name of Outlook Anywhere. It's supported on Exchange 2003 / Outlook 2003 and above. More info here and here.

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