I'm running Server 2008 with Exchange 2007 SP1. All is running quite well and good.

However, I have a few clients who are not thrilled with the idea of joining a domain environment, mainly because of the hassle involved in copying profiles around.

On my test computer, I've had no luck getting the computer to connect to server.example.local when not joined to the domain. I imagine that there is a security policy setting that is not allowing anonymous clients to connect.

Secondly, the client is adamant about a lack of passwords and password prompts. They'd like ideally for Outlook to open and not prompt for usernames.

I've been told by the client that their previous IT company had managed to setup another exchange server without it prompting for usernames and passwords (their words, not mine) but I haven't figured out how this was achieved.

So, my questions in short:

  1. Can I have computers that are not joined to a domain connect to an Exchange 07 server?
  2. Can I have computers that are connected to said exchange server NOT prompt for passwords each time Outlook is opened?

All client PC's are using Vista or W7, with Office 2007 SP2.


PCs that aren't joined to the domain can definitely talk to Exchange with Outlook. Outlook is going to prompt the user for credentials when connecting to the Exchange Server computer. I know that Outlook 2003 didn't have any "remember password" functionality, but I'm not sure about Outlook 2007. If I had to guess, I'd say that it doesn't.

Autodiscovery will work. Have a look at this article http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/04/30/438249.aspx (search for the phrase "non domain") for a brief bit about how the autodiscovery works on non-domain clients.

(Why are they so adverse to joining a domain? Roaming user profiles aren't required, and the existing local profiles can be migrated to domain user profiles.)

It might be possible to do the whole "poor man's workstation trust" wherein you create domain user accounts that match the local usernames / passwords used on the client computers to get Outlook not to prompt for passwords. That's an environment that's hard to keep password synchronized in, and I'm not even sure it would work.

They really need to join their clients to the domain. That's the solution. It'd be interesting to hear more about why they have a problem with it. (I'm guessing they're doing lousy things like storing data on the hard disk drives of clients, peer-to-peer file sharing, etc... sigh)

You indicate that your tests aren't working. What kind of error messages are you receiving when it fails? (Name resolution could be iffy in such an environment. You might not have the whole DNS infrastructure that AD mandates in place, for one.)

| improve this answer | |

As with what Evan Anderson said, it is possible. We have a large population of non-domained workstations, and have since even the NT4 days. These machines haven't had trouble talking to whatever our emailer was (MSMail/Exch5.5/Exch2K/Exch2003/Exch2007). The trick is in setting up the Outlook/mail profile right. I believe you need an FQDN in the Mail Server field to trigger discovery, and the rest just falls into place. As for usernames, see Evan's answer.

| improve this answer | |

RPC-HTTP, also known as Outlook Anywhere will definitely provide Exchange functionality without the need for a domain, but I'm not sure you can set it to never prompt for a username and password.

| improve this answer | |
  • RPC-HTTP is just a transport mechanism. There is no functional difference between Outlook talking RPC over TCP and RPC over HTTP. – Evan Anderson Jun 5 '09 at 1:50
  • 1
    I understand that, but the point is it provides Exchange functionality (GAL, Public Folders, etc.) without actually being joined to the Exchange domain. – Kyle Noland Jun 5 '09 at 18:09

As many have already pointed out, it's no problem to have a non-domain computer use Exchange. I do so myself. However, I think it would be more of a problem if the computers in question were XP Home or Vista Home. These can't remember the logins or domains.

| improve this answer | |

While I don't recommend the following approach overall, nobody has mentioned it but you could let them connect using POP3 settings instead and it will allow you to setup their username and password when you create the profile.

This would eliminate the prompting for a username/password.

Of course, there are definitely caveats to going the POP3 route though (server side email, etc.)...so be aware.

| improve this answer | |

It's certainly possible to use imap4 or pop access to have the client save the passwords. I'd also wonder why they have exchange onsite at all if they don't want a domain. Domain's make file sharing easier (if there is any impact at all). I'd be interested in the "hassle" copying files around. Note that if they are using exchange 2007 they already have a domain- so it isn't saving them any less maintenance. It is also possible to set the domain security policy to allow blank passwords. This would allow the users to login in the morning by typing in a username only in the morning. If the users stay at the same workstations they can be joined to the domain and the users will never know it by setting the systems to autologin. The following steps will turn on autologin:

1.run regedit

2.Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

3.Double-click the DefaultUserName entry, type the user name to log on with, and then click OK. If DefaultUserName registry value name is not found, create the new String Value (REG_SZ) with value name as DefaultUserName.

4.Double-click the DefaultPassword entry, type the password for the user account under the value data box, and then click OK. If there is no DefaultPassword value, create a new String Value subkey (REG_SZ) with DefaultPassword as the value name.

Note that if no DefaultPassword string is specified, Windows automatically changes the value of the AutoAdminLogon registry key from 1 (true) to 0 (false) to turn off the AutoAdminLogon feature.

5.In Windows Vista, DefaultDomainName has to be specified as well. To do so, double click on DefaultDomainName, and specify the domain name of the user account. If it’s local user, specify local host name. If the DefaultDomainName does not exist, create a new String Value (REG_SZ) registry key with value name as DefaultDomainName.

6.Double-click the AutoAdminLogon entry, type 1 in the Value Data box, and then click OK. If there is no AutoAdminLogon entry, create a new String Value entry (REG_SZ) with AutoAdminLogon as the value name.

7.If it exists, delete the AutoLogonCount key.

8.Quit regedit.

9.Click Start, click Restart, and then click OK. After computer reboots and Windows XP or Vista starts, system can log on automatically to the preset or predefined user in the registry.

| improve this answer | |

Why they need to join a domain? in my organization, the exchange need a domain, and that domain is used by 90% of workstation, but the other 10% use own domain (sub-organization)...

why this 10% need to be frustrated by a continuos asking of password? Why when they are at work, in a controlled environment (biometrical access and etc) they must relogin everytime in outlook, and indeed when they use mobile phone (iphone and so on), or personal notebook at home they don't need relogin... it's a strange behaviour, in the most secure scenario they must logon and in the most UNsecure scenario they don't need that, totally unsense.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.