With a new SBS 2011 server a customer ordered from Dell, I was trying to connect some Windows Vista Business and Windows 7 Professional clients to it, and I keep getting errors. So, I mustered up all my experience to try to troubleshoot some reasons.

  1. Checked the time. The server was set to MST time zone while all the clients were in PST. Moved the server TZ, no change. Time is within 1 minute of the clients
  2. Can I ping the server? Absolutely, by DNS Name and by IP Address
  3. Can the server ping back? Yup
  4. Are the DNS services running? Yes. Just a simple DNS server, the one Windows automatically configures for you (Domain name is company.local)

After this, I kept getting confused... I then re-tried going to http://connect, but I kept getting a 404 error. When going through the Network ID wizard, it says it can't find my Computer account. So, just to try something, I create the computer names in the Active Directory, and set up each user to manage their own workstation. It gets to the part about not having an account, so I type in an Admin username/password, or even the user's server U/P. Now, it's just a blank error when trying to join:

Error joining domain *domain*.local. The error message is as follows:

And that's the end of the error. No error number or nothing. I tried restarting the server and the workstations, but this is the furthest I get.

So my basic question is, what other troubleshooting can I do to connect Windows Vista or 7 to a SBS2011 server?

UPDATE The client is getting a new MODEM ONLY from the ISP, and will update on Tuesday

2 Answers 2


A few things to check:

  • Can you nslookup the SBS2011 box from the workstations? Where does the response come from?
  • What is the DNS server listed by ipconfig /all on a work station?
  • What is providing DHCP, the SBS2011 box or a router?

This error is typically caused by the DNS server being configured to a router, which has no knowledge of 'connect' or a few other CNAME/A records Windows needs to join a domain. The workstations need to either have their DNS set manually to the servers IP or the routers DHCP needs to be disabled so SBS2011 can take it over and correctly distribute DNS entries.

  • Router provides DHCP and can't be turned off. Stupid ISP crap. And I changed the DNS servers manually to the server. I will try the NSLOOKUP on Monday. What should I look for with that command? Jan 21, 2012 at 5:30
  • That sucks regarding DHCP--are you certain you can't login to the router and disable it's DHCP? You won't have control over your internet address, but you should over your internal addressing schemes (likely 192.168.x.x). With the nslookup you are looking to check which server is responding to the request for the lookup; you should be able to 'nslookup connect' and have the SBS2011 server respond with itself. If it does then you can rule out DNS/DHCP issues and start focusing in on the SBS2011 box itself. Jan 21, 2012 at 5:57
  • It's a Telus router, so I'll be changing it to a plain old modem as well, to help rule it out. It has two choices - 192.168.254.x on DHCP or else choose your own range. It forces DHCP on it. Jan 21, 2012 at 8:07
  • Ah, that's unfortunate. It's probably not necessary to completely remove it so long as on the workstation you're testing from you add the primary DNS as the SBS2011 box and leave the secondary blank (i.e., completely cut the router out of DNS) on the adapter. Jan 21, 2012 at 8:11
  • Yup, but I didn't try with JUST the server's DNS running... I will try that as well Monday. I'm basically looking for tips of things to check Jan 21, 2012 at 17:18

I know is an old thread but recently I had the same issue with several machines from Dell. I reinstalled Win 7 from the Dell DVD and the problem continued. I solved the issue by installing from an ORIGINAL Microsoft WIN 7 DVD, NOT Dell's. It went thru on the first try.

It looks like Dell's DVD has some customization that the SBS do not like....

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