I have several Windows 8.1 Pro machines which will not join our domain on Windows Server 2003. These are brand new machines which were deployed at the same time as several others which DID join the domain with no problems. All the machines are identical builds.
I keep getting the error message "The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted"

  • The network adapter settings are identical across all of the machines. All dynamic automatically assigned IP addresses
  • I can ping the server and I can map network drives on the server on the computers which will not join the domain.
  • I have tried using FQDN
  • All of the computers follow the same naming convention sequentially. For example "computer24" joined the domain with no problem, but "computer23" will not. None of the computer names are duplicates from prior computers, but I have removed all obsolete computers from the AD anyway.
  • I have tried adding the machines manually in the AD (which sometimes gives an error message about the naming convention, but sometimes DOESN'T, and I follow the same convention as the other machines which were added automatically)

I am at a total loss.

  • We have 2003 functional level with 8.1 clients, so it should be supported! I'm wondering whether you can resolve the domain name from the 8.1 clients? – john Jan 24 '15 at 18:21
  • No errors in the event logs? How were they deployed (MDT, SCCM, ADK)? – Jim B Jan 24 '15 at 18:30
  • Are all the machines in the same location (AD Site)? – GregL Jan 24 '15 at 19:39
  • Are the Windows 8.1 clients using the AD DNS servers for DNS. Are you trying to join the domain using the NetBIOS name or the FQDN? Can both be resolved by the Windows 8.1 clients? – joeqwerty Jan 24 '15 at 20:31
  • 1
    Date and time of clients to within 5 minutes of the DC's date and time? – Kinnectus Feb 11 '15 at 16:13

This issue definitely sounds like a networking issue, like a second DHCP server that is improperly configured for DNS. Another possibility could be that these systems are not as identical as you believe, for example they could be the same make and model, but these systems connect to the network with an add-on network card. Are the systems possibly on a different subnet?

If you swap out a system that works for a system that does not work, does it join? That would indicate that the issue is a networking problem and not an issue with the computer.

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