We have a Windows Server 2012 R2 setup here - Its setup with Active Directory & Exchange and is also a Domain Controller:

Server 2012 R2 Domain

We have 3 machines that are also on this domain, a Windows 7, 8.1 & 10 machine, these all work fine and as expected.

The problem lies with all the other machines that are not on the domain and instead are in a workgroup.

The machines that are in the workgroup show the network as the domain:

[![Domain showing as connected network][2]][2]

System Properties showing the same

Any idea as to why the wired network of those PCs are showing as the domain name and not the normal network name?

  • 2
    You're misinterpreting the signs, the computer doesn't 'think it's on a domain', it's just showing an arbitrary name that the OS has assigned to that network / network profile. – BlueCompute Jan 12 '16 at 12:43

This is probably to do with your DHCP setup. One of the options DHCP can provide is a domain-name, which is meant to inform the client what the likely correct suffix to append is when looking up unqualified hostnames (i.e. how it knows that when you say ping britannic, you probably mean ping britannic.vms.iqx.co.uk). domain-search is a related option which allows you to provide a list of possible candidates rather than a single domain suffix. If you have configured your DHCP server to provide either of these, I'm pretty sure that windows clients pick it up and display it (or the first entry, if it's a list) as the network name. If your Domain Controller is also your DHCP server for the network it's almost certainly doing it automatically. You could see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd572752%28v=office.13%29.aspx for a hint on how to configure that kind of thing if that's the case. In any event this only affects what the PC thinks of and displays about the network; for Windows domain-related purposes it makes no difference to the machine.

I see this behaviour on windows machines in my office, except in my case the network name they detect is not the name of our local Active Directory; it's the domain suffix as indicated by our unix-based DHCP servers, as our domain controllers are configured not to provide DHCP services.

  • 2
    Great answer but may want to revise to add it is still not on the domain but rather aknowleging the domain. – Nick Young Jan 12 '16 at 12:35
  • 1
    Sure, I've added that as a quick clarification. – Carcer Jan 12 '16 at 13:46

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