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Windows Home server 2012 Essentials reversing the non-domain join, or just fixing the auto logon?


ALH
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Guys,
Background # 1
after a couple of years with Windows Home server 2011, I built a server using a big box filled with all those old drives and Windows server 2012 Essentials. After all, with only four or five PCs running Windows 7 Professional and Media Centre, plus Lights out and My Movies, how hard could it be to server software? (At this point, spare me the lectures about RTFM. Please)
After a couple of months, it was a mess. Not backing up, and I couldn't even assign users or install/reinstall non-OEM software updates.

Background # 2
So I started from scratch using 2012 Essentials R2, and the Microsoft work around on skipping domain joining . So I now have two media centres, a work PC, and a low-power 24 hours always on PC which I can MANUALLY connect to the server. Backup seems to be working fine at the moment.
But before I (slowly and carefully) load and configure up Lights out and My movies, how do I get the two media PCs to AUTOMATICALLY log onto the server and access the music/FTA TV/video et cetera shares please.

Here and Now
[Media file architecture and backup strategy :All the important content (i.e. music, ripped Blu-ray and DVD ISOs master copies from the R2 server) gets copied using FreeFileSync to, firstly the physically separate WHS 2011 server box alongside complete with revision control. And then to the low-power 24 hour PC, and the music gets copied to the hard drive plugged into the back of the router. PCs boot drives all have restore turned on and boot drives are backed up at least every 24 hours.

(If it's pertinent, multiple backups are required because I am a high-level quad dependent on others to do the physical disk swapping to rip CDs/DVDs/Blu-rays. Re-ripping is not an option. In fact I'm using Windows 7 Professional because I can Remote Desktop in to any of the PCs from my main PC. Which is set up for use by a high-level quadriplegic. The other PCs require poking keyboards with sticks and manoeuvring electric wheelchairs to get to - which I try to avoid out of sympathy for the furniture.)

Wisdom Required
It seems to me there is a couple of different ways I could configure the PCs to be able to "see" the media shares on theR2 server e.g., using aftermarket software such as the Microsoft auto login (which I've just found) but this illustrates two problems:
    a. Is this the best solution or are there other implications I'm not aware of, and
    b. Do I need to reverse the regedit command and join the domain 1st to take advantage of server features?

And in fact am I better off paying a bit more time to RTFM and using the advantages of joining the domain? Which way do I jump? Domain or non-domain?

Fundamental decision needs to be made, but the bottom line is I need to automatically log onto the shares on the server,
suggestions gratefully accepted.
Cheers,
Allan H

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For the auto-login, there should be absolutely no issue doing that, domain joined or otherwise.

If they're not domain joined, then the same way you were doing so before.

If they are, you'll want to edit the registry directly. https://support.microsoft.com/kb/324737

There is also a "DefaultDomain" registry entry as well.

There is also a util somewhere to do this more securely.

 

 

If you're not joining the domain, then either make sure that you have matching usernames and passwords in the domain, for the HTPCs. Or use the Windows Credential Manager to cache a domain login on both of the computers.

Either way should ensure that you're able to access the shares without any prompting. And on the HTPCs, you can use "lusrmgr.msc" as long as it's Win7 Pro or Ultimate. 

http://techrena.net/windows-7-credential-manager/

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Look at the sysinternals autologon tool.  I found it to be the easist way to set up autologon. 

 

Recently I rebuilt my Server2012R2E box and found getting autologon to work properly was being difficult.

 

Just run this fill in your info and your good to go.

 

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963905.aspx

 

Edit:  Forgot the link.

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Guys,
thanks very much for those suggestions. Very much appreciated. I've always wondered what clicking the box "store credentials" when using the date desktop actually did.

 After much consideration we ended up turning off the requirement for a login password and username, and mapped the appropriate server folders locally. And saved the appropriate credentials for the media centre shared folders needed to logon at next boot up. All really simple stuff which has been around Which worked beautifully. It turned out the key was testing to make sure that I had the correct username/domain/password - which actually worked. All really simple stuff which is been around since XP. I just wasn't being careful or thinking.So I was happy. :)

Until I trashed the server five minutes later. As per the next post of mine :(
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

netplwiz.exe at a cmd.exe near you.  All you need, and there on all version of Windows since XP.

Unless you're on a domain. And then it doesn't work at all.

 

The systernals tool will work on a domain joined PC just fine, though.

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I've got both noted. Just at the moment however the alleged workgroup won't give me access to a shared printer, and I can't Remote Desktop into the media centre for some reason.

I'm going back to candles and bits of paper. I'm clearly unsuited to using anything that relies on electricity to work.

Cheers,
ALH

Edited by ALH
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I'm going back to candles and bits of paper. I'm clearly unsuited to using anything that relies on electricity to work.

 

Don't forget the Carrier Pigeons :)

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As for the printer, access at all or able to see it.

If you can't see it, change the computers workgroup to match the domain's name (eg, if the domain is "HOME.local", the netbios name would be "HOME", which is what you should set to "workgroup" for the system to). This should help with visibility/access issues.

 

If it's just not letting you access it, maybe check the "credentials manager" in windows, to see if it's cached anything.

 

As for the RDP, .... reboot both systems, maybe.

 

 

And yeah, I've had days/weeks like that. Where it feels like it would be easier to just smash and then toss everything and be done with it.

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If you can't see it, change the computers workgroup to match the domain's name (eg, if the domain is "HOME.local", the netbios name would be "HOME", which is what you should set to "workgroup" for the system to). This should help with visibility/access issues.

 

Go and shout yourself the biggest most indulgent ice cream you can find please. My work PC (which had a tantrum ending in a BSOD this afternoon) and the print server both just had their workgroup name changed. Then rebooted. Then I was able to add the A3 printer on the print server is a shared network drive. Just like that. Make that two ice creams you can shout yourself. A couple of minutes it took compares to the hours I spent chasing that one. Thank you.

 

any obvious errors or checks I can make for Remote Desktop in to the HTPC? No problem sharing the drives, just can't see what's stopping me Remote Desktop in.

 

On a slightly different subject - modern PCs have a design flaw.  This trend towards putting a vent on the underside of the PC. Either for a fan on the underside or an upsidedown power supply

Edited by ALH
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