Active Directory: Joining a Computer to a Domain at the Command Line


The Active Directory domain join of a computer can be done using either the GUI or using command line and PowerShell.

In this tutorial, I will explain how to join a computer to a domain using the various command lines that are:

  • DJOIN for off-line joining
  • Add-Computer in PowerShell

It is also possible to do it using the GUI.


Before joining a computer to an Active Directory domain, it must be ensured that it can communicate with a controller, which implies a proper IP configuration (DNS server pointing to a controller). In order to join, you must also be a local administrator of the post and have an account in the domain authorized to join computers.

Junction with NETDOM

The NETDOM commands are a set of commands that allow the management of the Active Directoy, they are present natively on the server versions of Windows.

The command must be executed on the extension to be joined to the domain.


netdom join <computer-name> /domain:<domain> /ud:<account-domain-admin> /pd:<*|password-account-ud>

computer-name : name of the computer to join the domain
/domain : Active Directory domain name
/ud : Domain account authorized to attach a computer
/pd : * Enters the password or enter the password in the clear.
/OU :it is possible to indicate the OU
/reboot : restart of the station after the junction

Example: Joining the SRVCORE2 Domain to the lab.intra Domain

netdom join SRVCORE2 /domain:lab.intra /ud:LAB\administrateur /pd:*


DJOIN: offline junction

The djoin command allows to join a computer offline, this junction is done in two steps:

  • Provision of the post in the Active Directory with the generation of a metadata file.
  • Join the computer to the domain with the file.

Here are some examples of use cases:

  • Deployment of a computer station by an outside provider to avoid providing an Active Directory account.
  • Limit the number of people allowed to join computers to the domain.
  • Deployment of Nano server.

Provision of the computer account, command to run on a domain controller, or from a domain member (minimum WIndows 7) with a domain Admins member account:

djoin /provision /domain <domain> /machine <ComputerName> /savefile <Folder\FileName>

domain : Active Directory domain name
machine : computer account name
savefile : location and name of the file containing the metadata.

Example :

djoin /provision /domain LAB /machine NanoSrv /savefile C:\SrvNanoJoin

djoin provision

Check that the Computer account and the file are present.
djoin provision result

On the extension to the domain, copy the file and enter the following command to join the extension:

djoin /requestodj /loadfile <Folder\File> /windowspath <WindowsFolder> /localos

requestodj : junction to offline domain at next reboot
loadfile : file containing the metadata
windowspath : Windows installation folder, it is to use the following variables in the command% systemroot% or% windir%
localos : target the local operating system

Example :

djoin /requestodj /localfile C:\SrvNanoJoin /windowspath C:\Windows /localos

djoin on host

At the next reboot the computer will be joined to the domain.

Junction with PowerShell

On the computer to join the domain, open a PowerShell command prompt and enter the following command:

Add-Computer -DomainName <domain.lan> -Credential <Account-user-domain>

DomainName : Active Directory domain
Credential : User account with the rights to join a computer to the domain

At the validation of the order, enter the password of the account, once the validated command restart the computer for the taking into account.

Example :

Add-Computer -DomainName lab.intra -Credential [email protected]

Join with PowerShell

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