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How to Add Windows 10 to a Domain

By Adam Bertram, Business News Daily Contributor

Windows 10 is a great consumer operating system with lots of useful end-user features; but it also provides a lot of functionality that business users will love as well. A business-ready operating system typically means being part of an Active Directory domain. As with any Windows OS later than Windows NT, Windows 10 can be easily added as a domain member. In this article, we go over a couple of ways to add a Windows 10 computer to a domain—both via the graphical interface as well as via the command line.

First of all, to add a Windows 10 computer to a domain requires a few prerequisites. First, you'll obviously need to have a domain to connect to. This requires at least one Active Directory domain controller that must be at Windows Server 2003 or higher. This should not be a problem for most businesses, but it is worth stating. Also, you'll need to have a user account that is a member of the domain. By default, any user account can add up to 10 computers to the domain. And finally, you must have Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise. Any of the consumer editions of Windows 10 cannot be added as a member to a domain.

Adding Windows 10 To A Domain Using The GUI

Let's first focus on adding Windows 10 to a domain via the graphical interface. To do this, you'll need to get to the Settings box. One way to do this is by clicking on the Search bar and typing in Settings. Once you're here, you'll then click on System.

Next, you'll need to click on About and then on the Join a domain button.

From here you specify the domain you'd like to join.

Then, you specify the username with rights to add a computer to the domain and click OK.

You then, optionally, have the ability to specify the user that will be using this computer.

And finally, you'll be prompted to reboot to finish the task.

Adding Windows 10 To A Domain Using PowerShell

This works fine but sometimes you need to automate this process or simply like the command line. There's another way and it's through PowerShell. By using PowerShell, you can greatly speed up the process of clicking through Windows and specify all the necessary criteria in one shot.

To add a Windows 10 computer to a domain with PowerShell requires using the Add-Computer cmdlet. This is a cmdlet that allows you to pass in all of the required attributes necessary that you provided in the windows above as parameters.

To do this, you'll first need to bring up the PowerShell console in Windows 10. You can do this by typing in "powershell" in the Search box, right clicking on Windows PowerShell and running as administrator.

Once you have the blue window of PowerShell up, you can now begin sending commands. We'll use the Add-Computer cmdlet.

To use Add-Computer to add the local computer to the domain requires, at a minimum, two parameters: DomainName and Credential. Each parameter is specified with a dash, the parameter name and the value.

Add-Computer –DomainName mylab.local –Credential (Get-Credential)

From the code sample above, you can see that we're again adding the Windows 10 computer to the mylab.local domain. We're also using the Credential parameter since we still need to specify an account with permission to add a computer to the domain. This requires a PSCredential object. To build this object you can use the Get-Credential command surrounded by parentheses. This tells PowerShell to run this command before running Add-Computer. Not that this will prompt you for a username and password.

Once this command runs, restart your computer and the task is complete!

Adding a Windows 10 to a domain is very straightforward. As you saw, depending on the context, there are a couple of different ways to make it happen. Be sure to choose the method that's easiest and most convenient for you.