Can Windows 10 Home join a domain?

In case that you’ve been curious if can Windows 10 Home join a domain, you’re fortunate as we’ll dive into that in this article.

Windows 10 Home is ideal for the average user who doesn’t require anything extra in terms of networking and security.

Although there’s not much of a difference between the Home edition and its counterpart Pro, users do miss out on certain perks.

For example, Windows 10 Pro features better privacy tools, remote desktop, enhanced networking, and security features. When it comes to joining a domain, unfortunately, this feature is only for Pro users too.

There are no ways for a Windows 10 Home computer to join a domain. The same can be said for Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8/8.1 users.

So, what do you need to do for a domain join? Should you tweak the system properties? Are there any shady ways of doing it on Windows 10 Home?

If these questions are in your mind, stick around to find out their answers.

Table of Contents

Can Windows 10 Home join a domain?

What does it mean to join a domain

Joining a domain means connecting your PC to a single network where other PCs are connected and becoming a Windows client. Networking of this nature can be traced back to Windows NT.

The network allows users to share a single database that can be accessed from any of the computers in that domain.

The entire network has one PC as its center of command that is capable of monitoring the activities of the rest of the computer systems through the active directory.

Domains are ideal for workplaces where every employee does not have their designated PC.

Which hardware device connects your network to the internet

Being logged into a domain is the same as logging into a new Windows server, except that you can log out after doing all of your work.

The changes made would be saved and can be accessed again using the same log-in process from any computer.

However, there are certain requirements for joining a domain, and having a Windows 10 Pro system is one of them.

You’ll also need the domain address, username, and password. Usually, these credentials are provided by the domain controller. All you have to do is join it by using the information provided by the host.

Ways to join a domain on a Windows computer

As mentioned previously, there is no way for a Windows 10 Home PC to join Windows domain. The only way is to upgrade to Microsoft Windows 10 Professional or to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, so shady methods are out of the question too.

The reason behind Microsoft not giving this feature to Home users is to better make Professional and Home distinct in terms of performance and usage.

Windows Pro is tailored for professional use, which is why it’s ideal for offices, universities, companies, etc.

Microsoft makes this distinction to not overcharge Home users, who are mostly novice users. Organizations, on the other hand, are more in need of the domain feature.

Laptop computer with windows 10 wallpaper

How to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro

So, how do you upgrade to Microsoft Windows 10 Professional? You can either upgrade on your existing Windows 10 Home computer or you can buy a new system with pre-installed Windows 10 Pro.

As you guessed, both of these methods cost you money, but is there any other way around it?

Well yes, if you have any of those old keys from Windows 7 or 8 laying around, you can use them for a Windows update for free.

Otherwise, shifting from Windows 10 Home to Pro requires you to purchase a product key. Without key activation, you can only run Pro for 30 days on a free trial.

Windows will ask you to purchase the key for $99 once the trial ends.

The second option is to purchase a computer that comes with pre-installed Windows 10 Pro. Since the system requirements vary from user to user, we cannot say that it would be a cheaper way out.

So, upgrading to Windows 10 Pro by purchasing a product key seems to be the most hassle-free method.

Once you’ve bought your new product key, follow these steps:

  • Open your Windows Settings;
Can Windows 10 Home join a domain

  • Click on “Update & Security“, then on “Activation“;

  • Click on “Change Product Key” and enter the 25-character key given on your product key in the window;

  • Windows will now guide you through the upgrade. Once the procedure finishes and the PC restarts, make sure you check the activation screen and confirm you’re running Windows 10 Pro.

How to join a domain on Windows 10 Pro

Now that you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 Pro, the next step is to join the domain.

Follow these steps:

  • Launch the Windows Settings app;

  • Click on “System“;

  • At the bottom of the left panel, click “About“;
  • Click “Advanced system settings” under “Related Settings“;

  • Switch to the “Computer Name” and then select “Change“;

  • In the new window, select “Domain” and then type your preferred domain name;
  • Click “Ok“;

  • Switch Windows will now ask for the username and password. Enter the credentials and then hit “Ok“;
  • Windows will now ask you to choose between Administrator and Standard User. Leave it on default i.e. Standard User;
  • A prompt will now require you to restart your Windows 10 PC. This is needed for the changes to take effect on your system.

Once your PC restarts, you’ll find it to be a bit different because the device is now registered on a domain.

You can verify it by accessing Settings>System>About. Every change will now be saved in the domain’s database and can be accessed using the same credentials and domain name, even from another PC.

Now that you’ve learned how to join a domain, the last tutorial is on how to log out of it.

How to log out of a domain

Logging out of the domain and accessing your PC’s original files or programs can be done through the lock screen.

Just make sure you save your progress before switching back to the local Microsoft account.

  • Restart your Windows 10 PC or sign out through the Start Menu;

  • Click on “Other user” on the bottom-left;
  • Type your computer name followed by a backslash, then your username. For example, if your computer name is Windows10XYZ, and the username is Alex, the input should look like “Windows10XYZ\Alex”;
  • Type the password and hit enter.

You can also avoid this hassle by simply typing “.\” in the box. Windows will only ask for your username and password to log in to your local account.

Wrap up

Networking has never been easier before, thanks to the domain feature of Windows 10.

Though there aren’t any ways to use the feature on Windows 10 Home, upgrading to Pro shouldn’t be a hassle if you have an activated license and the product key.

We hope this guide helped you understand a thing or two about joining a domain from a Windows 10 device.

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