Windows XP Home cannot join domain, but can access shares

Windows XP Home has been crippled by Microsoft, so it is not capable of joining a Windows Server domain. But one can still access domain shares even if not part of the domain (Like one always has been able to with the net use command).

If one configures the workgroup of WinXP Home to have the same name as the domain, then one can access domain shares like XP Home was part of the domain:

  1. Make sure the user on XP Home has a matching user in the Windows Domain (Same username and password).
  2. Open Control Panel and double-click the System-icon.
  3. Select the Computer Name-tab and click the Change…-button.
  4. Change the Workgroup name to the name of the Windows-domain (Not the domain-server name).
  5. My Network Places should now contain the shares available in the domain, and it is possible to map a network drive to a share within the Windows domain.

Note one can also access shares and printers without needing to change workgroup. When doing a Map Network Drive…, then make sure to include the domain-name when specifying the remote share, and the user must be specified as “username@domain-name”.


Note even if XP Home can access shares on the Windows domain, then it doesn’t become member of the domain along with the benefits of group policies and central user management. If the domain password policy causes the password to expire, then it is not possible to change the password from XP Home.

Related Advanced User Management in Windows XP Home
Related Enable security tab to change folder permissions in XP Home