HT set up home wireless network with laptop using active directory at work?
January 26, 2007 5:37 PM   Subscribe

HT set up home wireless network with laptop using active directory at work?

I'm almost certain this question has been asked before, but I can't find it.

I would like to set up a home network with the following hardware/characteristics:

One XP Pro laptop with wireless (HOME LAPTOP) and an external harddrive connected via firewire with our photo/music library.

Another XP Pro laptop with wireless (WORK LAPTOP) that connects to an active directory setup at work.

One wireless router with a connection to the internet. Both laptops use this to get on teh internet at home, but are not networked to each other.

I would like to create a home network that will enable WORK LAPTOP to access the external harddrive via the HOME LAPTOP over the wireless network. The WORK LAPTOP must be able to use the same user profile on both the active directory at work and the home wireless network. (That is, I don't want to use a different profile on the WORK LAPTOP when I'm at home.)

I seem to recall someone telling me that it is possible to do what I want as long as my home network has the same name as the active directory at work. I also seem to recall trying to do this once before and the HOME LAPTOP could no longer access the internet, though I did successfully see the HOME LAPTOP from the WORK LAPTOP. But, I've forgotten what got me that far and need to start over from the beginning (both HOME and WORK laptops are new laptops).

Can someone point to a step-by-step guide that will tell me how to do this?

Thanks, mefites.
posted by mdion to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Wow. You're asking a lot.

Typical AD security settings (default) allow for 10 cached logins. So, provided you login at work from time to time, you can use your cached credentials while your off the work network.

On the home laptop, configure the workgroup name to match that of the AD domain name (Right click "My Computer", select "Properties"->"Computer Name" tab->click "Change"). Create a user on the home laptop with the same username as the one you use on the work laptop (well, which is setup in AD -- Right click "My Computer", select "Manage"->"Local Users and Groups"->"Users").

Connecting to the access point should be relatively painless for both workstations and shouldn't depend on being work/home laptops. Just setup the wireless connection as a preferred network on both the laptops and they should connect when they're in range.

I'm not sure why your home laptop couldn't access the internet. That sounds like an issue that is not related to what you're trying to accomplish here. Clearly, you were connecting to the access point or your wouldn't have seen the other laptop. If you experience this again, try pinging a few addresses (, or your work -- "Start"->"Run"->type "cmd"->type "ping") and if you get a response from those addresses it sounds like you may have misconfigured the proxy settings in your browser.
posted by purephase at 7:01 PM on January 26, 2007

The way I set this up for school staff is to not make their work laptops members of the school Active Directory domain, on the grounds that they will probably be using it in diverse places, and forcing the laptop to rely on the domain's cached logons for access at home is just going to cause trouble. There's also a Catch-22 issue involving security certificates when attempting to connecting to secured wireless network in order to log on, that I'd rather not have to deal with.

Instead, I configure the laptops as workgroup machines (the workgroup name doesn't matter) and give them a "connect-at-work.cmd" file to click on, containing something like this:

set user=workusername
set pass=workpassword
net use * /delete
net use /persistent:yes
net use //mainworkserver/ipc$ /user:workdomain\%user% %pass%
net use N: //mainworkserver/users/%user%
net use O: //mainworkserver/data
net use P: //mainworkserver/programs

After this has been run, Windows does all access to server resources with the user's domain credentials, so there's no security problem. The downside from my point of view is that I can't push domain policy out to laptops. The upside from the staff's point of view is that I can't push domain policy out to their laptops :-)

For use at home, put a second script on WORK LAPTOP: connect-at-home.cmd, containing something like

set user=homelaptopusername
set pass=homelaptoppassword
net use * /delete
net use /persistent:yes
net use //homelaptopname/ipc$ /user:%user% %pass%
net use M: //homelaptopname/music

Then, on HOME LAPTOP, share your external hard drive with "music" for the share name. Make sure user "homelaptopusername" on HOME LAPTOP has a non-blank password, and you should be good to go.

If you need to apply different Internet proxy settings for home and work use, that can be done in the scripts as well.
posted by flabdablet at 7:18 PM on January 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks purephase & flabdablet! I guess I didn't give enough information--didn't know this would matter. Though I log in to the 'active directory' domain, I actually don't use the desktop sync (or any sync for that matter--I made them remove that part). I regularly use my laptop (using the work profile) at home/away from work and have no problem doing so (even for several weeks away from the office).

So, perhaps I am just logging into the work domain to access network resources at work (printers, server folders), but am not *actually* using the 'active directory' functions even though my domain is named "AD."

So, to slightly revise my do I set up my home wireless network with the options I describe above, assuming WORKLAPTOP logs into a domain at work?

Sorry for the confusion! :)
posted by mdion at 6:59 AM on January 29, 2007

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