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How can I get my server to be the remote desktop server without having it join the domain?

How can I get my server, which has not joined the domain, to be the remote desktop server?

I have three servers in all (Windows 2003 servers); two are domain controllers and one is an ISA Server 2004. I have Terminal Server license running on the second domain controller. The ISA server is not part of the domain, but is the one I would like to run the remote desktop to the license server. I know how to set it up so I can log in from the public IP and have done so, but I can't get it so that I can place the group from the license server with all the names that allow the Terminal Server in. I have set up Terminal Services, and it works on all servers. My problem is being able to use the names and place that group that I have set up on the domain controllers so that I can log in to the license server, but all the actions take place on the ISA server. All servers are in the same IP block. I can ping each server from every other server. The ISA server allows the user to browse the Internet. But I don't want to join the domain with the ISA server in order to set that group on the ISA server. Is this possible?

Also, I know the ISA server is set up right because I can log into the ISA sever from my public IP address and I am using the same admin password and account I use when I browse any server. It is just not part of the domain I made the default workgroup. Must I join the domain in order to add that group? Or can I add the Terminal Server group without joining the domain?

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Simple answer is "Yes, you must join the domain to use a domain group for authentication." It does NOT have to be a domain controller, and it does not need AD. BUT to be an effective Terminal Server it has to be a domain, not a workgroup, and joining the existing domain is a lot more sensible that creating a second domain and establishing trust relationships.

This was first published in October 2005

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