Server 2003 TS - Can't login when Domain Controller unavailable


Who be dat?

Hi everyone,

I'm a programmer by trade who has been thrust into a bit of a system admin
role of sorts.

Anyway, at our company we have a central office with 3 plants located
remotely. The closest plant is 8 miles or so away. As such, each plant is
connected by a T1 line. I'm fairly new to our company so I'm a bit hazy on
the network layout. As I understand it, the company is using a Domain
within the main office while the plants are using Wins Resolution with plans
to change the entire system to a full domain in 3-5 months. At each plant,
there will be some terminal server machines setup. The problem is,
sometimes the T1 line between the plants and the main sometimes goes down
requiring the attention of Bellsouth. One plant in particular is

Anyway, when a T1 line goes down that means the plants system's are no
longer able to connect to the domain controller at the main office.
Something I noticed the other day while I happened to be at one of the
plants with one of the T1 lines down was the fact when this occurs was it's
not possible to log into Terminal Services using a domain account (I'm not
sure if a local machine based account worked or not...). I simply got an
error message saying something like "Unable to login through terminal
services. Domain controller unavailable." or something like that. I was
able to login through the console just fine though (i.e. right into the
computer instead of through Terminal Services).

This is unacceptable. Is there someway to allow TS logins when the domain
controller isn't available? I had a hunch something might be available to
do this through group policy. I looked. If anything was there, I didn't
see it.


If it's not possible to do this with a domain account, is it possible to log
into a machine account through terminal services without specifiy the name
of the machine?

I know you can login by using the following format:

USERID: MachineName\Userid
PASSWORD: password

However, because of a process we are using (we login to two terminal
machines at the same time, one is a backup, if one fails the thinclients
jump to the backup machine but it must be able to login with the same
userid/password) I can't insert the machine name into the userid field of
the login prompt. It would be nice if I could use local_Machine\userid as
the the userid so the login process would automatically fill in the machine
name but I can't find a way to do that.

Any suggestions would be great.


Chris Smith

Vera Noest [MVP]

I would install a domain controller in the remote site.

Vera Noest
MCSE, CCEA, Microsoft MVP - Terminal Server
TS troubleshooting:
*----------- Please reply in newsgroup -------------*

Who be dat?

Yeah, that will be done sometime soon.

However, for the time being I need a solution to this. Anyway this can be


Chris Smith

Vera Noest [MVP]

I'm not sure, but I don't think so. This can be changed for XP,
but as far as I know not for servers.
From "Explain" on the GPO setting in

Computer Configuration - Administrative templates - System - Logon
"Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon"

"Determines whether Windows XP waits for the network during
computer startup and user logon.
Note: For servers, the startup and logon processing always behaves
as if this policy setting is enabled."

What you should realize is that without contact with a DC, you
loose security (cached credentials), you loose your profiles and
home directories and Group Policies are not applied. Taken
together, this can leave your Terminal Server in a state varying
from wide open to unusable for your users.

I know of no other and certainly no faster way to solve your
problem than installing a second DC.
Vera Noest
MCSE, CCEA, Microsoft MVP - Terminal Server
TS troubleshooting:
*----------- Please reply in newsgroup -------------*

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