Now that my blog is set up and I’ve mapped out my plans, I embarked on constructing my small Active Directory network.

I began by building a minimal network with just two devices. The setup included a Windows Server 2016 domain controller on an Intel NUC 5i5RYB and a MacBook Pro 13 laptop client running macOS Catalina that would be joined to it. These are the tools I had at my disposal.


To initiate this project, I engaged in some research, finding guidance on these online pages. While I didn’t follow these references to the letter, they offered some valuable insights:

Despite exploring these resources, I encountered a hurdle: I couldn’t get the Mac to join the domain through the GUI. It was a perplexing challenge, given I expected it to “just work.”

However, every story has its turning point. I discovered a simple terminal command that allowed the Mac to join the domain with ease.

Here’s an illustrative example of the command:

dsconfigad -preferred -a <computername> -domain -u administrator -p <password>

And here’s the specific command that succeeded on my network:

dsconfigad -preferred server.techsnazzy.local -a seanmbp13 -domain techsnazzy.local -u administrator -p <password>

Upon completion, I was greeted with a green light of success. Pure joy! 🎉


What I learned from this experience is that sometimes running a command can be more effective than wrestling with the GUI. I’ll need to investigate further why the GUI option didn’t work. Before finding success with the terminal, I also performed a few other configurations:

  • On the MacBook Pro, I disabled wireless and manually configured an IP address on the wired network port.
  • I manually added the DNS addresses and, with a preference for these Google addresses.
  • For good measure, I manually entered the WINS server address into the network settings.
  • I also attempted to configure it through the Directory Utility GUI, though without success.
  • Ultimately, as mentioned earlier, the command-line interface proved to be the most efficient method.

Next on my agenda is configuring a group of three Windows servers using VirtualBox on my MacBook Pro 16. Stay tuned!

Please note I originally posted this on my Medium blog. I am currently in the process of moving all my writings and any documentation I’ve ever written to here.