Joining domain; "credentials in conflict" error

Ken Willett kwillett at
Mon Sep 24 14:04:02 GMT 2001

When joining an NT or W2K client to a domain, one may run into the error
"Credentials are in conflict with an existing set of credentials". This has
been noted in previous posts, and occurs with both Samba and Windows PDC's
(it's really a client problem, not a server problem).

Recently I struggled with this while reimaging machines using Ghost, because
immediately on login, the client would authenticate to the server for
purposes of mapping a network share. Once that has happened, attempting to
join the domain will fail with the message given above. Sometimes unmapping
the drive(s) will get around this problem, but this doesn't always seem to

My recipe now, which is simple enough, is:
1. Unplug the network cable from the workstation.
2. Log in as administrator, ignoring any network-related messages.
3. Plug the cable back in.
4. Join the domain.

If the cable is inaccessible, and you are using DHCP, you can do an
"ipconfig /release", log out and back in, and then do an "ipconfig /renew"
before joining the domain.

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