"Network path was not found" when joining domain

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    This problem seems to be quite common, but after reading several suggestions from different forums to fixing it I still haven’t managed to get things to work.

    I’m trying to join a Windows XP Pro client to a Windows Server 2003 domain. After entering the domain name and clicking on “Change” in Computer Name Changes dialog box, I am prompted for a username and password. I enter a username and password (with administrator rights on the domain) but all I get is an error message saying: “The following error occurred attempting to join the domain ‘domainname.com’: The network path was not found”.

    The same thing happens with a Windows 2000 client when I try to join the domain (called domainname.com here; that’s not the real domain name of course).

    On the domain controller I’ve used dcpromo.exe to install Active Directory and DNS.

    I’ve added a new user to AD and made it a member of the Domain Admins group.

    The forward lookup zones in DNS shows two folders: _msdcs.domainname.com and domainname.com. The latter had six folders and three files in it at first: one State of Authority, one Name Server and one Host file. The Host file’s name is “domainname” and its data is the ip address (let’s say it’s of the Windows Server 2003 DC.

    I then added the client under domainname.com: the name is “clientname” and the data is the static IP address of the client (let’s say it’s I’m not sure if I’m supposed to add this manually or not.

    I’ve also added a reverse lookup zone to DNS and given it a network ID of 197.198.220 and pointed it to “domainname.com”. After that, I’ve added a PTR record with host IP number and host name “servername.domainname.com”. I’m not sure if this is correct.

    Then, I’ve manually added the client computer under “Computers” in DNS. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to do this manually either.

    “nslookup” from client gives this:

    Default server: servername.domainname.com

    Pinging with domainname.com from the client works, as does pinging with servername.domainname.com. Pinging with domainname alone does not work.

    Pinging the client from the server by IP works. Pinging it with clientname works only after I’ve manually added the records to DNS.

    “netdiag” shows no problems; DNS test passes.

    “net view domainname.com” from the client gives this:
    “System error 53 has occurred. The network path was not found”, although I’m not sure if this is even supposed to work.

    NetBIOS is enabled on the client and on the server.

    The primary DNS server address on the client is (the server’s IP). There is no secondary address. The primary DNS address on the server is the same IP. The secondary address is the DNS address given to us by the ISP.

    The weird thing is, I actually got the domain joining working yesterday for a while, but I couldn’t log in the domain from either of the clients. Netdiag showed that the DNS test failed, so I decided to remove the DNS and AD roles from the server and install them again. Now the DNS test passes but the network path is still not found.

    If there’s some required info that I’ve missed, I’d be happy to post it.


    – Jerry

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