ChiefsPlanet Mobile
Media Center>Moving computer from domain
crayzkirk 11:07 AM 02-18-2024
My friend has a computer from her business that she got after retirement. It's on the company domain. It's also Windows Enterprise. We are going to downgrade the computer to Windows Professional and remove it from the company domain.

So, I would imagine that if we just go and change it from domain to workgroup, the old domain user and files are not going to be accessible. My plan is to use an external drive to copy all of the user files off, get the original Windows key from the registry and/or bios, create a Windows 10 install USB drive and start over.

Suggestions? I'm computer literate however my experience is writing software, not configuring Windows systems.

Thanks in advance,

Fish 12:10 PM 02-18-2024
You won't be able to transfer a Windows key from Enterprise version to Pro version. You would need a new Win10 Pro key. You probably wouldn't be able to remove it from the domain without credentials for an account that is authorized to do so. Depending on their IT setup.

Just manually backup data to an external, create a Windows USB installer, erase the drive, and install Windows fresh. Either buy a cheap Windows key online somewhere, or just use it as is. Windows doesn't actually need to be activated to work. It is completely functional in an inactivated state, the only single limitation is an inability to set personal background image. You could also hack it with a Windows KMS app if you're feeling Y'arrrrrr.

I would also recommend Win11 over Win10. No reason to stick with 10 at this point.
crayzkirk 02:01 PM 02-18-2024
Thanks for the info; it's a Surface and I have a cheap Windows 10 key ready to go. I read somewhere that you can retrieve the key from the bios as many of these systems have an embedded key when sold. The company will then image them with a standard Enterprise image and give them to the employees. The logon and domain passwords are the same for the user. I saw something about creating a new user and running a command which allowed copying the files to the new user. Unfortunately, files stored on the domain OneDrive are no longer accessible and the Office apps are warning that they will no longer work.

I figured that it would be a copy, format, fresh install. Was hoping there was some secret way to do this and save some time. It will probably go pretty fast as it's an SSD instead of HDD; now I just need a flash drive to download the image to and make bootable. Yeah, I thought of starting with 11 however the system came with 10 and I'm unsure if the 10 key will work with 11.

Thanks again for the info. I guess we will see if it automatically activates.
crayzkirk 06:36 PM 02-20-2024
Adding to the existing thread...

So, thinking I should create a local admin account prior to this. Then, when we change the domain account to a workgroup account, I can change the password and we can access all of the files.
Fish 09:42 PM 02-20-2024
Windows 10 keys will work for Windows 11. But again, it must be the same type of version of Windows when exchanging keys. You cannot use a Windows enterprise key to license anything but another enterprise install. But you can use a Win10 Home key to license Win11 Home.

Depending on the setup and existing group policies, you may not be able to simply change the domain account to a workgroup account and then change its password. It shouldn't let you if their IT department is at least somewhat competent with their security. I'm still doubting you'll be able to even leave the domain without credentials for a domain account that's authorized to do so. There should be group policies in place to ensure authentication only comes from specific domain controller(s) or at least cached account credentials. But their IT setup might be dogshit, so who knows.
crayzkirk 09:32 AM 02-23-2024
Yeah, I got an external hard drive and we copied the user to it. I'm going to verify we can access the files from another computer and then just format a thumb drive, download a copy of the latest Windows 11 Pro image, make it bootable, format the drive in the computer and start fresh. It has all of the corporate programs installed which are useless to us now.

Thanks for the info; I figured that there were some deeper layers of security which would give us headaches.