Last Updated April 18, 2008
Some administrators have reported issues with Windows XP workstations that are joined to a Windows 2003 Active Directory domain. These workstations are part of the domain, however, when a domain user tries to authenticate and logon to the domain from one of these workstations they cannot login and receive the following error message:
Windows cannot connect to the domain either because the domain controller is down or otherwise unavailable, or because your computer account was not found. Please try again later. If this message continues to appear contact your System Administrator for assistance.
This error is received even though the computer account for the workstation and user account for the user both exist. This error may appear when a computer is replaced with another computer with the same computer name without first deleting the duplicate computer name from Active Directory before joining the new workstation to the domain with the same duplicate name.
This symptom may either appear immediately at the first try, or after a few successful logons. The cause of the error is usually related to a security identifier (SID) issue. Another possible cause for the error is that the computer account for the workstation was accidentally deleted from Active Directory.
Another cause for the error is using Norton Ghost or any other similar disk cloning software. This happens when the administrator has cloned one XP machine and reproduced it to many other new computers without first using and running Microsoft's SYSPREP utility.
In most cases, the error typically relates to the computer account, not the user account in Active Directory.