SBS 2011 migration error: “Cannot connect to the domain”

During migration to Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2011 you receive an error:

“Cannot connect to the domain”

“Verify that the domain name and log on credentials are correct, and then try again.”

Click the error away by pressing the OK button.

First thing to start with, make sure you entered all fields correct, if there was an error change it and try it again.

Second possibility is your network adapter need some time to load the configuration, it times out the first time, wait 30 seconds after hitting the OK button and try again.

Then third thing to try press < shift > < F10 > on the SBS 2011 this will open a command prompt, try if you can do a “ping sourceserver” and ping “sourceserver.domain.local”.

Fourth possibility the date or time differs with the source server. Make sure the date and time are set correctly on the source server. If this is all right go back to the SBS 2011 installation press or go to the command prompt if open from the previous step. At the command prompt type “date”, verify that the date is right, then type “time”, verify the time is right. You can enter the right date and / or time manually or sync it with the source server with the following commands:

“Net use * \\sourceserver\netlogon /user:domain\administrator”

The command will prompt for the administrator password you have to enter. After that enter this command to synchronize the time with the source server:

“Net time \\sourceserver /set /y”

Fifth option if time and date are right it could that the time zones differs, check the time zone on the source server and then on the SBS 2011 installation press or go to the command prompt if open from the previous step. At the command prompt type “control timedate.cpl”, make sure time zones are equal.

If these steps won’t help you could look at the setup log for errors that may point you to the right direction. Press or go to the command prompt if open from the previous step. At the command prompt enter “notepad “C:\Program Files\Windows Small Business Server\Logs\SBSSetup.log””

Posted in Blog, SBS 2011 by ronnypot at June 3rd, 2011.
Tags: ,

24 Responses to “SBS 2011 migration error: “Cannot connect to the domain””

  1. Mark says:

    this is right on. I fat fingered the date and tie config and blew by it and could not login. date and time did the trick.

  2. yan herndon says:

    I fired up task manager, opened notepad and put sourceserver in the hosts file. Worked fine after that.

  3. Phil says:

    Thanks very much, I didn’t even think to check date again. I stupidly had set it up one week out. Only 4 hours wasted! Cheers again.

  4. eran sasson says:

    see that it also can happen if the old server password is not strong / complex .

  5. bruun says:

    great post. You have saved me a headache, for sure!

  6. mkastern says:

    This information is spot on. Great post, great help and thank you.

  7. Thanks for that. Fourth possibility was the answer.
    Thank you


  8. Graeme says:

    I am experiecing the problem of joing the destination server to the domain. I can ping the source server, but I cannot ping sourceserver.domain.local.
    Any Ideas? USing Shift F10 I can open a share on the source server which requires a loging and the login lets me in….

    • ronnypot says:

      it sounds to me that the problem is the server is not using the right dns server. Can you do an ipconfig /all and check if it is using the source server as dns server?

  9. Moonlight says:

    Thanks Man….. you saved my day..

  10. Nick says:

    So, I am encountering the same issue. However, it is not a time date setting. Not a password complexity issue. Can map a drive to the source server no problem, so, not an auth issue. Any other possibilities? Everything I’ve come across on the internet points to a time/date issue, effectively making it a kerberos/token issue. That’s definitely not the case here. Are there any other possible causes for this?

    • ronnypot says:

      I would suggest you take a look at the log files as mentioned and see if this does give you some useful information. If not you might try to create a post on the SBS Technet forum, there are a lot SBS professionals helping other people with problems.

  11. jordo2323 says:

    Thanks so much! It was the time and date in my case. Huge help.

  12. Great post, saved me some time during migration. Thanks

  13. I’ve noticed on a different note that SBS 2011 migrations don’t like the HP Smart Start CD, my migration failed twice when using the CD and then went through fine without the Smartstart CD.
    It stopped at the SBSSETUP just after the above screen (in your post) and said that the service was not working and had to close.

  14. Steve says:

    Finally found out that I had a duplicate ip address assigned to the destination server. It was an old wireless router set with a static ip that was outside of the dhcp scope of the source server. changed it and i’m off.

  15. Brady says:

    Here’s what worked for me, although it’s a little odd:

    Set the primary DNS server on the source server to the IP address of the destination server.

  16. vincent verlinden says:

    for me the problem was that the destination server wasn’t on correct date !
    after i change this, the setup continue.

    thanks all !

  17. ggpwnkthx says:

    My issue was that the router’s IPv6 address was being used at the primary DNS for an unknown reason.

    To remedy this, I just started up explorer, navigated to the network interface and turned off IPv6. Reset the interface and everything worked.

  18. R.Corey says:

    I have not have had any luck with moving past this error.

    I’m able to successfully ping using the following:
    ping sourceserver
    ping sourceserver.domain.local
    ping domain.local

    I synchronized the time from the sourceserver and made sure that the time zone was correct.

    My last attempt was to physically unplug the modem to the Internet, disable to firewall and click next only for it to give me the same error.

    Another thing I tried earlier was to restore a backup to the new hardware but that only went into a loop of rebooting after the Windows boot screen started.

    I don’t know how to read, let alone look for errors, in the setup log 🙁

    With all of that being said, is it possible to do an installation from scratch on the new hardware and move all the user accounts along with their information (settings, emails, etc.) to the new hardware without doing this type of migration?

  19. DataDawg says:

    Same issue. Had to disable IPv6 and Set the primary DNS server on the source server to the IP address of the destination server.

    Thanks Guys. This post was a life saver.


  20. Rafael Matias Silva says:


    Unable to changing the date and time of the server. Thanks for the tips.

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