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Domain / Active Directory.. do I need it?


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Hi there,

I'm running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition on my main computer which acts both as a server (file, print, web, ftp, multimedia, etc), and also I use it as my workstation (coding, programming, talking to people on MSN, web browsing, music, etc), and its held up pretty darn well.

Now I have a laptop, 2 Windows XP clients and a Windows 2000 client.. and I was wondering if I should set up a domain or not? My current config is network shares set up for each user on the clients, same username and passwords as what are on the server, etc. Should I think about setting up a domain now?? Would it have any performance hit on the main system?

thanks in advance

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I've only got a PC and laptop, the PC runs 2000 server and i setup a domain, mainly for research and practice, but it has made my life alot easier, sharing files between the 2 machines, just the 1 user account between the 2 instead of different ones on each machine.

Just depends on personal preference, most of the people I know have 1, doesn't slow anything down, makes life a bit easier and shares are allways there waiting to be used, only 1 machine needs a user being setup...

Might as well try it :thumbup

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  • 2 weeks later...
I have Win 2k server at home running my network. I have a firewall setup on the server, then all the Pc's have to log on to be able to use the net... It saves virus and cookies...

Yep, the fundamental princible of having a network is security and a making sure users go through a firewall to access the net is highly important - for home or business :)

Good work. With 2003, I can get the academic version (obviously) but I wonder if I could purchase the same version for home (after all, its the same thing in essence hehe)

How come you didnt buy a Router with a firewall / ADSL modem built-in? (or the Cable equivelent if you have cable)

This is how I've got it at home, although I'd love to be running a server with this also. One PC doesnt have any virus protection, as its more a "lan gaming pc" (old, but it works hehe) and my main pc has NIS 2004 running on it which is fine and contains all the important stuff anyway.

The router has wireless capabilities (seems to do everything hehe) b/g styles which I'm only gonna use if I get the centrino laptop I'm hoping to get.

Anyhow, I'll stop rambling now.



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lol :lol:


My adsl router has firewall, and wireless (locked down) so i can roam with out logging on to the server !! :D

Then the server also has a firewall to protect those beneth it - the server has 2 network cards.. certain users dont have web access... but me being wireless means i can take the server down and still have the web !! :D

For my next trick... i need another wireless connection on the "internal" network so i can connect there too... Cos me firewall stops all connections between the two network cards... except the routes i have applied! I still have a few bugs to iron out tho :blushing:

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My 2 cents,

If you use Windows Server 2003 as a DC (install AD on it), keep in mind that Windows will disable write-behind cache for safety (struggled to reenable it :)) and this will will make your hard disk and your machine a lot slower (it takes ages on my Win2K3 DC now to startup on P4).

So, if this machine is a dedicated server, it's OK, but in your case, as you mentioned, you use the same machine as workstation, which is not feasble in such case.

Moreover, the most notable features of installing AD is the centerliazed administration and Intellimirror features (software, data, and settings can follow users), and as far as I can tell, these features are of most use on large networks, you may find your self faced with a lot of work rather than simplifying matters, e.g you must install and maintain a DNS server which may not be required on such small network, also creating accounts or installing software on such network is a simple process and doesn't need installing AD to just have a single logon.

AD will be a must-have in a few cases such as installing Exchange Server or Enterprise Certificate Server on your network :).

Actually, installing AD on such network will pay for itself only if you really want to know about Microsoft Networks, you'll learn a lot more than you may have ever thought :).

Anyway, this is my own point of view.


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