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Windows domain

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Title: Windows domain  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Group Policy, Active Directory, Encrypting File System, Advanced persistent threat, Windows Store
Collection: Computer Networking, Microsoft Server Technology, Windows Architecture
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Windows domain

A Windows domain is a form of a computer network in which all user accounts, computers, printers and other security principals, are registered with a central database located on one or more clusters of central computers known as domain controllers. Authentication takes place on domain controllers. Each person who uses computers within a domain receives a unique user account that can then be assigned access to resources within the domain. Starting with Windows 2000, Active Directory is the Windows component in charge of maintaining that central database.[1] The concept of Windows domain is in contrast with that of a workgroup in which each computer maintains its own database of security principals.


  • Configuration 1
    • Domain controllers 1.1
    • Integration 1.2
  • Active Directory 2
  • Workgroups 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5


Computers can connect to a domain via LAN, WAN or using a VPN connection. Users of a domain are able to use enhanced security for their VPN connection due to the support for a certification authority which is gained when a domain is added to a network, and as a result smart cards and digital certificates can be used to confirm identities and protect stored information.

Domain controllers

In a Windows domain, the directory resides on computers that are configured as "LAN or they can be located in different parts of the world. As long as they can communicate, their physical position is irrelevant.


Where PCs running a Windows operating system must be integrated into a domain that includes non-Windows PCs, the free open source package Samba is a suitable alternative. Whichever package is used to control it, the database contains the user accounts and security information for the resources in that domain.

Active Directory

Computers inside an Windows NT 3.x/4) machines could only be viewed in two states from the administration tools; computers detected (on the network), and computers that actually belonged to the domain. Active Directory makes it easier for administrators to manage and deploy network changes and policies (see Group Policy) to all of the machines connected to the domain.


Windows Workgroups, by contrast, is the other model for grouping computers running Windows in a networking environment which ships with Windows. Workgroup computers are considered to be 'standalone' - i.e. there is no formal membership or authentication process formed by the workgroup. A workgroup does not have servers and clients, and hence represents the Peer-to-Peer (or Client-to-Client) networking paradigm, rather than the centralized architecture constituted by Server-Client. Workgroups are considered difficult to manage beyond a dozen clients, and lack single sign on, scalability, resilience/disaster recovery functionality, and many security features. Windows Workgroups are more suitable for small or home-office networks.

See also


  1. ^ Northrup, Tony. Introducing Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Press, 1999. ISBN 1-57231-875-9
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