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Choosing Between a Workgroup and a Domain

One aspect of a server’s configuration that you should have determined long before installing Windows Server 2008 is whether the server will be part of a workgroup or domain.

In a workgroup setting, Windows Server 2008 can supply services such as file and print services or function as an Internet gateway supplying IP addresses to the members of the workgroup using Network Address Translation. (For more about Network Address Translation, see Hour 22, “Using Network Address Translation and Certificate Services.”)

In a domain, a server can be a domain controller, can supply services such as DNS and DHCP, or can serve as a router or remote access server. Windows Server 2008 is built to provide services on a domain, so deploying this server software on a domain really gives you more bang for your buck (as opposed to running a workgroup using the services that can be deployed by Windows desktop operating systems over an expensive server).

In terms of quickly adding a server to a workgroup or a domain (if this server will be the first domain controller on the domain, the domain doesn’t exist until you add the Active Directory and Domain Services role discussed in Hour 8), you can access the System Properties dialog box by clicking the Provide Computer Name and Domain link in the Initial Configuration Tasks window. Click the Change button on the Computer Name of the System Properties dialog box and then use the Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog box to specify the workgroup or domain for the server.

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