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Creating a Workgroup

In terms of Microsoft networking, the alternative to the domain is the workgroup. The workgroup is a collection of computers (in many cases, a peer-to-peer network that does not include a server) that share resources such as files and a printer. The workgroup certainly isn’t a true alternative to the domain. When you have a very limited number of clients, you can use the workgroup model for networking the computers. However, adding a computer running Windows Server 2008 to this type of small network might be an expense that is difficult to justify.

When you install Windows Server 2008 on a computer, it is (by default) assigned to a workgroup called WORKGROUP. So, creating a workgroup and adding the server to the workgroup is really just a matter of configuring the clients and the server with the appropriate workgroup name.

The steps provided for adding a computer to a domain also apply (in part) to adding a peer computer or a server to a workgroup. Again, the process varies slightly among the Windows operating systems but is somewhat consistent. For example, to add a Windows Vista computer or a Windows Server 2008 computer (which is similar to adding a computer running Windows XP or Windows 2000) to a workgroup, open the computer’s Systems Properties dialog box and then select the Computer Name tab (this is the Network Identification tab on a Windows 2000 computer).

On the Computer Name tab, click the Change button. In the dialog box that appears, select the Workgroup option button (if necessary) and then type the name of the workgroup. Then click OK. The computer is welcomed to the workgroup that you specified.

Computers in workgroups (including servers) can share files, printers, and other resources. A computer running Windows Server 2008 can provide a workgroup a number of specialized services, such as an Internet connection, remote access/VPN, and basic firewall protection.

Client operating systems such as Windows Vista and Windows XP provide a network wizard. This wizard can be used to create and configure the small network workgroup. After a peer workgroup has been created, clients and servers can be added to the workgroup as needed.

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