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I need to understand how a network works:

  1. Several PCs running Windows XP
  2. One server

The PCs are all network connected, as well as the server.

Each computer share the logins.

I need to understand what happens if I take off the server. Can I still login in each PC? Is the username:passwords on the server or in each computer?

My final goal is to take off the server from the network and I need to know what is the server doing. What can he be doing?


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Most likely your computers are using Active Directory to share login information. You should still be able to log in with cached credentials, and you can try it by disconnecting your computer from the server. Just do a Google search for Active Directory to learn more about it.

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Can I see which services are being used by the Active Directory? – Donald May 18 '10 at 8:20

I'm curious why it is that you wish to remove the server from the network. While you can use the cached Active Directory credentials (if indeed that's what is being used, which it probably is), you will lost the ability to centrally manage the network, and may run into other problems if the server is doing other things which you are unaware of. Network printing, file storage, group policy... all those things are dependent on a server. You can probably find out some of what the server is doing by going to the control panel and seeing which services are installed and running.

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A server is very expensive. There's no big use for the server since all backups and collaboration are going online. Thanks for the answer. – Donald May 18 '10 at 8:20
In that case, it sounds like you would be able to remove the server if you don't mind not having any central management or authentication. This means that users will not be able to share their login across multiple machines, etc. It would probably be best to migrate users' profiles to local accounts if you will be removing the AD server completely. How many computers are you using? If it's more than a few, you may find it more trouble than it's worth, but for a small amount it may work fine. – nhinkle May 19 '10 at 1:34
thanks for the reply. Only 7 computers. The computers are not shared so I guess a Admin account and the user account in each computer must suffice. – Donald May 19 '10 at 17:37
Sounds like that would work for that number of computers. Best of luck! – nhinkle May 20 '10 at 7:25
Thanks for your advice. – Donald May 20 '10 at 9:11

Before you do anything, are you actually logging in to an active directory domain? I dont see anywhere you mentioned it, and I'm wondering if you don't know about the network, you may not know what is going on here.

Are you sure the accounts arent just cloned on all the PC's? What OS is the server running? If you can login to the server, check what roles exist on it, and let me know?

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