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I have two books on Windows Server 2003 and in each of those books there is scarcely or no information about computers working in a workgroup environment.

I'm looking for a book that has at least _one_ chapter dedicated solely to the _workgroup_ environment (and, possibly, a comparison of the workgroup environment and the domain environment). If additionally, this chapter had some example scenarios or some information on how /does the user authentication process occur in the workgroup environment, that would be awesome.

It seems very hard to find any information about how Windows workgroups work. This is why I am asking for resources that discuss how workgroups work. I am not asking for opinions, just the name of a resource or a list of multiple resources that address the topics I listed above for workgroup neworking.

I would just use a more current networking technology for my small office of 4 computers, but as I understand it, the newer Windows compatible networking technologies like Active Directory require a Primary Domain Controller that controls user accounts and authentication and if it goes down (remember, small office, can't afford to buy another computer to use as a Backup DC) no one can log into their user accounts. Is this correct or am I mistaken?

So this question is two parts, both fact-based, not opinion based. Part one, what are some resources (book, webpage, etc) that meet the specifications above. Part two, is it true that the more recent Windows networking methods all require a Primary Domain Controller and if the PDC goes offline and you have no Backup DC no one can log into their accounts?

Thank you. Please reopen this question.

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closed as not constructive by Xavierjazz, CharlieRB, Dave M, Diogo, Randolph West Jul 5 '12 at 20:59

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If I had a Windows network with a Windows Server, I wouldn't even waste a single thought on Workgroups. I don't know about 2003, but setting up a domain in 2008 takes like 5 minutes. And, like with a lot of things in the Windows ecosystem, you don't have to understand anything to set it up, just click Next ;) –  Oliver Salzburg Jul 5 '12 at 19:30
I agree with @OliverSalzburg, it's super easy to create a domain, and totally worth it too. –  imtheman Jul 5 '12 at 19:33
The principles behind Active Directory, DNS and DHCP (you don't need to know anything else to get started, and even DHCP is not required) are easy enough to figure out, and you can go from there. Reading is one part of it, but you learn so much more from working with the products, and specifically breaking them. So much of AD is dependent on DNS, for instance, which is not immediately evident in the theory. –  user3463 Jul 5 '12 at 19:40
How do you define 'network' in your third paragraph? Are you looking for centralized authentication? Perhaps you should give up on finding a book, and just ask your questions here. –  Zoredache Jul 5 '12 at 19:54
@OliverSalzburg, while just running dcpromo and clicking next might give you something that appears to work, without an understanding of DNS, you will almost certainly make a mess for yourself at some point in the future. I have had to clean up many broken domains where people followed that simplistic click next suggestion. –  Zoredache Jul 5 '12 at 19:56