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I am confused with the differences between a domain and a workgroup. What are the differences between a domain and a workgroup?

migrated from skeptics.stackexchange.com Oct 8 '13 at 1:06

This question came from our site for scientific skepticism.

  • This is clearly a Windows question. Rather than putting it on hold, shouldn't we just transfer it to the appropriate stackexchange? – Avi Oct 7 '13 at 11:38
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    This question is completely off-topic here, please check our scope before asking a question here. – Mad Scientist Oct 7 '13 at 11:38
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An actual answer to this question is:

Domains, workgroups, and homegroups represent different methods for organizing computers in networks. The main difference among them is how the computers and other resources on the networks are managed.

Computers running Windows on a network must be part of a workgroup or a domain. Computers running Windows on home networks can also be part of a homegroup, but it's not required.

Computers on home networks are usually part of a workgroup and possibly a homegroup, and computers on workplace networks are usually part of a domain.

In a workgroup:

  • All computers are peers; no computer has control over another computer.

  • Each computer has a set of user accounts. To log on to any computer in the workgroup, you must have an account on that computer.

  • There are typically no more than twenty computers.

  • A workgroup is not protected by a password.

  • All computers must be on the same local network or subnet.

In a Domain:

  • One or more computers are servers. Network administrators use servers to control the security and permissions for all computers on the domain. This makes it easy to make changes because the changes are automatically made to all computers. Domain users must provide a password or other credentials each time they access the domain.

  • If you have a user account on the domain, you can log on to any computer on the domain without needing an account on that computer.

  • You probably can make only limited changes to a computer's settings because network administrators often want to ensure consistency among computers.

  • There can be thousands of computers in a domain.

  • The computers can be on different local networks.

From: Resource 1

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If your PC is on a large network at a workplace or school, it probably belongs to a domain. If your PC is on a home network, it belongs to a workgroup and might also belong to a homegroup. When you set up a network, Windows automatically creates a workgroup and gives it the name WORKGROUP.

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 (called Active Directory Service) 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.

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