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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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The Domain

On a regular small-office network, nobody else on a workgroup network can access the files on your PC unless you’ve created an account for them on your machine. Whenever somebody new joins the department, you have to create another new account; when people leave, you have to delete or disable their accounts. If something goes wrong with your hard drive, you have to recreate all of the accounts.

You must have an account on each shared PC, too. If you’re lucky, you have the same name and password on each machine—but that isn’t always the case. You might have to remember that you’re pjenkins on the front-desk computer, but JenkinsP on the administrative machine.

Similarly, suppose there’s a network printer on one of the computers in your workgroup. If you want to use it, you have to find out whose computer the printer is connected to, call him to ask if he’ll create an account for you, and hope that he knows how to do it. You either have to tell him your user name and password, or find out what user name and password he’s assigned to you. In that case, every time you want to use that printer, you might have to log on by typing that user name and password.

If you multiply all of this hassle by the number of PCs on a growing network, it’s easy to see how you might suddenly find yourself spending more time managing accounts and permissions than getting any work done.

The Domain Concept

The solution to all of these problems is the network domain. In a domain, you only have a single ...

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