Windows XP: The OS With Two Faces

As you may remember from the beginning of Chapter 1, Windows XP Pro is designed to handle either of two different kinds of networks: workgroups (small, informal home or small-business networks) and domains (corporate, professionally and centrally administered).

This distinction becomes particularly important when it comes to user accounts.

  • A workgroup network.In this smaller kind of network, each computer maintains its own security settings, such as user accounts, passwords, and permissions. You can’t open files on another computer on the network unless its owner has created an account for you on that computer. Before you can access the files on the Front Desk PC and the Upstairs PC, for example, you must create an account for yourself on each of those machines. Clearly, setting up an account on every PC for every employee would get out of hand in a huge company.

    If you’re part of a workgroup network (or no network), you’ll find that Windows XP Pro gives you simplified, but less secure, access to user accounts and permissions, both of which are described in this chapter.

  • A domain network. In a corporation, your files may not be sitting right there on your hard drive. They may, in fact, sit on a network server—a separate computer dedicated to dishing out files to employees from across the network. As you can probably imagine, protecting all this information is Job Number One for somebody or other.

    That’s why, if your PC is part of a domain, you’ll ...

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