Windows HomeGroups, WorkGroups, and Domains - CompTIA A+ 220-1002 Prof Messer





  • Is there any alternative to home group now that it isn't available on Windows 10? Also why would you use workgroup instead of Windows Domain? Is it a cost issue?



  • A Windows Domain is only available by having a Windows Server - so yes, cost is the main issue. On top of the Server license, you generally need user/device CALs as well, just adding to the cost.

    All that said, a Windows 10 machine is only allowed to provide File/Print/webpage services (via IIS) to a network of 20 or less. If you need other services, say a shared QuickBooks install, then you have to install that on a Windows Server licensed machine (hardware can be nearly anything), and purchase the needed CALs.



  • @mary said in Windows HomeGroups, WorkGroups, and Domains - CompTIA A+ 220-1002 Prof Messer:

    Also why would you use workgroup instead of Windows Domain? Is it a cost issue?

    Workgroups are good for smaller networks that don't need to rely on domain services. Usually domains are used for centralized management. There are ways to centrally manage workgroups or systems that are not domain joined, but generally the accepted industry way is through Active Directory.

    Windows domain is really incorrect terminology. It is important to specify Active Directory vs Directory Services. There are alternatives to Active Directory which provide similar capabilities. The windows workstation would still view them as domain even though it isn't Microsoft's Active Directory.



  • @mary said in Windows HomeGroups, WorkGroups, and Domains - CompTIA A+ 220-1002 Prof Messer:

    Also why would you use workgroup instead of Windows Domain?

    Traditionally even Microsoft used to say that domains were only for companies with more than ten users. More realistically, I always say twelve.

    And really that's more of a different rule, which is that centralized management in general doesn't make sense till more of that size.



  • @mary said in Windows HomeGroups, WorkGroups, and Domains - CompTIA A+ 220-1002 Prof Messer:

    Is it a cost issue?

    Workgroup is "free" with your Windows 10 machine. Nothing to buy.

    Active Directory is a feature of Windows Server. So that has a cost of about $500 for a tiny company and around $800 for a full version with all the features and flexibility. If you are of any size, you need the latter and then you need a CAL for every user (or device but ignore that, it almost never applies) which is going to cost you $30 or more for every person in the company. It ads up.

    Add to that that you typically don't want to rely on Active Directory without having a failover option, that's another $800. Plus you need hardware to run the server(s) on. That's money too.

    If you already have servers and licenses, AD is pretty easy to justify. If you are building a whole infrastructure solely for it, it might be pretty hard to justify.



  • AD represents a need for a lot more skills as well. Workgroups are pretty trivial for anyone to manage. AD isn't hard, but it requires several more skills to deal with properly. And it represents a point of failure. As an MSP, a regular bit of work comes in from companies where AD has failed for whatever reason. AD migrations, AD upgrades, AD repairs are all big ticket consulting items that bring in a lot of MSP bread and butter. So MSPs tend to push AD pretty heavily because it sounds great, and Microsoft makes it sound like a requirement, and it makes loads of money. Without AD, clients could often manage their own networks or MSPs could do it in less time.

    Of course once you get to any size, this changes. But MSPs tend to deal with very small clients. And MSPs tend to have tooling in place that makes remote local user management just as easy as remote AD management. So the benefits tend to be less as well, simply because tooling to handle the former is more standardly available.



  • @mary said in Windows HomeGroups, WorkGroups, and Domains - CompTIA A+ 220-1002 Prof Messer:

    Is there any alternative to home group now that it isn't available on Windows 10? Also why would you use workgroup instead of Windows Domain? Is it a cost issue?

    "Home Group" was just a fancy name for network sharing without AD on Windows computers.