There are many ways to share resources between Windows devices. In this video, you’ll learn the differences between Windows HomeGroups, Workgroups, and Domains.
<< Previous Video: Installing Applications Next: Windows Network Technologies >>
There are many different ways to connect Windows systems together to share files, printers and other resources. In this video, we’ll look at the difference between homegroups, workgroups, and domains.
As the name implies, a Windows homegroup is designed for use in the home. It allows a group of trusted systems to be able to share files, printers, and other resources between each other. This only works on a single private network, and you cannot expand it beyond the capabilities of that single network.
To share information across multiple networks, you may want to look into using a Windows workgroup. A workgroup allows you to create a logical grouping of devices. So there could be a marketing workgroup, a shipping and receiving workgroup, and an accounting department workgroup.
One of the challenges of managing a Windows workgroup is all of the credentials are stored on the local computer. Each device is a standalone system. So if you have a username and password that you use to gain access to print to a printer in the accounting department, you could have a completely different login to gain access to files that are located in shipping and receiving.
This is why, if you’re part of an organization, you’re probably not using a homegroup and not using a workgroup. You’re instead using a Windows domain.
A Windows domain is a centralized system that allows you to manage users, devices, and anything else on the network, all from one central authentication service. Windows domains can be used in organizations with a handful of users, or it can scale up to the largest organizations that may have thousands of individuals and computers that need to be managed.
Homegroup was originally designed as a way to easily share resources between trusted computers. This was available in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. It was initially included in Windows 10, but you’ll notice now that homegroup has been removed from Windows 10, and you won’t find any homegroup capabilities in the latest versions of any Windows 10 editions.
Whenever you connected devices together on a homegroup, they could easily share pictures, videos, music, documents, printers, and other devices. Inside of Windows, you would configure your network profile to be the home profile. And once you enabled that capability, you could turn on the homegroup functionality. This gave a single password that everybody on the network could use.
Once all of the devices were configured to be on the home network, you can then create a homegroup. Instead of having a separate username and password for every single person on the network, you instead have a single homegroup password that you can share between systems. Once a system was configured with the homegroup-shared password, it would then have access to all of those shared resources across the network.
Windows work groups are designed for small organizations or small groups of people that need to share information. Each computer can be added to a workgroup. And the user names and passwords to gain access to resources on that computer are not shared with any of the other devices on the network. This means that the username and password to gain access to resources on one computer could be very different than the username and password used to gain resources on another computer. This means if you want to change your password, you have to change that password on every single computer associated with this workgroup.
To add, remove, or manage the work group settings, you would go to the control panel under System and make all of the changes under the Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings section.
If you’re in a business or an organization, then you’re not going to use a homegroup or work group. You’ll instead use a Microsoft domain. That domain exists as a centralized database of information called the Active Directory Domain Services. And from the central database, we can add all of our users and authenticate all of those users to any other resource on the network. This means if someone needs access to any share on any server that’s located anywhere on the network, they can authenticate and confirm rights to those resources, all from this centralized database.
This database not only contains the user information, but it also contains information about the devices that are connected to the network. This allows the system administrator to manage any aspect of the operating system and update or install applications that may be running on those systems. To add or remove a device from the domain, you go to the control panel under the System applet.
If you’re connecting a computer to a Microsoft domain, you have to make sure you’re running an addition of Windows that supports that connectivity. You would not be able to use a Windows Home Edition to join a Windows domain.
To be able to add that computer to the domain, you would go to the control panel system. Under the Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings, you would choose to Change the settings. You would see, under the System Properties, the computer name, and there is a wizard that allows you to join a domain or a workgroup. So we’ll click that Network ID.
Then we select that This computer is part of a business network and I use it to connect to other computers at work. It then asks, Is your company network on a domain? And you can choose that it uses a network with a domain or without. And in our choice, we’ll choose With a domain.
It then mentions that you will need your user name, your password, and your user account domain name. You might also need your computer name and your computer’s domain name. If you don’t have that information, you’ll need to check with your local administrators to see if you have the right information.
From there, you need to provide your user name, your password, and the domain name to be able to add this system to the Microsoft Windows domain. Access to a Windows domain must be granted by the administrator. So if your credentials do not allow access to the domain, you will need to check with your local administrator to get the proper access.