switching from Workgroup to Domain...

Posted on 2005-05-01
Last Modified: 2010-03-18

I've got 5 pcs (2 winXP Pro, 3 win XP Home) that I have always run as a workgroup. All talk via wifi to a Linksys router, then DSL, then the internet. Because I'm a programmer, and I need to work with Exchange Server, I plan to reformat PC#1 as a SBS2003 box. I have MSDN Universal.

1. Can Win XP Home boxes be part of a SBS 2003 domain? If not, How can I install upgrade from Home to Pro without losing all my installed apps.?
2. Are domains and workgroups mutually exclusive as far as any one PC is concerned? I want all 5 pc's to be be able to network together with minimum hassle (workgroup), but I need at least Exchange and one client PC some of the time (domain)
3. If I change over to domain, do I have to turn on both the server PC and my main notebook just to get email?
4. Can I/should I reinstall Zone Alarm Pro, CA Anti Virus and Webroot Spy sweeper on the new SBS 2003 install?
Question by:thePrisoner
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    1.Win XP home edition can't be part of a Windows Domain, but it can still access the network resources, but you won't be able to manage it in a centralized way, like Xp pro. Check some tips for upgrade at

    2.Not really sure what you mean by mutually exclusive.

    3.You must have the email server up and running...

    4. You should have security software installed in the server, watch out for the antivirus software, many of them have special editions to run on MS Servers! Regarding the firewall, you will have lots of trouble to get a firewall working in a Domain Controller, because it needs lots of open ports.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    1.  Like he said above it cannot be configured to be on a domain.  You can download a program that will allow you to connect to the domain from home. .  The only problem is that Windows XP home edition does not have policys.  So if you were planinig on setting up policys you would have to upgrade to Windows XP Pro.

    2.  Not sure what you are asking for #2 as well.  There is not much of a hassle in regards to connecting the computers together in a domain.

    3.  Normally You would have your server always running.  In order for a client to logon to his machine the server would have to be on.  From there to get onto the Internet the server would have to be on because it provides the client with the DNS.  If the client is getting his email from your exchange server it would have to be on in order for the client to contact the server and get his emails.

    4.  I would definatly install some antivirus on the server.  I would not worry about a software firewall on the server.  Insure you have a firewall in place bettween your LAN and your Internet connection though.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    If all you wanted to do was setup an exchange server to provide the users with email.  

    You could leave the PC's as a workgroup and they will still be able to access there email from your 2003 exchange server.  

    Author Comment


    I thought I needed to run Exchange Server on a SBS not XP Pro box. Are you sure?
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    You need to run it on a Exchange on a Server.  But you do not have to join all the computers in the workgroup to the domain to access the Exchange Server.
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    If the main reason for upgrading workgroup to domain is the use of a mail server, you could save a lot of money and network configuration by getting a simple mail server.
    LVL 79

    Assisted Solution

    You can also simply name your workgroup the same as the domain. XP Home can't joing the domain, but can still 'see' all the systems in the network browser. You can still connect to SBS shares and things by creating identical usernames/passwords that you have on the XP boxes..
    An XP machine does not have to be part of the domain to access Exchange.

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