Domain versus Workgroup...What do I have?

Posted on 2005-05-13
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
Hello All,

I have recently taken over a small network of about 50 computer and 3 servers.

The person who used to be responsible for the network referred to it as being a workgroup and asked if I was going to change it to a domiain.

From what I can see it appears to be a domain. Who do I know? and how do I change it to a domain from a workgroup? My servers are 2000 Advanced server and 2003 server. My workstations are Windows 98 and XP. My XP systems show to be logging into a domain name like and all my Windows 98 systems say workstation.

Question by:Steviek411
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    if you are loggin in to a domain, IE, then your are on a domain already.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    When I am at my server and I try to log in it is showing the domain name called workgroup....
    My 98 computers say workgroup this right?
    LVL 67

    Expert Comment

    From your server, click Start->Run->dcpromo <Enter>
    It could be that the domain is housed on the 'other' server...
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    right click my computer, select properties, select computer name, click change.
    Either domain or workgroup will be selected.

    It is possible you are in a domain which for some reason was called workgroup....
    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    Hi Steviek411,

    You say that you've recently taken over a small network... what is your role with the company?

    Before making ANY changes to your network environment, I strongly suggest that you either seek the advice of a local consultant who can help you manage your network, or that you begin the process of learning about network environments.  

    I don't mean to sound short here... but if you are responsible for a network and don't understand the concept of a domain the you are headed for disaster.

    You can continue to ask questions on EE or other places that will provide short solutions to your individual question... but networks really require planning, testing, maintenance and management in order to keep the 50 or so workers who rely on that network working efficiently.

    Just my opinion...

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    If in the server (or workstation) login screen you are able to choose domain (although only one may be availibe in the dropdown list), then the server is in domain, and like sweatbeast said, the domain may be named "" and thus the domain dropdown list shows domain named "WORKGROUP". Workstations have at least two options: domain(s) and local computer.

    To see find domain controllers for the domain, use "netdom" command which is included in Support Tools. (You may install Support Tools from the original installation CD, folder \SUPPORT\TOOLS, file SUPTOOLS.msi).

    The command syntax is "netdom query DC" and it will list the domain controllers of your domain. "netdom query PDC" will show the Primary Domain Controller.

    And my advice is: Do not run "dcpromo" just for fun like sirbounty said. Domain controllers (PDC's and BDC's) store domain information (users, groups, SIDs etc.) in the Active Directory and AD is installed on each DC (when member server is promoted to a DC, Active Directory is installed). So you dont just want to run "dcpromo" on a server that is meant to be a member server like a SQL Server or mail server.

    Even if you have a domain, workstations (W98 or XP) are not automaticly joined to domain, it must be done on each workstation by changing the network identifiaction in My Computer's properties. Sorry, I dont remember how to join W98 to domain (and I'm not even going to learn it... ;-)

    I wish you luck on you domain admin task! <grin>



    LVL 1

    Author Comment


    I do know what a workgroup and a domain is. But I just see things that keep conflicting with each other on this network.

    For example:
    1. If I log into my workstation (XPP). The choice of domains it gives me are Workgroup.
    But if I go to System Properties> Computer name> it shows that I am logging into a DOMAIN named
    When I log into the domain I get all the rights I should get. As if I was on a domain. But why is it that when I am logging into it, it doesnt show that I am loggin into Why just Workgroup? Even my computer name says

    2. The same as above but this is if I log in locally as administrator on the PDC.

    3. If I go to Active Directory for Users and Computers on my PDC it shows

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    probably what happened is the domain is named "workgroup". You never log into a workgroup as the administration is de-centrilized and every thing is managed at the resource itself. Your DNS namespace is and your computer name is myname with a FQDN of

    Just who ever set up the infrastructure confusingly named the domain as "workgroup".

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    ahh....Now I'm understanding......

    So how can I change the domain name from WORKGROUP to

    Before anyone jumps up and down screaming....I do know that this can cause many MANY issues onto itself. I just want to know where to look.

    LVL 4

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