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Gary GordonFlag for United States of America

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How to accomodate three groups of users in a small network

I am looking for ideas for a network design that would accomodate nine users in three groups in a small network.

Unfortunately, 6 of the 9 computers in question are Windows XP Home.  The office manager would like to add a server to this network but she would also like the ability to isolate the 3 groups from each other, at least on some level.  

I am aware that XP Home users may not join domain but I would imagine that the could communicate with a server that is not a domain controller.

Can I isolate the user groups and still use a Windows server as a file and print server for all the users?  I know this is an unusual request.  
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debuggerau
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If I were to organize the client PCs into 3 distinct windows workgroups, would the server be accessible to all or is it necessary that they all belong to the same workgroup?
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And YES all workstations can utilize the File/Print Server as long as permissions are set correctly. Easy way to do this would be to create the same user account that the users logon to the workstations with on the server. Make sure the username and passwords are the same and they should be allowed to access resources w/o authenticating (provided permissions are correct).
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Rob Williams
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RobWill: I have a client who just purchased a $500,000 Accounting/Inventory Application and $20,000 on Servers and Network Equipment from us. Yet they refuse to upgrade their 16 XP Home workstations to XP Pro. Just though I would comment because I totally agree with the route you suggested but sometimes I just don't understand people...
It's bizarre isn't it, and I don't blame ggordon777. I know it's usually someone in charge of the budget, that also made the original decision to by home and save $50 at that time. We all run into it. When it was NT and Windows 95 there was some confusion, but introduction of "home" was supposed to help clarify.
How dependable are the Win XP Home to Win XP Pro upgrades when the intent is to join these machines to a Domain?  
The upgrade package works well, and you can actually do a clean install with the upgrade disk, but unless the system is relatively clean I don't recommend it. Systems with cluttered registries, or traces of malware often have issues with the upgrade process. It's also recommended to disable anti-virus and malware protection programs during the actual upgrade.
Always best, though a lot more work, to do a clean install. Having said that I have upgraded quite a few clean systems, with no problems at all, and very easy to do.
Correction... I intended to give debuggerau and simjrg assists and Robwill accepted solution.  Can some tell me how to correct this?

Thanks to all of you for all of the ideas.  they were all helpful.

i expect that I will propose the expense of Windows XP Pro fresh install with the upgrade license and then create a standard Domain.
You can click the "report abuse" link in your original question area and explain in the box provided and a moderator will look at it, but no need ggordon777, I am quite content.

Good luck with the upgrades, I suspect you will find the domain much easier to manage, more secure, and a gradually increased savings in support time and incident costs.

--Rob
RobWill (and everyone else),
Anyone can click on the "Report Abuse" button to get this fixed.
The Asker has already indicated the mistake, so there won't be any malicious intent associated with it.

btw - I sure wish they would rename that link to something that makes sense.

Vic
Agree about the button labeling. I am sure a lot of folks are intimidated to click  :-)
Thanks
Thanks Gordon, for "going the extra mile". Appreciated.
Cheers !
--Rob


ps- Thanks to Vee_Mod as well  !!