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Managing Active Directory does not always have to be complicated. If you are spending more time trying instead of doing, then it's time to look at something else. For nearly 20 years, AD admins around the world have used one tool for day-to-day AD management: Hyena. Discover why
A server is simply a collection of hardware (a box) that runs a server operating system. Usually the hardware is far more redundant and efficient than what you would find on a typical PC. With that said, you could always install server software on a PC if you were so inclined (though I wouldn't recommend it). Sometimes the hardware has been tested and approved by big name server software developers such as Microsoft; which has servers that are certified to run MS Server 2003 Data Center Edition. A domain controller is a server, and one of it's functions is to act as a domain controller. The term domain controller is used to describe a "role" the server plays, not to differentiate it from one server or another. Much like you can have a server perform the role of being a print server, file server, exchange server, etc....sometimes a single box will perform many roles.
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