Q

Seven reasons to move from a workgroup to a domain

I have a Windows 2003 server running in a workgroup environment. I have shared drives and can see them by mapping to them using the /ip addressshare name method. However, I cannot map to them by using the /servernameshare name process -- I get access denied.

I also get access denied when I try to browse the workgroup in its entirety from the client machines. The server will browse the network. If I switch off the server, the other computers will browse the network. I have static IP addresses in the 10.0.0.xxx range and a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0

I can ping the server and browse the Internet using the machine using WinProxy. All machines are set to use the server as a DNS and Gateway machine. WinProxy then uses the DNS gateway as 10.0.254, which is the IP address of our router.

Is it a DNS problem or a security problem? I have tried creating a local account on the server for the users of the client machines (which are a mixture of XP Home and XP Pro -- hence the workgroup). The server is set to use the gateway and DNS server of 10.0.0.254, which is the router for our broadband.

It sounds to me like it is a combination of the following factors:

1. Mixing XP Home and XP Professional is a bad idea. I have never seen it cause anything but heartache and would strongly encourage you to move to XP Professional only. Doing so will allow you to move to a domain, removing the likely cause of your problem (as well as any number of other problems you might be having).
2. I would consider implementing WINS in addition to DNS. While you "can" run Windows 2000 and Windows XP without NetBIOS (and thus without WINS), I've yet to see what I consider a successful implementation of it. WINS gives you a good name resolution backup to DNS.
3. Verify that the DNS server is updating with resources properly. Since you aren't running AD, you aren't going to be able to take advantage of dynamic registrations, etc. so you need to manually ensure this is happening (this would not be an issue if you were running AD).
4. Verify that all systems are using the same workgroup name.
5. Disable the computer browser service on all but two computers, one of which is your server.
6. Verify that you can connect to the share from the server itself using the user account you specified.
7. Verify that you can connect to the share from a client using the following username syntax: Servername/username.

I can't encourage you strongly enough, however, to move away from a workgroup and to a domain. I think that alone would completely eliminate this problem.

This was first published in April 2005
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