Ah the joys of network administration

It was well overdue.  My machines were getting to be a pain to back-up and one of these days a hard drive is gonna crash and I am going to be screwed.  Oops, it happened, the day before Christmas 2004 – just as I was finishing my last touches to my cool first christmas DVD!


So the simple goal was to get all of the "MyDocuments" from each machine for all my family onto one machine where it could easily be backed up periodically.  Seems really simple.

But it wasn’t.  As I started to play with various admin UI and learned about how I could redirect users profiles and create roaming profiles etc. I found these seemingly bizzare connection issues.  Machine A connects fine to B but C can’t.  They are all on the same domain (which the wizards keep forcing to MSHOME regardless of what you tell it to do) and they were working fine before.

Come to find that maybe I need a domain controller.  I have avoided it so far but maybe now was the time to take the plunge.  The company store wants $200 for Win2k3 server and I thought that was ridiculous for "Cost of goods".  Its indicitive of a loss of trust by Microsoft of its own employees… and that’s another discussion.

So I went and bought a 1GB memory stick (for <$100) and picked off Win2k3 off of the public server and got a key from the itweb site.

I then in stalled win2k3 and attempted to get a DC (Domain Controller) up but found I needed to register my domain to complete the process.  After some research, I decided to go back to winxp pro and try again to figure out my shareing problems.

The situation that I think deceived me was my experience within the microsoft company in which I always run within the context of a domain.  Our accounts at work are named domain\user so naturally I figured that if you weren’t in a domain, your domain was your machine name because this is how users are presented in the user manager tool.

See the SelectUsers.png image.

Yet when I tried to add users from other machines in order to grant them permissions on my files, I was unable to…

See the locations.png image.

This naturally led me back to thinking I somehow needed a DC.  I knew there had to be an easier way but I couldn’t find anything that really explained what I had wrong.  Asking a friend about this, he said I needed a DC and if I used a non-standard domain root I could get the CD set up ok.  So I reinstalled win2k3 and tried it again – this time with the domain TheStaabFamily.Sk8ter.

This worked and I thought I was home free till I actually tried to join the domain with my other computers.  It didn’t work and it appeared that there needed to be some trust relationships estaplished with the .root domain and that certain data needed to be added to my ActiveDirectory.

This discuraged me.

So I went back to winxp pro and this time I tried to systematically look at my machines for any pattern why it didn’t work….

HOME1\Administrator – pwd=x

HOME2\Administrator – pwd=x

HOME3\Administrator – no pwd

Ah, could it be that file sharing between HOME1 and HOME2 worked because their users had the same name and password?  I changed the admin password to HOME3 to x and whalla- it all worked!

So the lesson appears to me that User accounts within workgroups don’t really have a domain – or if they do it is the Workgroup domain which is NOT shown in the name of the account.

Thus HOME1\Joe = HOME2\Joe = HOME3\Joe as long as Joe on each machine has the same password!

May my learning experience help you somehow!

BTW I learned that to show you how to view the security tab on a file’s property dialog you need to adjust your folder properties to turn off the "Use simple file sharing" setting.


About sanfords

Ex Microsoft Dev for 20 years. Currently retired at my ranch in Idaho near Kooskia. I like coaching Chess for kids so let me know if you are interested in those services.
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