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I recently switched a small office (12-14 workstations and a server) over to some newer server hardware. In the process of the switch we upgraded from Windows Server 2000 to Windows Server 2008 R2.

Due to simplicity and the administrative demands of the office being relatively low we changed over from domain controller to a workgroup as well. With hardware and software that is approximately 10 years newer we are now seeing some speed decreases across the network during peak hours and occasionally when the office only has 1 or 2 workstations up.

Would the switch from a domain controller to a workgroup result in a significant loss in performance?

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Take @Jason's comments to heart about a domain. You mentioned that you are seeing speed decreases across the network. Could you clarify? In ANY network, if only 1 or 2 workstations are running with new hardware and you're having a performance loss, something else is going on. – Nixphoe Jul 21 '11 at 1:33
The office runs a dental software which uses a very old database structure (not SQL). Basic tasks (pulling up reports, logging in, pulling up appointment data, etc.) are unusually slow (slower than on the 10 year old hardware) and often result in blank screens while waiting for something to load. Are there any other things I can check to see where I might be running into some bottlenecks? – Phil Koury Jul 21 '11 at 15:27
I would ask another question based more around what you're asking there. Your original question has already been answered. – Nixphoe Jul 21 '11 at 16:05
up vote 5 down vote accepted

First off, why would you move them off of the domain? 12-14 workstations can still be managed much easier with group policy and centralized authentication. It just seems like you created a whole lot more work for yourself.

As for performance, yes there can be some drastic performance issues. This is especially true if you converted your users' profiles or kept them using domain profiles. There are probably lots of things left over pointing to a DC which need to timeout. You're going to have to redo all of the profiles, which is not a small amount of work.

Do you still have your DC around? If so, spark it up. Join the new server to the domain, dcpromo, transfer your fsmo roles, demote the old DC, redirect DNS to the new server, and rejoin all of the computers back to the domain. It's much better than any alternative.

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The reason for doing this was because there really isn't much management necessary in this office. Each workstation was switched from a domain to workgroup setup. I do have the DC still here but doing what you mentioned above is slightly more than I was comfortable with from the get go. I could certainly learn how to do everything but it was really just an attempt at simplicity of setup not so much management. I also wasn't sure what the compatibility issues between 2000 and 2008 would be if any. – Phil Koury Jul 21 '11 at 1:44
I hope you take no offense at this (I think I come off as a jerk in writing...I don't think I really am one), but I recommend you research what you need to so you can do the job right or hire a consultant who already knows this stuff and can do it for you. Not wanting to put the time in now shouldn't be an excuse to setup a network that's more difficult to maintain in the future. – Jason Berg Jul 21 '11 at 1:54
No offense taken. I appreciate it. I will look into how to switch things around based on your information above. – Phil Koury Jul 21 '11 at 2:05

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