I develop software on a window 7 workstation. It's the only machine that is sure to be powered on during the day. I have some pcs and virtualbox vms that run windows 2008 r2 for testing but none are regularly powered on and none act as domain controls etc.
Working in what I guess is still termed a workgroup mode, where each pc more or less maintains it's own login credentials works for me most of the time. I can connect and share files as needed. But sometimes I would like to use AD etc like most of my client's networks do, just to make sure things work as expected.
It would be ideal to boot a virtualbox vm with a domain controller at my main workstations boot time and have it in action all the time but I think that is hard to set up. I could config and run one of the physical servers as a dc but I don't want an extra machine on all day when I'd only need it's services occasionally.
Can I set up a domain controller with AD etc on a separate box or vm and boot it only when I need it's services? If I did that, what would happen I boot my main windows 7 box and don't have the 2008 server running? Would it boot up minus any ability to network to other machines, which I do on a regular basis? I could join and unjoin the domain if it's booted, I suppose. I don't think that'd involve a reboot of the joining pc?
As you can see this is an area that I have only very light exposure to, and while I could and will experiment with options, it'd be really cool if someone could tell me if this is a well known scenario and there is a pattern that it not too onerous to implement for a network newb.