I have a Windows-2003-Server with five computers (Windows XP) accessing it using a domain. I would like to remove the server and the domain and go straight to peer to peer (file sharing via a NAS). We are moving our email to an Exchange Hosting Provider. We no longer need people to log in from different computers and have their desktops available from any computer on the network (however, I do want to get those files off of this setup).

Any suggestions?

  • 2
    Sounds like leaps and bounds backwards in terms of functionality! Mar 25, 2010 at 17:48
  • It is way more than we need. This gives us a single point of failure. We need sharing of files and email. NAS gives us the file sharing, and Exchange will be hosted by another company. We have 5 computers and 20 employees. Only five people use the PCs. Everyone else is in the field. Why would I have a server? Seriously, I do not mean to rude, I ask this seriously. I do not need the security, or the printer monitoring, why would have to worry about administering it?
    – Mike Ruford
    Mar 25, 2010 at 18:42
  • You'll still have to do a bit of admin. of the NAS, and what about backup? OTOH, it sounds like it might only be a small amount of shared storage. Mar 25, 2010 at 19:43
  • Ward, I will be using the NAS to backup PCs (as well as file sharing). And MozyPro to backup the NAS. Not much data. Only 6-10GB.
    – Mike Ruford
    Mar 25, 2010 at 20:05
  • Instead of managing a single user account for each person, you'll have to do that separately on each individual PC and on the NAS to grant access, reset passwords, change passwords and so on. In essence what the domain provides is a single place to administer user credentials. Roaming profiles is an entirely different thing and not always something you want or need to use. You state persons using other PCs aren't happening but what if a printer breaks down? How do they print on another printer when needed unless their accounts are manually added on the other PCs too... May 26, 2010 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


Bad idea, managing User accounts and policies of even 5 users is much time taking now a days and with OS like 2k3 or 2k8 you get most of the functionality of what an independent system would give you.


You said "remove the server" - if that means basically tossing it out, then all you really need to do is remove the XP machines from the domain (change them to workgroup).

What about printers? Are you just going to have them locally attached, or access them with TCP/IP? With only 5 client machines, it should be ok to have them talking directly to the printer(s), but you might want to set up one lightly-used client to be a print server and get some of the monitoring benefits.

ADDED: Yeah, if you want the users to have the same profiles, you'll have to copy the domain profile over. For each PC:

  • create a local account for the user
  • log in to the domain as an administrator
  • right-click My Computer, select Properties, Advanced tab, click the Settings button under User Profiles
  • select the person's domain profile and click the Copy To button
  • browse to the Documents and Settings directory for the new local account, and for "Permitted to Use" select the local account
  • 2
    It's not quite as simple as that. If you just remove the users then they will be logging on with local profiles and so will no longer have access to their Domain profile and desktop. You will need to copy the users profile as well.
    – Sam Cogan
    Mar 25, 2010 at 16:51
  • Can you copy a users profile and then put it on their local install of Windows? What about email settings? Also, Ward, each PC has it's own printer.
    – Mike Ruford
    Mar 25, 2010 at 17:03
  • Do the users have roaming profiles?
    – joeqwerty
    Mar 25, 2010 at 17:37
  • First of all, thanks for the answers and questions. JoeQwerty, they do have roaming profiles.
    – Mike Ruford
    Mar 25, 2010 at 17:49
  • Will Ward's suggestion above copying the profiles over take care of the roaming issue?
    – Mike Ruford
    Mar 25, 2010 at 19:34

You must log in to answer this question.