Windows networking for dummies
April 22, 2011 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Help this Unix guy understand Windows domains, security and file sharing. I'm a software tester who's mostly worked with unix systems and unix file systems but now I've got to develop and execute a test plan for file sharing between Windows clients and samba servers running within Windows domains of various configurations. What are some good relatively quick learning resources that can get me up to speed?

I need tutorials of how to setup and configure windows domains using 2003, 2008 and 2008R2 and how to configure clients and servers into those domains. A decent overview of how windows filesharing works with information about authentication and authorization would be great too. I have a budget to buy books but not big time budget so I can't really dig through thousand page tomes on Windows Networking in time.
posted by octothorpe to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
IMHO, Microsoft's very own TechNet forums are a really great resource for problem solving. Rather than spend money buying books (which are going to be outdated sooner or later, such is the fate of computing books), I'd rather you spend your time installing an actual Win 2K8 server as a domain controller and everything, and simply tinker around with it.

Off the top of my head:
- Windows domains have one or more domain controllers, which take charge of authentication. It used to be that there were primary domain controllers (which would be the main server) and backup domain controllers (for failover purposes). These days, domain controllers mostly have equal weight in a network when it comes to network authentication and group policy propagation (accounts, group policies and profiles are synchronized between all domain controllers). This makes things more distributed and fault-tolerant.

- Authentication takes place using Kerberos (in the case of a Samba 4 server joining the domain, or acting as the domain controller). This may not apply for pure Windows-only domains, though.

- If you are conversant with Samba, then Windows file sharing should not be a problem for you. Configuration of shares is somewhat easier, albeit done through a GUI (this GUI is found in Computer Management, compmgmt.msc). The basic terms are still the same - NetBIOS/WINS server, share names, share permissions etc.

- Configuration of clients to join the domain is pretty straightforward. Configure the server as a domain controller. Join the client to the domain. You will be asked for a domain administrator password. After supplying that, reboot the client machine and it will be joined to the domain. What is taking place behind the scenes is that the domain controller "handshakes" with the client, and creates a machine account for the client. This ensures that the server/client know exactly who is on the other end of the connection. (My memory may be faulty here, but IIRC this allows for encryption of communications between the two, though I don't insist on this point).

If you want a dead-tree reference however, might I suggest something by Microsoft Press?
posted by titantoppler at 9:23 AM on April 22, 2011

For book books, look at Mark Minasi's series of Mastering <insert OS version here>. Great references that I have used in the past. Usually covers every part of every OS you'll be running into.
posted by deezil at 9:29 AM on April 22, 2011

Oh, and even though he doesn't have one on his page, look on Amazon for his 2008 stuff.
posted by deezil at 9:30 AM on April 22, 2011

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