Friday, June 18, 2010

Domains and Impersonation

What happens when your Windows Service tries to impersonate a local user while joined to a Domain? 

Does “.” still represent the local machine or does it represent the default domain?

To find out the answers to these questions I fired up Virtual PC 2007 and installed Windows Server 2003 R2.  Normally I’d have gone with Server 2008 but suspect that the target environment is running 2003.

First read this Wikipedia article on Windows Domains then follow this excellent tutorial for setting up Active Directory.  Why Active Directory (AD)? AD is basically the primary database for Windows Domains.  Even though it’s technically a directory service, not a traditional RDBMS.

So, to answer the original questions, Impersonation works just fine whether or not the computer is joined to a domain.  And “.” still means local machine.  Yippeee!

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