in a domain the directory resides on computers that are configured as domain controllers. a domain controller is a server that manages all security related aspects of user and domain interactions, centralizing security and administration.
the steps in the authentication process are as follows
- the user logs on by providing logon information, such as username and password, and windows xp professional forwards this information to the security subsystem of that local computer.
- windows xp professional compares the logon informations with the user informations in the local security database, which resides in the security subsystem of the local computer.
- if the information matches and the user account is valid, windows xp professional creates access token for the user. an access token is the users identification for that local computer. it contains the users security settings, which allow the user to gain access to the appropriate resources on that computer and to perform specific system tasks.