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What are the benefits of Active Directory over Windows NT 4.0 directory services?

Can you provide a simple, easy to understand description of what the Active Directory is and how it is different from the old NT security model?

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Active Directory marked a shift in the way that Microsoft manages directory services, moving from the flat and fairly restrictive namespaces used by NT4 domains and moving to an actual hierarchical directory structure. There's a sample chapter from the Windows 2000 technical reference available here that will give you a good introduction into the major differences between the NT4 and Active Directory directory services.

This was first published in November 2005

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