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When should a workstation be a client and not just a workstation?

What is the definition of a "client?" When should a workstation be a client and not just a workstation?

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In networking terms a "client" is a machine that is requesting information from another machine that's acting as a "server." So when you open up the browser on your workstation and request a web page, your workstation is acting as the "client," and the machine hosting the web files is acting as a "server." Here's the fun part: if you've shared a folder on your hard drive, and another machine on your local network requests a file from that share, then your workstation is actually functioning as a "server," since it is fulfilling the request of another machine. This is an important distinction to keep in mind when you're deploying firewall software like the Windows Firewall that's enabled by default in XPSP2.

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This was first published in November 2004

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