Is it possible (and if it is, could you point me in the proper direction) to set up a Windows Domain server (active directory and all that stuff) on a FreeBSD machine?

I do understand that I need to use Samba (but not sure whether Samba 3 will be enough or should I go with the Samba 4 alpha versions). As I don't know much about Windows domains, I'm not sure whether I need to set up a DNS service on the network.

In the end, I need to set up (as a CS project) a virtual FreeBSD machine that will serve Windows domain/active directory services for virtual machines running Windows. With all the nice stuff like single-login, settings, network directories and stuff.

I know it's a pretty general question, but after doing my research I was left pretty much confused - Samba 4 is a advertised as a rewrite of Samba 3, with support for AD, being primary domain controller and many other features. It sounds as if Samba 3 didn't have all that.

So, is it possible? What should I use? Any other tips for me?

  • What level of functionality do you expect from the domain server? That's what the answer about the samba version will depend on ... Mar 9, 2011 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


Samba 3 can operate as a fully function NT4 Primary Domain Controller. Samba 3 can also join both an NT4 Domain or an Active Directory Domain as a full Domain Member. Samba 3 can not in any way act as an Active Directory Domain Controller. If an NT4-style domain works for you, I would go with Samba 3 as it's well supported and fully production quality. I'm using Samba 3 to run a NT4 Domain for a small business with many Windows XP clients and a Windows 7 client. Note: you need professional versions of XP/Vista/7 to join any kind of domain. Home editions cannot join a domain. Even Windows 7 Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate can still join an NT4 Domain. Samba 4 is a complete rewrite of Samba to support acting as a full Active Directory Domain. It is still considered an Alpha release and is lacking some features of Samba 3, but Windows XP and Windows 7 are reported to be able to join as Active Directory Members. You can take a look at the HOWTO for Samba 4. I've yet to get around to playing with it myself.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .