My Home is My Domain

I don’t understand the limitation that Microsoft places on their “Home” operating systems, that they cannot join a domain.

A domain is a perfect solution for a home.  I have a server in the basement that stores music, and I have a number of desktop computers and laptops.  The benefits of using a domain, like having the same account on every computer, apply as much at home as they do at work.

I have a domain at home (an old Windows 2000 Server that serves files and manages the Active Directory) and I find it incredibly frustrating that products are intentionally crippled to not work in this environment.  Check this out:

Can I connect a new PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 to a work network or domain?

While you can access network resources on a work network or a domain, you cannot join a Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 PC to the domain. PCs running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 are designed specifically for home use. Windows XP Professional features, specifically Domain Join and Cached Credentials (Credentials Manager for logons) are not included. As a result, you will be prompted for your logon user name and password to access network resources after you reboot or log back on to the PC. In addition, file shares or network resources that are set to require a domain-joined PC for access will not be available. Remote Desktop and Encrypting File System support are still included.

That’s from the Windows XP Media Center Edition FAQ.  What does this mean?

It means that a power user who does set their home up this way, can’t use the Media Center Edition of Windows.  Or can, but it can’t integrate with the rest of the computers in the house.  It’s an island.

Why does this restriction exist?  I guess it’s so that companies won’t buy home editions of Windows to run their businesses on; but really, what’s the difference between a home user and a business user?  They’re both running Office, editing documents, surfing the web.. The difference is that a home user generally doesn’t have a server to connect to.

Servers already cost a ton more, and come with licenses that say what you you’re allowed to use to connect to them.  I’d much rather see these sorts of restrictions done through licensing than by enforcing them through crippling features.  There’s no technical reason why I shouldn’t be able to have a Media Center PC on my home network.