Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) is the cornerstone of every Windows domain network. It stores information about members of the domain, including devices and users, verifies their credentials and defines their access rights. The server running this service is called a domain controller. A domain controller is contacted when a user logs into a device, accesses another device across the network, or runs a line-of-business Metro-style app sideloaded into a device.

Other Active Directory services (excluding LDS, as described below) as well as most of Microsoft server technologies rely on or use Domain Services; examples include Group Policy, Encrypting File System, BitLocker, Domain Name Services, Remote Desktop Services, Exchange Server and SharePoint Server.

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