Recipe 6.3. Changing the System Name


You want to change the name of your computer, or a computer on a domain on which you have administrative privileges.


Using a graphical user interface

  1. Right-click My Computer, choose Properties, and click the Computer Name tab.

  2. Click the Change button.

  3. In the Computer Name Changes dialog box, shown in Figure 6-3, type in your new computer name in the Computer Name box. Click OK and then click OK again.

Figure 6-3. The Computer Name Changes dialog box

You can only use this technique on your own computer, not on another computer in a domain to which you're attached.

Using a command-line interface

If you want to rename a computer that is a member of an Active Directory domain, you can use the netdom tool. You'll be able to rename not just the computer you're attached to, but others as well, as long as you have administrative permission to do so on the PC. You can do this only on Windows XP Professional, not on Home Edition.

To change a computer's name, do the following:

  1. Install the Windows XP Support Tools from the Support\Tools folder on the Windows XP Professional CD.

  2. At the command line, use the netdom command line tool to rename a computer, using this syntax:

    > netdom renamecomputer machine /newname:new_computername /userd:domainname\ administrator_id /passwordd:* /usero:local_admin /passwordo:* /reboot:seconds  before automatic reboot

Following is an explanation of the syntax:


The current name of the computer that you want to rename.


The new name that you want to give to the computer.


The NetBIOS domain name and the administrator identification (ID) of the user account that has administrative permissions to the computer that you want to rename.


A user who has local administrative permissions. This can be the same account that you specified for /userd.

The asterisk symbol (*)

Used for the /passwordd: and /passwordo: parameters. It specifies that the password should be typed with hidden characters when the command is submitted, for security purposes.

Seconds before automatic reboot, in seconds

The amount of time, in seconds, before the computer restarts after it is renamed. If you don't specify this parameter, the computer will have to be restarted manually.


The user account used to make the connection with the domain specified by the /Domain argument.


The user account for making the connection with the trusting domain.


Using a graphical user interface

When using the Computer Name tab, make sure you do not confuse the computer description with the computer name. The computer name is what will show up on a network and will be what your computer is called. The description allows you to provide more details about the computer, for example, "computer in the downstairs living room."

Using a command-line interface

When you use netdom to rename a computer, you may see the following, lengthy message: "This operation will rename the computer "Mycomputer" to "Yourcomputer." Certain services, such as certification authority, rely on a fixed computer name. If any services of this type are running on "Mycomputer", a computer name change would have an adverse impact." You'll then be prompted to proceed. If you don't want this warning to appear, and don't want to be prompted to proceed, use the /force switch when you enter the netdom command in addition to the other parameters you use.

See Also

MS KB 298593, "How To Use the Netdom.exe Utility to Rename a Computer in Windows XP"

Windows XP Cookbook
Windows XP Cookbook (Cookbooks)
ISBN: 0596007256
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 408

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