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best practice for the computer name when replacing a PC on an SBS domain?

Posted on 2007-03-30
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
What is your recommendation / best practice when dealing with the computer name when replacing a PC on an SBS domain?

Once you turn off the old PC named 'computer1', go to sbs and using the wizards, delete that computer then readd the same name?

or are there arguments for a different name for a replacement PC?  Or some other way for a replacement to use the same name as a PC that is taken out of service?

And while I am asking... what do you like using as computer names?  I think using usernames1 as SBS suggests is not good, because when username leaves the company, you still have username1 for a computer name - 'who was username' some new employee would ask.  Oh, him... you don't want to know!  

and department names?  Then when accounting1 is moved to shipping department...  things get all confused!?

All the best!
Question by:babaganoosh
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

AdamRobinson earned 150 total points
ID: 18824650
Do not use the same computer name in SBS, ever.  Deleting it isn't going to complete take care of the SIDs associating with the name, and you may very well run into problems.

If you run into versioning your computers a lot, add an extra digit to your format:

Accounting01 for instance.

If you replace the computer, make it Accounting11.

If you replace it again, make it Accounting21.

I personally use a designation for what type of computer it is (workstation or workbook), a location signifier, a position signifier (sales, accounting, etc), and occasionally a number if I have multiple computers for the exact same purpose, employee.
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

Hypercat (Deb) earned 175 total points
ID: 18824652
Regardless of using SBS or not, I always use a new name when adding or replacing a computer on a domain. It's not anything related to technology particularly, it's more the idea that if you give it a new name, you know that it's a new computer not an old one.

As for how to name computers, I would never use the SBS recommendation, I think it's terminally stupid for all the reasons you state and more.  I usually use some sort of acronym or abbreviated version of the company name.  I work with a lot of law firms, so acronyms are very popular - like the law firm of Dewey, Cheatham and Howe is always abbreviated "DCH," so their computers are DCH001, DCH002, etc.  Then, if you have an extremely large company and you actually need some way to identify what dept. a computer is in, you could add a department sub-name, like DCH-ACCT001, etc.  This avoids all of the pitfalls except for a complete firm/company renaming which doesn't happen all that often.

Author Comment

ID: 18825141
Thanks for the info.  

Off topic a bit - a small law firm I took on after being set up used judge, jury, prosecution, defense and a couple other law terms to name the PCs.

Anyway, it's nice to see that I am thinking somewhat correctly - knowing not to name PCs with usernames...

But on the other hand, here's my ignorance?  The old PC has a shared printer on it.  \\computer1\printer

You change the computer name on the new PC, connect the printer and even share it out as printer like on the old PC and others can't print to it...  would you

a) go to each machine and change the mapping?  

b) can you do this: set up the serer to access the shared printer and then share it out from the server (can you share a network /shared printer?)

c) some other SBS way that I don't know about : D ?
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 18825561
Well, you bring up a good question about printers.  Of course, my position is that any shared printer should be shared through the server, not through a workstation.  If it would be possible to do this instead of reconnecting it to the new workstation, I would recommend that.  You would have to go to each workstation and reconnect to the printer that is now shared from the server instead of from a workstation, but it would avoid the problem the next time around.  If you set up all printers in the future this way, you won't run across these issues again.  And it doesn't make any sense to do what you suggested in c).  I've never tried to do something like that, and I don't think it would work, but even if it did the new share name would be \\server\printer and wouldn't solve your problem.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 18825710
I believe you could also add a static (but inaccurate) record in your DNS that would point the workstation name to the new workstation IP address (if you're using DHCP with Reservations, or static IPs).


Assisted Solution

manicsquirrel earned 175 total points
ID: 18830895
Use the same exact name and avoid the problems you think you will run into.  Especially on shared resources.  Not only have I never had a problem, but I cannot think of any rational reason why you would have a problem.

If you delete the computer from Active Directory on SBS and then re-add a difernt computer with the same name, you still get an all new SID.  So the server and the network see it as a totally different machine on a security/trust level

However, NetBIOS shared resources only use the name and aren't conecerned with the SID.  Therefore your printer sharing or file sharing won't give you any problems.

As for a naming convention, I try to be realistic in a small business environment.  I started out naming workstations as COMPANY1, COMPANY2, etc, but then the users started complaining that when they used RWW, they didn't know which computer was theirs.

I usualy name the workstations after the computer's main function, ACCOUNTING, MANAGER, CLERK1, etc.  This also helps me with remote access.  I use a VNC repeater to give instant assistance to all of my customers.  So if customer x calls me and tells me they're in accounting, I know just which computer to log into without having to walk them through figuring out what their computer name is.

Good luck what ever you decide.

Expert Comment

ID: 18830903
Oh, and I see you also had a concern when the occasion arrise to move a computer to a new location, like from accounting to shipping.  That's not a big deal either.  In fact, I change SBS workstation names all the time at company's request.  It's very, very easy.  

To help me I use Boztek's VNCScan.  Although it was first a VNC management tool it has bloomed into a full feature network management tool that I cannot do without.  It is a standard install on every server I deploy.

One of the features of VNCScan is workstation renaming.  You don't even have to have VNC installed.  Just a right click Windows Management->Workstation rename and fill out the dialog box.  Bam! and then a remote reboot and the workstation name is changed.  Never had a problem.  No new profile, no re-joining to the domain.

Expert Comment

ID: 18830904

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