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How to raname  a computer name of a Windows 2003 server

Posted on 2009-05-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I made a ghost copy of one of our servers.   I only use this copied server as a test server so I can test my stuff before I put them into production server.    I was able to rename it three times before.  Whenever I rename it, there was no problem.    But now, the same process would not work anymore.  Here's how I did them before and worked:   First, unplug the cable to the NIC and then change the IP address of the ghosted server.  Second,  reboot/restart with the cable plugged it.  Then go to computer properties and change the computer name.   I'm puzzled, this just isn't working anymore????   Any other ideas?    Please assist...
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Question by:grazal
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24413563
Not sure - but are you keeping the server in a production environment... because one you CANNOT do and expect it to work properly is to make a copy of a server and NOT sysprep it first if you it's going to be on the same network.  Computer names are based on SIDs - these SIDs don't change when the computer name changes - so if you don't use SysPrep (which resets the security information, including the name), then you end up with two people with the same SID.  Like having a literal cloned person - this is a problem since now servers think they are the correct and true server even if you change the name.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 24413700
You might try this.  Unplug the ghosted server from the network.  Change the IP. Then change the domain/workgroup designation from Domain to Workgroup (assuming you are using domain). You may get an error message about the fact that the PC can't see the domain controller and can't actually remove it from the domain, but it will move it to a workgroup anyway. Before you do this make sure that you know what the local admin's name and password are.  Then reboot and log in locally.  Then run the program newsid http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897418.aspx.  This will create a new SID for the server. Then plug the NIC back in and change from workgroup to domain and reboot.
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by:feaglin
ID: 24413752
  You do need to change the SID after cloning a server regardless if you rename it or change the IP.  I've used the NewSID tool mentioned above many times without a problem, but it's not supported by Microsoft.  The Microsoft approved way is to use SysPrep.

   SysPrep is easy to use with the default settings.  Put the SysPrep tool in a directory on the server the keep cloning and it will alway be there for when you need it.

hth
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grazal earned 0 total points
ID: 24474301
NONE of the above recommended solutions worked -- Neither Newsid NOR Sysprep.   What I ended up using and worked great was the "netdom" on the command prompt:    

netdom renamecomputer changeFromOldname /newname: changeToNewname

Anyway, thank you all for trying to help...........

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