Safe to change computer names in Windows Server 2003 environment?

I had a general question about the naming of computers in a Windows Server 2003 network. Each computer can have a name on the network, obviously, and this name is tied to it for DNS purposes. Several of the computers names here are named after Mortal Kombat characters or other ridiculous stuff, I was interested in renaming the workstations to more useful names such as "Conference1", "Conference2", etc...

Would renaming the machines in My Computer affect anything seriously as far as Active Directory or Group Policy is concerned? I wouldn't mind re-adding the computers by name to their appropriate AD group, I just wanted to make sure I understand what doing this would affect before I do.
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Mike KlineCommented:
It won't affect anything as far as AD or Group Policy because in the background the SID and GUID of the machines are not changing.
Do you have any users mapping drives to any of these computers\servers using UNC convention \\servername\share
1)If you want to change computer names in that manner what i would suggest you do is log on the computer local account not domain and rename the coimputer from there and then restart log back in to the domain that would be the easier way to rename a computer without changing SID etc. All it does is rename the computer for your purpose.(Wont change name of the object in AD)

2)You can rename them in AD just by right clikcing the Computer object and selecting rename.(Changing name of Object only)

3)you can remove them from the domain and change the name restart and join it back to the domain.(Changes both computer name and object)

The best way would be to remove it out of the domain and rejoin it.I hope i was clear
danielevans83Author Commented:
Krisdeep, thanks for that explanation. I hear what you're saying, it sounds like both ways are possible but that removing the computer, renaming it, rejoining and moving the object into the appropriate AD group is the most "official" way to do it.
I assumed it was the opposite, where like Microsoft encourages you to rename a user object as opposed to delete/create new.
Protecting & Securing Your Critical Data

Considering 93 percent of companies file for bankruptcy within 12 months of a disaster that blocked access to their data for 10 days or more, planning for the worst is just smart business. Learn how Acronis Backup integrates security at every stage

Mike KlineCommented:
If he renames the computer locally it should also change it in AD, why take that extra step to move it out and then rejoin it?

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
I was just giving the various steps that he can take to rename the computer I'm not stating to do all those steps.

Yes sorry it will change the object name in AD if you change the name locally. My bad.
Mark PavlakCommented:
You can freely change names with out issue in the domain UNLESS IT IS A DC or a GC, or Exchange server NEVER DO IT i dont care what MS says, it can really screw things up
danielevans83Author Commented:
I won't be changing any server names, just workstations. Thanks for the warning though. :)
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows Server 2003

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.