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Safe to change computer names in Windows Server 2003 environment?

Posted on 2009-05-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
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.
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Question by:danielevans83
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Kline
ID: 24416793
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
Thanks
Mike
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Expert Comment

by:Krisdeep
ID: 24417267
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
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Author Comment

by:danielevans83
ID: 24417516
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.
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Mike Kline earned 1600 total points
ID: 24418038
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?
Thanks
Mike
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Assisted Solution

by:Krisdeep
Krisdeep earned 400 total points
ID: 24418128
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.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Mark Pavlak
ID: 24423971
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
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Author Comment

by:danielevans83
ID: 24522715
I won't be changing any server names, just workstations. Thanks for the warning though. :)
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