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Changing computer name

Posted on 2014-09-22
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Last Modified: 2014-09-24
There are two desktops and a laptop on my local network, and I just added a new notebook.  I was unhappy with the operating system on the new notebook, so I over-wrote the system disc with a saved image of the system disc from one of the desktops.  The new notebook will now have the O.S. which I want, along with all the software and configuration which could have taken weeks to re-establish.  However, the new notebook will also have the name of that desktop, which will result in a conflict on the network.  I'd like some guidance on how to change the name of the new notebook, in order to avoid that conflict.  To my understanding, it is not as simple as changing the computer name in System Properties. Every reference to the conflicting name must be replaced, including in user profile and in the registry.  Please advise.
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Question by:ddantes
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Expert Comment

by:becraig
ID: 40338210
Windows will handle the rename with no issues.

Just simply go into system properties and change the name of the notebook.

As you indicated you just completed a rebuild of the notebook so there should be very little to be concerned about.

DNS will update with the new name and most if not all system references will get cleaned up at the system restart.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40338222
Thank you.  I didn't think the user profile was renamed when the computer was renamed in 'Properties'.   Is the user profile renamed automatically?
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Expert Comment

by:becraig
ID: 40338229
The user's profile should simply be at:
c:\documents and settings\username

You can take a look at the profile folder after the rename for any issues which you can easily resolve by manual copies to the new user folder (if one is needed/created).
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40338236
Thank you.  I'll post again after renaming the computer...
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40338481
you will have windows problems though - since you are violating windows EULA
the windows versions are tied to 1 system for OEM versions, and will complain about activation
in some countries, you can install windows on another pc - if you uninstall it from the old one
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40339749
Thanks for reminding me about that.
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Expert Comment

by:becraig
ID: 40339766
Renaming your computer WILL NOT invalidate EULA.

Hardware changes etc will require a activation, a simple rename is handled by the OS, there is NO EULA violation in renaming a computer.  It is a daily action performed for security purposes etc.  The only issue will be if windows detects it is being run somewhere other than on the hardware it was activated on.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40340896
becraig, it's not because of the renaming, but because of the imaging he did
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Expert Comment

by:Mike T
ID: 40342719
Hi,

This is one of those cases where yes you can do it and changing the machine name will work fine but there are deeper issues afoot.
When you clone a machine you duplicate the OS license and the license keys of all the other software you have installed on the original machine. Violating software licenses is not something your employer or the software vendors will be happy about.
There is also a privacy issue of the original user's data, and all the other people who may have logged onto the machine. This will need to be cleaned up.

Normally to remove any machine identity you would use sysprep. Unfortunately running sysprep on a built machine is a bad idea so don't do it.

Frankly, the better option is to flatten the notebook and install the OS and apps clean. It will probably be quicker in the long run and have no nasty surprises of "cloned machine syndrome" you may face.

Mike
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40342748
Mike, thank you.  You may be right.   I am the only user of the old and new notebook.  The old notebook will be out of commission when the new notebook is populated with operating systems and software.  The Windows O.S. on the old notebook was not OEM, but a purchased installation disc.  All software is licensed in my name.  So I'm not going to be violating any license agreements.   If it turns out to be too much trouble to clone the machine, I'll start with a fresh install of the O.S. and applications.
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Accepted Solution

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Mike T earned 500 total points
ID: 40342975
Hi,

Thanks for explaining, that does appease the licensing gods :).

The problem will be of duplicate SIDs which causes issues with network identity in future. There is an urban myth that "it's all fine, and needing sysprep/newsid is all a myth". The problem is that things will appear to work fine and you will be lulled into thinking it worked. Then later some bizarre issues start appearing and the root cause is that SID clone. De-commissioning the old machine might make it a non-issue but I honestly don't think installing the OS + Apps takes much longer, and is guaranteed fresh. Newly installed Windows is quicker generally too.

Mike
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40342989
I'm definitely open to considering this.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 40343212
I'm going to install all the software and perform all the configuration on the 64-bit system.   I did install Windows 7 32-bit on another partition, but there are no 32-bit drivers for many of the notebook's devices.  Thanks to all experts for commenting.
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