Renaming a Computer






Renaming a Computer

Problem

You want to rename a computer.

Solution

Using a graphical user interface
  1. Log on to the computer either directly or with a remote console application such as Terminal Services.

  2. Open the Control Panel and double-click on the System applet.

  3. Select the Computer Name tab and click the Change button.

  4. Under Computer Name, type the new name of the computer and click OK until you are out of the System applet.

  5. Reboot the machine.

Using a command-line interface

You can rename a computer object by using the built-in netdom utility with the following syntax:

	> netdom renamecomputer <ComputerName> /NewName <NewComputerName> /UserD
	<DomainUserUPN> /PasswordD * /UserO <ComputerAdminUser> /PasswordO * /Reboot

Using VBScript
	' This code renames a computer in AD and on the host itself.
	' ------ SCRIPT CONFIGURATION -------
	strComputer     = "<ComputerName>"      ' e.g. joe-xp
	strNewComputer  = "<NewComputerName>"   ' e.g. joe-pc
	strDomainUser   = "<DomainUserUPN>"     ' e.g. [email protected]
	strDomainPasswd = "<DomainUserPasswd>"
	strLocalUser    = "<ComputerAdminUser>" 'e.g. joe-xp\administrator
	strLocalPasswd  = "ComputerAdminPasswd>"
	' ------ END CONFIGURATION ---------

	'###########################
	' Connect to Computer
	'###########################
	set objWMILocator = CreateObject("WbemScripting.SWbemLocator")
	objWMILocator.Security_.AuthenticationLevel = 6
	set objWMIComputer = objWMILocator.ConnectServer(strComputer,  _
	                                                 "root\cimv2", _
	                                                 strLocalUser, _
	                                                  strLocalPasswd)
	set objWMIComputerSystem = objWMIComputer.Get( _
	                               "Win32_ComputerSystem.Name='" & _
	                               strComputer & "'")
	'###########################
	' Rename Computer
	'###########################
	rc = objWMIComputerSystem.Rename(strNewComputer, _
	                                 strDomainPasswd, _
	                                 strDomainUser)
	if rc <> 0 then
	    WScript.Echo "Rename failed with error: " & rc
	else
	    WScript.Echo "Successfully renamed " & strComputer & " to " & _
	                 strNewComputer
	end if

	WScript.Echo "Rebooting … "
	set objWSHShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
	objWSHShell.Run "rundll32 shell32.dll,SHExitWindowsEx 2"

Discussion

Renaming a computer consists of two operations: renaming the computer object in Active Directory and renaming the hostname on the machine itself. To do it in one step, which each of the three solutions offers, you must have permission in Active Directory to rename the account and administrator permissions on the target machine. For the rename operation to be complete, you must reboot the computer.

In some cases, renaming a computer can adversely affect services running on the computer. For example, you cannot rename a machine that is a domain controller, Exchange Server, or a Windows Certificate Authority without taking additional steps and precautions.


Using a graphical user interface

After you rename the computer, you will be prompted to reboot the machine. You can cancel if necessary, but you'll need to reboot at some point to complete the rename operation.

Using a command-line interface

The renamecomputer option in netdom is new to Windows Server 2003. It can run remotely and includes a /Reboot switch that allows you to automatically reboot the computer after the rename is complete.

Using VBScript

The Win32_ComputerSystem::Rename method must be run on the local machine unless the computer is a member of a domain. Unlike the GUI and CLI solutions, you cannot specify alternate credentials for the connection to the computer other than domain credentials. For this reason, the user and password you use with the Rename method must have administrative privileges on the target machine (i.e., part of the Administrators group) and on the computer object in Active Directory.

The Rename method is new in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, and is not available on Windows 2000 and earlier machines.


See Also

Recipe 4.23 for renaming objects, MS KB 228544 (Changing Computer Name in Windows 2000 Requires Restart), MS KB 238793 (Enhanced Security Joining or Resetting Machine Account in Windows 2000 Domain), MS KB 260575 (How to Use Netdom.exe to Reset Machine Account Passwords of a Windows 2000 Domain Controller), MS KB 325354 (How to Use the Netdom.exe Utility to Rename a Computer in Windows Server 2003), and MSDN: Win32_ComputerSystem::Rename



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