Data Centers

Simplify server identification with this Windows Server 2003 registry tweak

When managing multiple machines, admins can easily become confused about which machine they're currently working on. In this Windows Server 2003, Scott Lowe tells you how you can make server identification easier with a simple tweak to the registry.

If you manage multiple Windows Server 2003 machines, it's easy to become confused as to which server you're working on. While it's easier when you can see clearly labeled machines, it can be more difficult when you're connecting remotely to a bunch of servers. Fortunately, you have a couple of options for making server identification easier.

First, you can simply rename My Computer to something more descriptive, such as Web Server 1 or Mail Server 2. If your team is pretty experienced and doesn't need to follow written instructions to complete tasks, this is a great option.

However, creating step-by-step documentation is difficult when using this method, and it's helpful only for the current user. You can no longer include "click My Computer" in your instructions for newer, inexperienced administrators.

In this case, a similar option might be a better choice. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (Regedt32).
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}.
  3. Rename the LocalizedString value to LocalizedString.old to back it up.
  4. Create a new expanded string (REG_EXPAND_SZ), and name it LocalizedString.
  5. Give the string this value: "My Computer - %COMPUTERNAME%"
  6. Close the Registry Editor.

On the desktop, My Computer should now display the name of the server.

You can also choose to add the name of the currently logged in user by inserting the string "%USERNAME%" as a part of the string.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before saving any changes.

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