Data Centers

Changing the computer name on Windows Server 2008 Core Edition

Installing Windows Server 2008 Core Edition is easy enough, but configuring it can be tricky. IT pro Rick Vanover shows how to rename a computer with a one-liner.

In previous Windows Server 2008 Core Edition tips, I described how to configure the screen saver timeout and disable the Windows Firewall. This tip explains how to rename a computer in one line.

Default installations of Windows Server 2008 give the server a name like WIN-94CX1930EF21 or some other obscure pattern that doesn't fit into most computer infrastructures. You can change the computer name using the netdom command. Netdom (which isn't a new tool) is an easy way to change the computer name after Windows Server 2008 is installed on Core Editions. You can also use it on the full installation versions.

It's pretty straightforward to use the netdom command. For example, let's go from the default name WIN-94CX1930EF21 to a computer name of SERVER13. This is the command you would enter:

netdom renamecomputer WIN-94CX1930EF21 /Newname SERVER13
Once this is complete, you get a friendly prompt that renaming a system may cause certain services to fail. Because of this warning, it is a good idea to rename the server early in the build process. Figure A shows this onscreen. Figure A

Figure A

The server is successfully renamed after the requested system reboot.

If you want to join the system to an Active Directory domain, the same command is used except extra parameters are required. If the computer account already has the correct name, a command like the following will join a Windows Server 2008 server to a domain:

netdom join /DOMAIN:RWVDEV server13 /userD:RWVDEV\Administrator /password:*
A few things to note: Some of the parameters have the letter D at the end of them, and the FQDN server name is the DC to authenticate the request against. Again, a reboot is required to take effect. There are a few other parameters with netdom, so check out the Help section to see if additional features, such as organizational unit placement and force reboot, suit you.

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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.


Hi, I have a two servers installed, server01 and server02, server02 is a server core installation and I'm trying to join the domain it to the domain but am getting error "RPC server is unavailable", I can ping server01 but not join the domain. I am using virtualbox and they are connected by bridged adapter, any help would be greatly appreciated. Paul


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