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PC Naming Standards ... what are yours?

By jmagdziu ·
I am curious as to what organizations are using for PC naming standards, and if there are documented standards anywhere. I recently got into a discussion on the topic with someone who insisted that naming PC's with user names is the best method. Our current environment includes over 500 nodes at 18 locations throughout the US and one in Asia. I strongly disagreed with the idea of using user names for a number of reasons, primarily because we had used it before and it was very difficult to manage. We currently use the following convention: (department or location and PC number). Here are some examples: ADMIN01 for a PC in the Administration Department
NYCSR01 for a PC in the New York City Showroom.

I am doing a study of what others are doing and if I could find documented standards that would be great!


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What we use...

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to PC Naming Standards ... w ...

My employer has about 30 different office locations. Each one is given a 2 digit code (01-30). Those are the first 2 characters from our computer names.

The second two characters are derived from the department. For example, Human Resources is HR, Finance is FI, etc.

Finally, the next 8 characters are derived from the beginning of the PC's serial number; giving us a 12 character PC name.

An example would be 06HRHZ71Y300. If a ticket came in with this as the computer name, the help desk automatically knows which facility to which the call should get routed, and the specific department.

We previously used usernames, but the issues with that were two-fold: multiple-users using the same PC (we are in healthcare, so we are open 24/7/365) and turnover (I'd hate to be user John Smith, and my Pc is named Jack_White...after the guy I just replaced).

I'd say the naming convention you are using now is fine; especially if it is working for you...which is always the bottom line.

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Really like this one

by dafe2 In reply to What we use...

Actually you gave me some ideas....we (as well) never give a PC the users name.

We've allways named machines relative to the position & include the asset number.

Considering our business structure seems similar, I think I'll give some thought to your naming convention. I like that it's more granular to what we're currently using. Thanks!

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Use the usernames!!

by pr0teus In reply to What we use...

Just don't make them the names of the users!

Love the concept of using comp names based on facility/dept et al.

We use (for one of our clients - a small company with 8 machines) admin01, admin02, secretary, editorial01 etc. They use that same name as their usernames - which they don't have to stress about remembering since it is returned to the login prompt by default each time you turn on a machine. Not to say that they're NOT to ensure that they remember!

But we don't use an individual's name, mostly because of employee turnover. And we've found that initially (the previous IT service provider used employee names) there was a sense of ownership when your computer has your name on it, thus a willingness to download or load any crap onto the machine! Now, the names give a subtle reminder that these are work comps.

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PC Names

by mbradley In reply to Use the usernames!!

I totally agree with you. We use the CompanynamePCXXXX for desktops and CompanynameLTXXXX for laptops. To use personal names or character names based on scifi movies as I have seen before is childish. And, to one of the **** with a sense of personal ownership of the machine by using user names. Login names follow the ILastname scheme. If they cannot remember their first initial and last name, perhaps they need to look elsewhere for employment.

These are company assets and property, not personal toys. We track the machines for financial reasons by asset tag and services provided by the extension number of the phone number the machine is located at. This all works very well and the company is more then pleased by the professional manner in the scheme that I have chosen to employ based on past good practice and experience.

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Great way to name

by NetGeek84 In reply to What we use...

I really like the way you named your computers. The way I have named out computers is to use an abreviation on the department and 3 digit numeric identifier and the month and year the machine was last rebuilt. This works well for me because if a new employee is comming in and I see that the machine hasn't been rebuilt in 6 months I will take the machine flaten it and rebuild it before the new employee comes in.

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My Idea

by tim.doyle3 In reply to Great way to name

I work in an office where technology is... well... rather 90s. We have three computers on 98, two on Windows 2000, two and a half on XP (my personal laptop comes in to play once in a while), etc. We are in the early stages of building a network in our new building, getting a file server/network fax machine, etc... as I configure each machine, I'm renaming it using the following

- MCP - the name of our company
- Operating Systems - 9x, 2k, XP
- Location - 001 is the owner's PC, 002 is her husband and so on around the office
- Department - SA for Sales, IT for IT, AD for Administration

In otherwords, my station would be called MCP9x003IT (even though I fit under three deparments, I'll claim IT as mine). That's how I'm planning to go about it.

Hope that helps. This thread has been very interesting for me while I redo our network!

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great, but

by apotheon In reply to What we use...

I quite like the philosophy of your naming scheme, and it's much what I'd recommend for an organization that has to track large numbers of end-user systems. The only problem I have with your specific implementation is that the serial number segment of the computer name is too long. I'd definitely recommend using some shorter character string there. If unique identifiers can be derived from the serial number that are at most four characters long (preferably shorter), that would I think be the way to go. If not, an arbitrary but consistent system for producing two to four character strings would strike me was the solution.

Of course, for the network at my consultancy job, I'm the only person that really needs to keep track of most of the system hostnames, and it's a small network, so I can get away with pretty much anything I like for a naming scheme. As such, I've taken to using the names of mythological entities. They're just easier to remember for general purposes here. Go fig'.

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Here is what we do....

by caestelle In reply to PC Naming Standards ... w ...

every peice of hardware we have, has a corporate tag number and that is the name that we give to the PC. We have three different offices and we use this same naming convention in all three.

At a smaller company that I do some work for they use state names for PCs and country names for servers.

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Here is what I have been doing

by IT_Lobo In reply to Here is what we do....

In my equipment inventory I assign an ID number. I use WS for work station and assign a number after it. Example: WS-015, WS-034, WS-045 and tag the PC with the ID (All but the servers have this naming scheme). In my company we have only about 50 PCs and we have been upgrading and hiring alot of people this past year, so people are getting assigned new PC all the time. I like using this method because I never have to rename the PCs to someones name (that is what was done before).

As long as you document which PC is for which user you will have no problem. For the most part none of the users need to know the naming scheme.

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Security issues pertaining to computer names

by stress junkie In reply to PC Naming Standards ... w ...

I generally like the naming scheme described by saigman. Any computer naming scheme should also incorporate a mechanism to obscure the purpose and location of the computer to people who are not involved with support while making computer identification easy for the support people. The scheme described by saigman begins to address this issue but then fails when it identifies the business department that uses the computer.

Generally I would say that any computer name that includes the name of the user or the department that uses the machine is a security problem. This is particularly true with M$ software. Anyone browsing the network can see the names of employees, which computer they use, and which computers are associated with each department. This makes identifying targets of malicious activity very easy.

In saigman's name scheme the first part of the name is a code for the office where the computer is located. That's good. The code is meaningful to IT support personnel but its meaning is not immediately clear to anyone else.

The second part of saigman's name scheme is a problem because it clearly identifies the department using the computer to anyone. It does this by using generally meaningful codes to identify each department. If the scheme was changed to have a numeric code for each department then the meaning would not be immediately clear to network neighborhood browsers.

Then, within each department the desktop computers could just be numbered. So, overall a desktop computer name could typically be something like 010202. Even though the long term employees might figure this naming scheme out it is still valuable since it obscures the pc function, owner, etc. from guest computer users or anyone else who has no business knowing the names of network resources and nodes.

This also applies to servers. I hate to see a server named 'payroll' or 'hr'. Talk about putting a target out in plain view!

So I believe that computer names should be meaningful to IT support personnel but should ALSO be meaningless to everyone else. This way even a computer guru with bad intent would spend a lot of time trying to find an appropriate target. It only makes sense to do whatever you can to slow the bad guys down. The longer it takes them to find a target the longer it will take for them to perform their mischief.

And it's an employee privacy issue. The fact that John Doe works at your company is private information. Employee names should not be made easy to harvest. Employee names should not be used for naming network resources. Also, I am totally against businesses that publish the email addresses of their employees unless those email addresses are just the names of departments or functions, such as or Making employee names available to a everyone on the network or, in the worst case, everyone on the Internet, is a violation of the employees' privacy.

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