Well we’re sitting down in front of our Server 2008 Core install.    If you’re lazy like me, you just dropped in the media, let it run and install.  Now you want to play.

But wait, what name does the computer have?

"Oh easy!" You say to yourself. "I’ll just pop into the "Properties" of the "System" and check the name from there.  

Oh right.  No GUI.

Panic sets in.     The boss is screaming.  "I need that new server online.  We need SRV2K8CORE online now. MOVE IT OR YOU’RE WORKING FOR the Burger King!"

Bosses say things like that.  It’s called "Employee incentive."  Lawyers call it "Potential Cashflow."

But back to reality.  You need to name this thing something other than the random "WIN-2349FNS" that the media created for you.

So how to start?

Surprisingly it’s very easy.  Another thing that, once done; you can throw into a script rather than remembering all that nonsense.  

I mean nobody actually memorizes these commands right?  That would be so… so … NERDY!

So at your command prompt (Because that’s all ya got in Core buddy!) type in


You’ll get some answer like






Whatever obscure or meaningful name it coughs up, that is the PRESENT name of your server.  Renaming is easy.  Just type in

/Alt/Sub Hyper -$%#@@ ^JOj8 !!! DIR — #$%! INSERT ….

No I was pulling your chain, it’s actually simpler and makes sense

You can use the NETDOM.EXE command.   This is your equivalent to the "Network Identifcation" tab from before in GUI land.

So at your command prompt key in


For help in playing with this command.  You’ll get the following screen.

NETDOM RENAMECOMPUTER machine /NewName:new-name
           [/UserD:user [/PasswordD:[password | *]]]
           [/UserO:user [/PasswordO:[password | *]]]
           [/REBoot[:Time in seconds]]

NETDOM RENAMECOMPUTER renames a computer. If the computer is joined to a
domain, then the computer object in the domain is also renamed. Certain
services, such as the Certificate Authority, rely on a fixed machine name.
If any services of this type are running on the target computer, then a
computer name change would have an adverse impact. This command should not
be used to rename a domain controller.

machine is the name of the workstation or member server to be renamed

/NewName        Specifies the new name for the computer. Both the DNS host
                label and the NetBIOS name are changed to new-name. If
                new-name is longer than 15 characters, the NetBIOS name is
                derived from the first 15 characters

/UserD          User account used to make the connection with the domain.
                The domain can be specified as "/ud:domainuser". If domain is
                omitted, then the computer’s domain is assumed.

/PasswordD      Password of the user account specified by /UserD. A * means
                to prompt for the password

/UserO          User account used to make the connection with the machine to
                be renamed. If omitted, then the currently logged on user’s
                account is used. The user’s domain can be specified as
                "/uo:domainuser". If domain is omitted, then a local computer
                account is assumed.

/PasswordO      Password of the user account specified by /UserO. A * means
                to prompt for the password

/Force          As noted above, this command can adversely affect some services
                running on the computer. The user will be prompted for
                confirmation unless the /FORCE switch is specified.

/REBoot         Specifies that the machine should be shutdown and automatically
                rebooted after the Rename has completed. The number of seconds
                before automatic shutdown can also be provided. Default is
                30 seconds

                Use secure credentials popup to specify credentials. This
                option should be used when smartcard credentials need to be
                specified. This option is only in effect when the password
                value is supplied as *

NETDOM HELP command | MORE displays Help one screen at a time.


As you can see, a pile of information is presented.  But I can see from the top line, the one I want is really obvious.

NETDOM RENAMECOMPUTER machine /NewName:new-name

There are additional parameters I can add, like my credentials in order to be allowed to rename it, force a reboot etc.  But all I want is to name this silly machine to something normal before my boss gets ideas about transferring me to the sanitation division.

So in my case my computer was called


Because as I said before, I was lazy, shoveled in the media and just went with it.

So quickly typing


Now PRESUMING you had the credentials to do that and you didn’t break any other rules (like I don’t know, renaming a Domain Controller in the process.  Nobody would do that right?) you now have a Windows 2000 Core box called "SRV2

We’ve got to reboot our little friend to make it live as the new name.  We could just cheat, do a CTRL-ALT-DELETE and click the red button to restart the machine.  But what fun would that be?

Please allow me to introduce one more command.  SHUTDOWN.

Embrace the shutdown command.   It is your friend.  Use it more often than the GUI version.  It’s easy to remember and powerful and ALWAYS REBOOTS (Well except for the power outage, couldn’t get it to work then for some reason.)

We’ll go into further details on this command later but in a nutshell type in


This will FORCE an immediate REBOOT in 0 TIME (Pick up the hint what it means?)

In a short reboot time you will have a core server online with a real name.

Next time, we’ll look into making it as a Domain Controller.

The EnergizedTech –
Dedication and Inspiration creating the new Generation