Knowing Hostnames and Renaming Windows 8 Computer


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What Is a Hostname?

In all post-Windows 98 computers, a hostname is the name of the computer that administrators specify either during the installation of the operating system, or after the installation has completed successfully.

Although Windows 98 computers also had computer names, they were called NetBIOS names instead of hostnames. NetBIOS names can only contain 15 characters, whereas hostnames can have up to 63 characters.

When a name is specified for a post-Windows 98 computer, the OS automatically assigns a NetBIOS name on the basis of the given hostname. NetBIOS name in such cases is the same as the hostname, provided the name is of 15 characters or less in length.

Advantages of Hostnames

As discussed above, Windows 98 used NetBIOS names which only had 15 characters. NetBIOS names were only recognized by WINS servers when name resolution was needed, and were not capable of communicating with the computers that belonged to any other network. On the other hand, hostnames are recognized by the DNS servers, hence enabling internetwork communication between the computers.

Requirement of Renaming a Computer

While working in organizations where there are several computers connected to each other, administrators may sometimes want to rename a computer in case the naming convention policy is modified, or the computer is decided to be used for a different purpose.

Administrators may also want to rename the computer to avoid naming conflicts, in case any other computer has been assigned with the same hostname.

Limitations and Considerations While Renaming a Computer

  • A computer can be renamed only by the administrator of the computer.
  • If a computer is a member of an Active Directory domain, it should be removed from the domain before it is renamed.
  • Although Windows prompts administrators to restart the computer after renaming, in case it doesn’t, it should be restarted manually before making any further modifications.
  • In most cases renaming a computer does not affect the policies that have been applied on it.
  • To restrict or limit communication of a computer with other computers in the network while renaming, the IP address of the computer should also be modified accordingly.

How to Rename a Computer?

To rename a Windows 8 computer, steps below must be followed:

  1. Use the credentials of administrator account to log on to Windows 8 computer that is to be renamed.
  2. Click Desktop tile from the Start screen to go to the desktop window.
  3. Once on the desktop window, click File Explorer icon from the taskbar.
  4. On the opened Libraries window, from the left pane, right-click Computer.
  5. From the context menu that appears, click Properties.
  6. On the System window, from the right pane, click Change settings under the Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings section.

    Click Change Settings

  7. On the System Properties box, make sure that Computer Name tab is selected.
  8. Once on the selected tab, click Change button.

    Click Change

  9. On the Computer Name/Domain Changes box, type the desired computer name in Computer name field.

    Specify New Computer Name

  10. Once done, click OK
  11. On the displayed information box, click OK.
  12. Back on System Properties box, click Close.
  13. On the displayed box, click Restart Now button to restart the Windows 8 computer in order to allow the changes to take effect.

Vivek Nayyar

Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platforms. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations. Technical Writer and Author.
Vivek Nayyar

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