1. Before you Begin — Naming the Computer

Any computer using the central WINS servers must have a computer name that is unique in the WINS database. If it doesn't, the WINS server will refuse registration, and networking services on the PC will be disabled. This can be disastrous for servers and inconvenient for workstations. We have therefore developed naming standards to minimise the risk of a name clash between computers in different units (colleges, departments, etc.). We also recommend that you use the naming standards for naming all Windows servers, regardless of whether they currently make use of the central WINS servers, in case you ever want to change this (NT domain controllers being difficult — and 2000 domain controllers impossible — to rename).

The naming standards are as follows...

The computer name must start with a four or five letter code unique to your unit, where the codes are given in the Unit Codes Used for Naming Windows PCs and Samba Servers Using WINS web page.

Domain names should contain enough of your unit name to guarantee that they will be unique.

NetBIOS names can be a maximum of fifteen characters, so the rest of the name is up to you, but it does need to be unique within your unit. Note that domain names can also clash with computer names (and vice versa.)

There is some flexibility in the list of codes — refer to the Unit Codes Used for Naming Windows PCs and Samba Servers Using WINS web page for details. Note also that the naming standards used to put the code at the end of the name — we had to revise the standards for Windows 2000, but the old ones can still be used for anything else, and we're not expecting you to change the names of computers named according to the old standards.

Note also that we do not advocate changing the names of established NT or 2000 servers, since this can cause a problems and a lot of extra work, and for Windows 2000 domain controllers is actually impossible. If you have an existing server that needs to use the central WINS servers and that has a name that does not conform to the naming standards, see the Protecting or Registering Server Names using Static Mappings section below for a possible way around the problem.

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