3. Why did we Change the Naming Standards

Until Windows 2000 was released, Windows PCs generally had two distinct names. The first is the NetBIOS or Computer name, which is generally set in the Network Control Panel under the Network Identification tab. This is the name that is registered in a WINS database if WINS is being used. The second is the DNS name of the PC (e.g. fred.oucs.ox.ac.uk) which is generally set in the TCP/IP Properties, under the DNS tab. However in Windows 2000, although a connection-specific suffix may be set under the TCP/IP Properties, most identification settings have now moved to the System Control Panel. Here you can set a Computer Name and a Primary DNS Suffix. The Computer Name is used both as the first part of the DNS name (up to the first ".") and as the NetBIOS name of the computer. This means that it cannot contain the "." character, causing the first problem with the old naming standards which required the Computer name to be suffixed by .unitcode. The second problem arises because the Computer name setting may have considerably more than fifteen characters while NetBIOS names may only have a maximum of fifteen. Hence if the name is longer, it is truncated and only the first fifteen are used as the NetBIOS name. This could lead to part or all of the .unitcode suffix being truncated. The solution to these two problems was firstly to drop the requirement for the "." character, and secondly to move the unitcode identifier to the beginning of the name.

Note that we don't require or expect computers named according to the old naming standards to be renamed.

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