1. The Naming Standards

If you are configuring PCs to use the central OUCS WINS servers, the computer (or NetBIOS) names must be unique within the whole university. If not, name clashes can occur which result in network services being disabled on one PC. If this PC is a server it can cause major problems for many users. Therefore naming standards must be used which include a unit identifier to minimise the risk of name clashes between PCs in different units. For units who don’t use the central WINS service, we recommend at least using the naming standards for servers, in case you ever wish to use the central WINS servers (NT and 2000 server servers being either impossible or difficult to rename.)

The naming standards state that PCs should be given a NetBIOS or Computer Name which starts with an identifier that is unique to the unit where the PC is located. The list of identifiers is given here. The unit identifier can be separated from the rest of the name by a hyphen.

Further, NT domain names and the NetBIOS name for 2000 domains should be chosen carefully so as to identify your unit unambigously and avoid name clashes with other domain or computer names.

NetBIOS names can be up to 15 characters so the rest of the characters (generally about 10) can be used to name the PC or domain as you wish. Be aware that SQL 6.5 or below has problems with hyphens (there is a workaround if required.) Examples of names are oucs-fred, oucsfred, bras-tom, quee-pc023.

These naming standards replace the standards introduced in 1998 which stated that all PC names should end in .unitcode where unitcode is the unique identifier. Units currently using the old standards do not need to rename all their PCs; in fact, if you want to carry on using the old standards this is not a problem for 95, 98, Me or NT. However, the standards were revised because the original ones cannot be used to name Windows 2000 PCs, and the new standards also have advantages when naming Windows NT PCs.

If your PCs currently use the central WINS servers but are not named according to the Naming Standards, we don’t necessarily recommend renaming all your PCs unless you have problems with name clashes. In particular, never rename a server, especially a domain controller, except as a last resort, and make sure you are aware of the consequences before you do so. If you have a server that is experiencing a name clash, contact winsmaster before changing any names since it may be possible to protect that name to prevent the clash occurring. However, do start naming all new servers and workstations in accordance with the standards, and you can usually rename workstations without causing any problems.

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