In this easy Ask the Admin, I’ll show how to rename Windows servers and PCs.
Renaming a PC using the GUI is essentially the same across all versions of Windows, with the exception that getting to the System Properties dialog varies a little depending on the version of Windows that you’re running. And as with most administrative procedures, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
You need to log in to Windows with local administrator privileges to perform the operations described below, or elevate a command prompt. Additionally, the instructions in this article don’t apply to domain controllers. For more information on renaming domain controllers, see Rename Windows Server 2008 Domain Controllers on the Petri IT Knowledgebase.
The quickest way to rename Windows Server 2012 R2 is to use Server Manager. If Server Manager didn’t launch automatically when you logged in, you can run it from the Start screen or desktop taskbar.
In most cases, the Change primary DNS suffix when domain membership changes box will be checked, and the primary DNS suffix for the computer shouldn’t need to be manually changed.
Not all versions of Windows have Server Manager, but you can get to the System Properties dialog from the Control Panel or the Start menu.
If you’re running Windows 8 or Server 2012, the process is the same as above, except that because there’s no Start button on the taskbar, you need to move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the taskbar and right click the Start screen icon when it appears.
Finally, if you’re using a version of Windows that has a Start menu, i.e. Windows 7 or earlier, right click Computer on the Start menu and select Properties from the context menu to open the System dialog.
If you have PowerShell 3.0 or later installed on a computer, you can use the Rename-Computer cmdlet:
To rename a remote computer, add the –ComputerName parameter to specify the name of the remote computer, and if the remote computer is joined to a domain, you can optionally specify domain credentials if you're not already logged in with an account that has permission to access Active Directory.
The –PassThru parameter makes sure that the results are reported back to the local PowerShell console.