How to Change Your Computer's Name
By Stephen Bucaro
I purchased a non-proprietary PC recently, and the technician who set it up gave it
the name "happycustomerPC", a big presumption, and a poor name for a PC. In this
article, I show you how to can change your computer's name.
First of all, what is a computer name and why do you need one? Computers identify
each other on a network using numbers called IP (Internet Protocol) addresses like
169.254.180.108. But 169.254.180.108 doesn't mean much to humans, so a computer
also needs a name like "JOES-COMPUTER" so that humans can identify it on a network.
Before the Internet and Internet Protocol was invented, the original PC's could
be connected in small networks using an IBM protocol called NetBIOS. With NetBIOS,
each computer on the network was identified by a unique 15 character name. Windows
computers still use NetBIOS names through a service called WINS (Windows Internet
Naming Service) which resolves NetBIOS names to IP addresses.
In Windows XP changing the computer name is very easy. Open the "System" utility
in Control Panel and on the "Computer name" tab, click on the [Change...] button.
In the "Computer Name Changes" dialog box which appears, enter a new computer
name and click on the [OK] button.
Note: A computer name can have a maximum of 15 characters. The only legal characters
are a-z and 0-9, and the hyphen ( - ), no spaces.
In Windows Vista, Open the "System" utility in Control Panel (System and Maintenance
section). In the left panel of the System screen, click on "Advanced System Settings".
In the "User Account Control" dialog box that appears, click on the [Continue...] button.
In the "System Properties" dialog box that appears, on the [Computer Name] tab, click
on the [Change...] button. In the "Computer Name Changes" dialog box, enter a new
computer name and click on the [OK] button.
In the dialog box that appears informing you that you must restart your computer,
click on the [OK] button. In the "System properties" dialog box, click on the [Restart Now] button.
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